Seizing the Day Wearing 1950s Crinoline

by Sammy in 5 Comments — Updated July 24, 2023

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

All Photography by Diane Dulgerian Photography 

The word crinoline used to make me cringe.

Fluffy, obnoxious stuff hanging out as an extra layer of poof below my dress or skirt? “Totally unnecessary and not practical,” is what I used to think. “Dowdy old ladies wear crinoline. It’s totally not attractive!”

At least that’s what I used to think, until Carla & Carla introduced me to the wonders of crinoline whilst modeling for her Etsy shop. I put some on for a shot and saw how the extra layer built dimension into the shape of the skirt to form a more flattering silhouette. Rather than lay limp like a dead fish, my skirt had lifeenergy … enthusiasm! My outfit was on fire, and so was my confidence and charisma. I was crazy for crinoline!

Vintage crinoline comes in different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Shorter and fluffier crinoline are called “square dancing” crinolines, and add volume to above-the-knee and mini skirts. A knee-length dress like mine called for a longer and less fluffy version, fashioned to look more like a petticoat.

Crinolines, which is a combination of the French words for horsehair and linen, of which the first crinolines were made from, were first worn around the 1830s  and then fell out of complete favor by the 20th century teens.

They were reintroduced to 1950s fashion when Christian Dior’s New Look silhouette owned the market of fashion trends. A crinoline became an absolute must to achieve that A-line flare of a dress skirt. The volume enhanced the waistline so it appeared even smaller – totally sexy and totally not dowdy.

When the era of mod fashion rolled around in the mid ’60s, the crinoline began to fall out of favor yet again. It experienced a slight surge in popularity when the ’80s so passionately duplicated ’50s styles, but for the most part the modern woman associates crinoline with prom dresses and Halloween costumes today.

I’m crazy for crinoline and I’m crazy for spring. I want the flowers of Central Park to blossom with brilliance as if to say, “Anything is possible! Seize the day, Sammy!”

My desires for a warm sun and 75 degree weather remain unfulfilled as New York City is experiencing a spring chill right now. Thanks to Etsy shop owner Beau Monde Vintage, I had the perfect dress to swing my style back into that spring spirit.

Where else should I shoot vintage fashion outfits in New York City?

Share your ideas with me in the comments, or by saying hello on TwitterFacebookInstagram or subscribing to my newsletterCheck out my book, the 100 Best Vintage Shops Online, now for sale on Etsy! 


How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

I try to consistently follow the mantra, “Don’t look back” when making personal decisions in my life.

Making a decision with resolution gives us more peace and more power, because our minds are focused on the magic of the present moment. Continuously thinking of past events gives us that “what if” attitude, which breeds insecurity and doubt.

Our minds need not to serve a past we can’t change. We deserve to feel perfect right here, right now.

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

Some days I feel absolutely ridiculous wearing what I do. I can be so hard on my outfit choices, criticizing my taste as “childish” and “impractical” for the modern woman to emulate.

When I was in high school and college, I wore whatever I felt like because I wanted to wear it – and not because I had created a set of self-imposed expectations. With this attitude, I was happier.

At 27, I’m trying to return to this place of fashion security. To know that people wish to be around me, and to lift me higher in my services as a vintage fashion spokesperson, not because I look like every other girl on the street of New York City, but because I look, act and live my life like the Sammy Davis I was born to be.

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

If it weren’t for the stylish flair of my outfit, these Italian tourists would never have photo bombed the shot!

They walked by with their girlfriends and upon seeing my photographer and I, excitedly asked in broken English to join in the fun. Apparently, Italians like to do “thumbs up” and kick our their legs, as if dancers at the Moulin Rouge.

My cooperation for the shot gave them a great memory to remember from their trip to Central Park. Perhaps they’ll be inspired to wear a splash of color next time they visit!

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

Ever have someone suggest a book, film, website, etc. to you, only to ignore their suggestion and then within a few weeks, someone else suggests that very piece of artistic material to you again?

That’s exactly what happened to me after friend and fellow blogger Brandhyze of suggested I read “Think and Grow Rich,” the 1937 classic by Napoleon Hill. She even sent me a digital version of the book which alas, I couldn’t open on my computer.

So a few months later, when I saw the book at my friend Donna of Donna Daily’s apartment, I quickly suggested a swap. I’d give her my favorite book, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, for her copy of “Think and Grow Rich.”

The book’s message? “Make your plan, and work your plan.” Whatever personal success you are working toward, have faith that it is happening as I type these very words – because you feel that truth deep inside! We have two paths to take in life: The one of fear, or the one of faith.

Choosing the path of faith inspires your plan, motivates the execution of your plan and sets the successful manifestation of your goals into motion within the arms of the universe.

I highly suggest reading the book, which was the first self-help success book of its kind. Buy it on Amazon here.

How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

The park benches of Central Park each bear a plaque honoring the beautiful lives of New Yorkers who passionately loved their city during their time on this planet.

I often wonder if in my passing, will someone dedicate a plaque somewhere to my life? And what will people think when they see it? Will they know how I struggled to “make it” in the city that never sleeps, that I preferred old things and that my favorite meal was ice cream?

Or will, somehow in the future, will we have instant access to the lives of those before us, the historical excavation of discovery gone in favor of immediate gratification?

The future is an unknown, full of opportunities that feel both liberating and frightening.

So today, and everyday, I do my best to seize the day. I wear the past to create a beauty of now. And the future? I keep faith that it’s unfolding in my favor –  in all of our favor.


Floral ’60s Dress:  Beau Monde Vintage – ’50s Crinoline: Carla & Carla  – ’80s Vintage Straw Hat & ’80s White Egg Bag: Housing Works “By the Bag Sale” – ’60s Pink Swim Cap: A Little Wicked – ’80s Blue Belt: The Vintage Mistress (in my e-book, The 100 Best Vintage Shops Online)  – ’60s Pink Avon Ring: Gift – Modern Heels: Betsey Johnson, Thrifted

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill – Carpe Diem Journal: Gift from She’s the First


The History of Crinoline by Fashion-Era 
Where to Buy Vintage Crinoline by Vintage Dancer 
Buy 1950s Crinoline on Etsy 


How 1950s Fashion Makes You Feel Like a Lady

 All Photography by Diane Dulgerian Photography 

5 thoughts on “Seizing the Day Wearing 1950s Crinoline”

  1. I LOVE this post. I LOVE your outfit. I LOVE your message. I LOVE the Italian tourists. AND I REALLY LOVE YOUR CRINOLINE! I have a modern made chiffon one that I got on Etsy, and I always get tons of compliments when I wear it!

    • Amelia, we need to find you a vintage one! tsk tsk! Just kidding ;-) #vintagelove

  2. You look gorgeous and I love the Italian photo bomb!
    Becky :)

    • thank you Becky! Those Italian men were ALL about it. I appreciated it thought.

  3. I hope you don’t find this to be a stupid question but i have been invited to join a jive club, where everything is based on 50s retro. I have purchased a retro dress together with a full crinoline petticoat. The question is, do i wear stockings or tights?

    Thanks for your help


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