The 3rd Annual Doo Wop in the Desert is just around the corner… this Friday, to be exact.  One of the biggest concerns of people writing in (more concerned with going with a date, or without) is what to wear!?!

Many of The Coachella Valley Art Scene readers did not have the opportunity to live through the Golden Years, so it’s a bit more of a challenge to know what to go for the night of.

With a little help from the Internet, fashion blogs, and magazines we have compiled an Outfit Inspiration Guide to the Doo Wop for all of our readers/party-goers.  Make sure to look at the photos and read the text to get a better understand of not just what they wore in the 1950′s, but why.

Also, make sure to scroll all the way down to get a hand-selected recommendation list of retail shops around town to purchase these types of clothing/accessory items.  Some shops we chose are more high end vintage while the others are literally thrift shops, you pick what your price range is.

Hope this helps!

***Make sure to come back later today for our Outfit Inspiration Guide : Rockabilly (Part 3/3)!!


doo wop in the desert, photo by sarah scheideman

The Look: Cocktail Time

How to Achieve the Look

The Outfit

Women’s evening wear in the 1950s was graceful and feminine. New styles emphasized the female figure.  Dresses in the 1950s were simple and elegant, but used lots of fabric.

Shorter Cockatil Dress: Some women opted for the shorter cocktail dress, which featured more leg but often a higher neckline. Although simpler than the full gowns of the 1950s, they were evening attire and never worn before 6 p.m. These dresses were often of silk, lace, tulle, chiffon or satin. The popular trapeze dress came from this look, with a high bust and an A-line silhouette.

Longer Cocktail Dress:  Though full skirts were very popular in the 1950s, not all evening gowns were dominated by the petticoat look. Long, sleek lines were also in style. These dresses were often made of silk or satin and were sometimes reminiscent of night gowns. They were floor length, fitted at the waist and sometimes long-sleeved. They were classy, mature dresses that were still considered sexy for their form-fitting design.

Color: Black was the dominant color for ladies’ formal attire in the 1950s. Women often wore black tops with colored skirts in the evenings. Audrey Hepburn helped to popularize the “little black dress” with pearls and a wide brimmed hat.

The Accessories

Heels: The stiletto shoe emerged in the 1950s, and featured a tall, thin heel and rounded, or “peep,” toe which showed off the first few toes. During the day, more modest shoes with sturdier heels, like Mary Janes and flats, were common as well.

Hats:  Hats tended to be small, pillbox types, and scarves were also common hair coverings. Costume jewelry — big, gaudy, Gloves: Ladies wore gloves in public during the day and night.

1950's inspired purses

Purses: According to Stephanie Pedersen’s book “Handbags: What Every Woman Should Know,” there was a purse etiquette recommended to the 1950s woman: Women who were top heavy with broad shoulders were advised to avoid purses with short straps, as to not add more heft above the waistline. Similarly, women who are pear shaped were warned not carry bags with long straps that fell below the waistline. Other tidbits of etiquette advised women to carry bags that complemented their size. For example, petite women should stick with smaller purses and large women should tote more substantial bags. – as stated on  How silly they were!!!


doo wop in the desert, photo by sarah scheideman

The Look: Cocktail Time

How to Achieve the Look

The Outfit

The appropriate attire for a cocktail party during 1950s, for men became slim pants in silk or rayon with custom-made jackets. Ascot accessories cotton or silk shirts with slender ties were accepted as cocktail attire dress code.

The Suit: Businessmen in the 1950’s wore suits. Single-breasted suit coats, white dress shirts, and conservative ties.

The Shoes: Wing-tipped dress shoes were the norm.

Places to Purchase

Stores we recommend around town.

doo wop in the desert, photo by sarah scheideman

Deja Vu Vintage Finery

*15% off if you mention the “Doo Wop in the Desert”!

644 N Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA

The POP Shop

66511 Pierson Blvd. Desert Hot Springs, CA


66169 Pierson Blvd. Desert Hot Springs, CA

Fine Art of Design

73717 Hwy 111 Palm Desert, CA

Revivals Thrift Shop(s)

611 South Palm Canyon Drive  Palm Springs, CA

72750 Dinah Shore Dr. Palm Desert, CA

68401 Highway 111 Cathedral City, CA

1644 University Ave. San Diego, CA

doo wop in the desert at the ace with alf alpha and the amandas

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Purchase Tickets