Written By: Lily Rothman, Liz Ronk

Today’s fashions are never divorced from those of the past—something to keep in mind while looking back at the fashions of the 1950s, as shown on the cover of LIFE. Throughout the decade, the magazine traced the evolution of fashion from demure tailored shirts and classic beach looks to casual college trends and elegant evening wear. (And, of course, “canasta pajamas.”) Perhaps these images will prove to be a trove of inspiration for the fashion-minded of today.

Liz Ronk, a photo editor at LIFE.com, curated this gallery. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

January 23, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

January 23, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Gordon Parks LIFE Magazine

March 13, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

March 13, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Gjon Mili LIFE Magazine

April 24, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

April 24, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

May 15, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

May 15, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Nina Leen LIFE Magazine

June 19, 1950 issue of LIFE magazine.

June 19, 1950 issue of LIFE magazine.

Nina Leen LIFE Magazine

September 11, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

September 11, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Nina Leen LIFE Magazine

October 30, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

October 30, 1950 cover of LIFE magazine.

Martha Holmes LIFE Magazine

February 12, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

February 12, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

March 5, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

March 5, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

Gordon Parks LIFE Magazine

May 21, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

May 21, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

December 3, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

December 3, 1951 cover of LIFE magazine.

Sharland LIFE Magazine

January 7, 1952 cover of LIFE magazine.

January 7, 1952 cover of LIFE magazine.

Nina Leen LIFE Magazine

February 25, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

February 25, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Nina Leen LIFE Magazine

April 14, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

April 14, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

June 2, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

June 2, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

June 23, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

June 23, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Christa LIFE Magazine

August 25, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

August 25, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

John Raymond Solowinski LIFE Magazine

September 8, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

September 8, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

November 24, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

November 24, 1952 issue of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

January 26, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

January 26, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

Lisa Larsen LIFE Magazine

March 9, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

March 9, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

Philippe Halsman LIFE Magazine

May 11, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

May 11, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

July 27, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

July 27, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

William Helburn LIFE Magazine

October 12, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

October 12, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

Sharland LIFE Magazine

December 21, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

December 21, 1953 issue of LIFE magazine.

Sharland LIFE Magazine

February 1, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

February 1, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

William Helburn LIFE Magazine

April 12, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

April 12, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

June 14, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

June 14, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

Christa LIFE Magazine

June 28, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

June 28, 1954 issue of LIFE magazine.

Paul Himmel LIFE Magazine

May 16, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

May 16, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

September 5, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

September 5, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

December 5, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

December 5, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

January 9, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine.

January 9, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

May 14, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine.

May 14, 1956 issue of LIFE magazine.

Mark Shaw LIFE Magazine

September 23, 1957 issue of LIFE magazine.

September 23, 1957 issue of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

January 27, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

January 27, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

Loomis Dean LIFE Magazine

March 11, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

March 11, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

William Helburn LIFE Magazine

August 11, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

August 11, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine.

Paul Schutzer LIFE Magazine

March 2, 1959 issue of LIFE magazine.

March 2, 1959 issue of LIFE magazine.

Milton H. Greene LIFE Magazine

November 16, 1959 issue of LIFE magazine.

November 16, 1959 issue of LIFE magazine.

Jack Robinson LIFE Magazine

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