June Cleaver Costume Ideas

by Nancy Hayden

June Cleaver was the all-American mom played by Barbara Billingsley on the 1950s and '60s TV show "Leave It To Beaver." June was the quintessential '50s housewife and created an idyllic home life for her husband Ward and sons Wally and Beaver. Couples can be a hit at any party dressed as Ward and June or women can easily create June Cleaver costumes with items found at second hand stores.

Dresses

June Cleaver somehow managed to clean her entire house to a spotless shine while wearing a dress. For a typical June Cleaver dress, go to a vintage clothing store and find an A-line '50s style dress with a full skirt. Look for a dress with short or long sleeves, a fitted bodice and a modest high neckline. Many of June's dresses were belted and had skirts that flared wide. Wear petticoats beneath the skirt to make it appear extra full. Any feminine color will do; try to find a dress made of silk or cotton.

Suits

Outside of the home or for special occasions, June often wore a classic suit, which came into vogue for ladies in the '30s and '40s and got contemporary updates in the '50s. Shop vintage or consignment shops for a well-fitted wool suit with a satin or velvet rounded collar. The jackets for women's suits of the day often had three quarter-length sleeves and were cut to fit loose and cropped, or belted and fitted. The skirts were fitted and ended below the knee. Wear the suit over a crisp white blouse.

Hair

June Cleaver wore her hair in the neat and tidy style of the day that was so trendy with many women. Short hair was in vogue, as were curls. June wore a short but feminine do with soft curls that framed her face. Women with shorter hair can achieve this look by parting their hair on the side and using curlers to create big, soft curls that are arranged neatly. Women with longer hair can pull it back into a bun and curl the front or purchase a short, curly blond wig at a costume shop.

Accessories

No June Cleaver costume would be complete without her trademark pearls. June wore a simple strand of large pearls and matching earrings, and helped make them part of the cliche ideal of a '50s housewife. Purchase a short strand of fake pearls at an accessory store and pair them with some pearl earrings. Wear simple high-heeled pumps and pantyhose for an authentic June look. Purchase or make a colorful or patterned cotton apron that you can wear around your waist.