Image by brizzle born and bred via FlickrBy J Enright
The 1960s marked a decade of radical change that touched every aspect of society from culture to music to fashion. Trends came and went at a rapid pace. Fashion rules were broken and 1960s clothes styles were a reflection of the social movement that defined the decade.
Women of the early 1960s could not get enough of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her refined, ladylike style. Pastel suits with short jackets and large buttons were especially popular with the ladies for business and for playtime they wore Capri pants. The typical ball gown featured a full skirt that flared out from a cinched waist and a low d' colletage.
Men's suits were made with bright coloured fabrics. Ties were wide and decorated with stripes and wild prints. Jackets had no collars and suspenders were worn to hold up the trousers.
London Modernists, more commonly known as Mods, were busy during the early 1960s setting trends for young men in the UK. This group was named for the modern jazz music they preferred.
The Mods wore classy styles adopted from Italian and French designers of high fashion. They wore tailored suits with fitted pants. Shirts were cut slim and nothing but a button down collar would do. When they wore jeans, they had to be Levi's. Their flared pants paved the way for the bell bottoms that arrived with the hippie wave a few years later. Mohair suits were popular with the Mods. This material is naturally shiny, lightweight and comfortable to wear while dancing.
Welsh designer Mary Quant played an important role in mod fashion when she introduced the miniskirt to fashion conscious women in 1964. By then, ladies were officially accepted into the movement. Short hairstyles were in and clothing designs mimicked those worn by the men.
Fashion in the late 60s was influenced by the hippie and skinhead movements. The Skinheads borrowed heavily from the Mods while the hippies were way more casual.
Skinheads cut their hair short and traded Mohair clothing for Tonic suits. Different coloured threads are woven together to create the fabric for a Tonic suit. When the fabric moves under a light source, it changes colours.
They wore Ben Sherman button down shirts and boots or brogues polished to a high sheen. The shirt fabric was plain Oxford cotton and sometimes had a check pattern. They preferred their trousers cut narrow, just like their jacket lapels.
The hippie movement was all about rebelling against authority and the clothing mirrored that philosophy with casual clothing that exploded with colour. Colourful shirts in bright floral prints and tie-died patterns were especially popular.
Denim jeans hugged the hips and were paired with wide, leather belts. Bell bottoms flared out below the knee and jeans were adorned with beads and other embellishments. Skirts reached past the knee and were made out of lightweight fabric that flowed and was sometimes tiered.
The diverse styles seen in 1960s clothes were signs of the times. From Jackie O to the Skinheads, it marked a period of unprecedented change in the fashion industry.
Jim Enright is owner of Enrights Vintage Fashions which sells 1960s Clothes online. Jim enjoys the scootering scene and all things to do with the 1960s era.
Tel: 07775 893979
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