Sunday, 10 October 2010

Fashion in the 1960's

Unlike previous years, the 60's was a time for diverse and emerging trends. From casual to sophisticated and everything in between the sixties embraced art, music and culture. An era that created many trends and continues to influence a lot of today's designs, the 1960s changed the future of fashion and pushed the boundaries compared to previous decades. The likes of Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark were among many female stars to influence fashion at that time as well as hairstyles. They ranged from the classic beehive in the early part of the decade to very short styles popularised by Twiggy and just five years later it changed to really long and straight styles, commonly associated with hippies.
The pillbox hat was a trend that was fashionable in the early 1960s due to the influence of Jacqueline Kennedy, who was a continuous style-setter throughout the decade. The 60's also gave birth to the beloved skinny jean, which were worn by Audrey Hepburn. They later became popular with young men and women in the early 2000's and still to this very day. But the biggest fashion revelation was the mini skirt originally designed by the self-made businesswoman Mary Quant. She made ready-to-wear, affordable clothes that expressed a new found freedom within the fashion world. The mini skirt was from then on worn by all stylish, western young women.

The mods ruled London fashion in the mid 60's and brought with them young, working class, fashion forward people. British rock bands at the time were big influences on this generation, the likes of The Who, The small faces and The Yard birds were all tailored suit wearing musicians. This was the look for young English men usually with the statement anorak and a Vespa.

However it was only when the modernists made an impact on the public that girls were accepted as mods. Many of the young women often chose to wear similar items to the mod men, however when they discovered their place within the subculture they started to lean toward ultra-short and sleeveless styles. Miniskirts, shift dresses, patent trench coats and tights were the mod women's chance to experiment with patterns and also fabrics.

British women at this time were going through a social revolution when a number of laws were changed, for example in 1964 married women were allowed to keep half of any money saved out of housekeeping allowances. In 1967 they were granted similar rights to their husband in the marital home and in 1969 the divorce law was changed so that either party could file for divorce, innocent or otherwise. These manifestations were a big contribution to the shift in image and style, no longer were they presumed to be wife's and mothers but they could be seen as young, independent and single women.

The miniskirt seemed to express it all and thanks to the iconic Mary Quant we can all celebrate the female form.

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