Skip to main contentSkip to footer

15 Vintage Christmas photos for timeless holiday style inspiration

The old-school Xmas vibe really has a way of making us yearn for those outfits...

Jayne Mansfield, circa 1960
Natalie Salmon
Fashion Digital Editor
23 December 2023
Share this:

Sign up to HELLO! Fashion for style tips, cultural insights, must-have items, and more

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

Ah, the holidays...

They're like a time machine, whisking us back to the good old days where Christmas shone with the twinkle of tinsel and the swankiness of festive threads. If you look at them for long enough it's like stepping into a living, breathing retro Christmas card.

Vintage Christmas snaps are more than just a walk down memory lane; they're a goldmine of fashion-forward ideas, serving up style tips for now and later. The 1950s Christmas scene in particular was all about the razzle-dazzle. Think swishy skirts, nipped-in waists, fur wraps, and bling that could outshine the North Star. Gents in dapper suits, ties sharp as a tack, shoes so shiny you could see your reflection. These weren't just clothes; they were fashion statements, a nod to a post-war world that was all about living it up.

MORE: Kim Kardashian's used the most bizarre 'reusable' wrapping paper of all time for Christmas 2023

RELATED: How to throw the chicest NYE party ever according to a tablescaping expert

Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1955© Silver Screen Collection
Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1955

Retro photos are like festive fashion shows. Families gathered around decked-out Christmas trees, each person dressed to impress. Party time back then? Pure class. Today's hustle and bustle make us long for that vintage Christmas charm, a reminder to jazz up our holidays. Those photos are a nudge to bring back cocktail party cool and the art of dressing to the nines.

Mixing in a dash of that old-school glam to our modern festivities can add a sprinkle of magic. Maybe it's shaking up a classic cocktail, decking out your tree in a retro style, or donning a vintage-inspired frock for the evening. These snapshots from the past? They're our guide to recreating that elegance and grace, helping us make new memories with a tip of the hat to the good old days...

Hello! Fashion shares the best vintage Christmas photos for stylish inspiration:


Susan Abraham

Model Susan Abraham poses beside a Christmas tree, December 1955.© John French
Model Susan Abraham poses beside a Christmas tree, December 1955.

Swathed in a gown that whispers "vintage chic" louder than a gramophone, Susan channels the opulent flair of a bygone era. Her attire, a sartorial confection of tulle, paired with gems that twinkle like stars, is the very definition of old-school splendour. It's a look that's ready to waltz right off the pages of history and onto the dance floor of today's soirée, sparkling with a nostalgia that's as refreshing as it is timeless.


Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, 1950.© Hulton Archive
Elizabeth Taylor, 1950.

Stepping straight out of a 1950s holiday postcard, Liz Taylor twinkles amidst the Yuletide trimmings, her gown shimmering with more gusto than the tinsel. With elegance that could outshine any Christmas bauble, and a grace that Mrs Claus herself can't deliver, she's the belle of the snowball, wrapped in a scene as rich and heartwarming as a cup of eggnog.


Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole, 1970s© Michael Ochs Archives
Natalie Cole, 1970s

A heartwarming vintage snapshot captures a young Natalie Cole in a crisp white dress with a stylish collar and bow —a timeless tableau of familial joy. 


Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn, 1953© Bettmann
Audrey Hepburn, 1953

Capturing a charming holiday moment, Audrey Hepburn shares a playful kiss with Santa Claus, embodying the festive spirit at a charity event in New York. She's dressed in a luxurious textured coat, her smile as radiant as her star power, celebrating the season of giving in glamorous style.


Diana Ross 

Diana Ross and club owner Steve Rubell, December 31, 1978.© Allan Tannenbaum
Diana Ross and club owner Steve Rubell, December 31, 1978.

In a vibrant snapshot from the legendary Studio 54's New Year's Eve bash in 1978, Diana Ross shines next to the club's co-owner Steve Rubell. Ross dazzles in a sumptuous red taffeta and velvet gown, embodying the exuberance of disco's golden era, as they revel in the night's electric energy.


Jayne Mansfield

Jayne Mansfield, circa 1960© Silver Screen Collection
Jayne Mansfield, circa 1960

Twirling into the '60s holiday scene, Jayne Mansfield is all aglow, rivaling the Christmas tree's twinkle in her candy-pink ensemble. It's old-school glam meets mistletoe charm, with Jayne sprinkling a touch of tinseltown magic on the season's merry traditions.


Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt, December 12, 1982.© Paul Harris
Eartha Kitt, December 12, 1982.

Amid the city's nocturnal buzz, Eartha Kitt exudes timeless style as she makes a call from a New York City street corner. Clad in a stunning sequined red gown with a daring slit, paired with a luxurious black fur coat and matching red heels, Kitt captivates with her radiant smile, embodying the glamour of the '80s. 


Joan Collins 

Joan Collins, December 1989© eddie sanderson
Joan Collins, December 1989

Perched next to her Christmas tree, which could give the Chelsea Flower Show Gardens a run for their money with its floral festooning, Joan Collins proves that 'tis the season for a touch of drama. Sporting a black skirt and a jacket redder than Rudolph's nose, she's the personification of Yuletide flair, capturing the essence of the '80s with every sparkle.


Whitney Houston 

Whitney Houston and her mother, Cissy Houston, December 9, 1986© L. Busacca
Whitney Houston and her mother, Cissy Houston, December 9, 1986

Under the glow of festive lights, Whitney Houston and Cissy Houston serve us a duo look that says, 'Holiday cheer runs in the family.' With Whitney rocking a winter-themed jumper and Cissy in her nautical stripes, they're not just harmonising in tunes but in style too, bringing a double dose of diva to the MTV holiday special. It's a Christmas card moment that has us singing, 'I Will Always Love You... and your sweater.


Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, 1951© Hulton Archive
Marilyn Monroe, 1951

Striking a pose that could give a Nutcracker soldier a complex, Marilyn Monroe flaunts a festive ensemble by the hearth. She's holiday cheer personified, wrapped up with a bow, and the only stocking stuffer we're dreaming of is that outfit. With a wink and a smile, she's the silver screen's gift that keeps on giving.


Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall 

Humphrey Bogart with his wife Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen, circa 1950.© Slim Aarons
Humphrey Bogart with his wife Lauren Bacall and their son Stephen, circa 1950.

Amid the twinkling tinsel and Yuletide glow, the Bogart family serves up classic Hollywood elegance with a side of Christmas cheer. Humphrey, with his ever-suave demeanor and a drink in hand, Lauren, the epitome of silver screen glamour, and young Stephen, are the picture-perfect trio proving that in Beverly Hills, even the Christmas trees dress for the occasion.


Ann Getty

Ann Getty, 1979© Slim Aarons
Ann Getty, 1979

In the grand atrium of Ann Getty's Pacific Heights abode, the spirit of '79 is as lush as the garlands. Amidst a symphony of crystal and fine china, Mrs. Getty, a vision in black, gives the final oomph to a Christmas fête that's less 'silent night' and more 'sparkle all the way'. Every detail whispers (or rather shouts), "deck the halls with boughs of Haute couture."


The Kennedys

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, circa 1961.© Bettmann
John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, circa 1961.

In a holiday scene that's less 'baby, it's cold outside' and more 'Camelot meets Christmas,' the Kennedys stand before their festive fir in the White House. Jackie, in her fiery red sheath dress, and JFK, dapper as ever, could give Santa and Mrs. Claus a run for their money. This snapshot isn't just a throwback to the '60s—it's a masterclass in power dressing for the season of mistletoe diplomacy.


Tina Turner

Tina Turner, 1986© Tim Roney
Tina Turner, 1986

Embracing the frosty delights of winter, our favorite diva cozies up to the coolest guy in town. Decked out in winter white that makes even the snowman look twice, she's the queen of the snowball scene. With a smile that could melt glaciers, she's proof that you don't need to be cold to be ice hot.


Anne Francis 

Anne Francis, 1955© Hulton Archive
Anne Francis, 1955

Wrapped in a festive ensemble that rivals the brightest package under the tree, actress Anne Francis delivers holiday charm with a side of sassy. Clad in crimson from head to toe, she’s the epitome of a Christmas vision, proving that Santa's got nothing on a Hollywood starlet's yuletide glow. Holding gifts that surely can't outshine her own star quality, she's a walking, talking holiday miracle, and the only list she's on is the best-dressed.

More Culture

See more