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Retro Swing Dancing Outfits

Retro clothing is mostly made up of fashion and styles designed and popularised in earlier eras, retro looks are mostly made up of past styles, materials or motifs. Unlike vintage clothing, retro looks are different as they don’t refer to any particular decade or period but rather is a note of style in which the clothing is made.


The most popular retro styles seen in past eras is the silhouette figure epitomised by celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly who were notorious for their feminised hourglass figures. Fashion models popularised in the decade of the 50s such as Jean Patchett and Dovima and Suzy Parker were not like other models as these women showcased the distinct skirt and dress lines that ultimately defined the 50s fashion designed. 


The popular dance style known as swing dancing came about in the late 30s, early 40s, however,  the popular clothing outfits and styles are worn to these dancing events only became popularised in the 50s and are still relevant in today’s fashion world. The retro clothing styles that were most appealing for swing dancers were designed in the 50s, this era has some of the most iconic clothing styles that are easy to recreate especially in today’s day and age. A popular style trend that has been recreated with a modern twist is that of the ‘swing era’, these clothing styles are recreated with a retro and vintage-inspired look. 


Popular retro-swing outfits worn by women were not worn or bought specifically for swing dancing until later decades.  Throughout the 50s, women wore dresses that they had already owned and wore on a daily basis, these free-flowing skirt attached to a form-fitting bodice made swing dancing fun and enjoyable as these dresses provided women with a cooling breeze. Women also wore wide-leg pants or trousers or even sometimes wore shorts that were high waisted. These outfits were heavily popularised as time went on but the most popular outfit was the free-flowing short sleeve dress. 


In today’s society, people who attend swing dancing functions wear retro-swing dancing outfits or vintage-inspired swing-dresses, skirts and/or pants for dancing. These vintage styled outfits are preferred as they are a much more comfortable style of clothes to dance in than the tight and confining modern clothing. 


In the era of the 1950s, women wore flowy skirts and dresses to attend swing dancing functions as it was an enjoyable and lively experience. These outfits became popular as time progressed for the reason that these dresses gave women the silhouette look even whilst dancing, the dresses would pull in a women’s waist and accentuated her hips and bust, whilst still providing her with a comfortable range of movements. 


In the 50s swing, dresses expanded dramatically from the 1940s swing outfit fashion, the 50s width with multiple layers of petticoats underneath changed the fashion for dancing heavily. Women typically wore fuller and longer skirts to dance matched with the preferred tighter tops, this made vigorous swing dancing outfits if the 40s a thing of the past. The new 50s swing outfits were much more enjoyable despite that the atmosphere was somewhat more mellow to dance to. 


In the 1950s swing dresses were worn with the popular crinoline piece as they made the outfit look better and more complete, however, when dancing, styling your outfit without this accessory makes dancing more comfortable. Unlike people in the 50s, women in today;’s society is opting to leave the crinoline out when attending swing dancing events. Women’s retro dancing outfits were popular as they were made from materials and fabrics that were breathable, these natural cotton or linen blends provided women with breathable materials to keep them from sweating.


Despite 50s fashion moving away from 40s fashion dramatically, the big-shouldered styles were still very popular, however, when the 50s retro-swing dancing outfits were designed the shoulders were made in a softer manner. This new design helped women emphasis their small waist and wide hips which in turn gave women the much-desired silhouette figure.


The 50s era swing dresses would not be complete without the ever-important shoes, a swing dancer’s shoes are an important factor in their dancing rendezvous. Choosing the right type of shoes helped dancers in that decade and the current decade in moving around the dance floor and will essentially determined/will determine how long and how easily dancers will be able to continue dancing for.  

The most popular retro swing dancing shoes worn are broken down into 3 categories, typically swing dancing shoes fall under smooth shoes (rubber), suede shoes (chrome leather) and basic leather. These shoes are worn as they provide the user with comfortability and are cheap to buy, this is helpful for someone who is just beginning to get into the swing of things, pun intended.

Unlike women’s popular retro swing dancing outfits, mens swing outfits have very slightly changed as time has progressed. Men’s clothing options have always been easy to move around in due to the loose and light nature of the materials and fabrics used. Typically retro-swing outfits for men comprised of a full suit in the first few dances to get them warmed up and as the night progressed they would change their shirts from one colour to another to keep them from overheating. 

Overall, men and women’s clothing have changed as time progressed, whether it is dramatic or slight, the retro-swing dancing outfits were popularised in today’s day and age. Young adults and couples attending swing events have elected to wear items of clothing derived from the 50s era.