Where vintage fashion is concerned I'm not the hugest fan of styles from the late 1960s onwards, but I'm delving in nonetheless, in the name of the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.
I think it's safe to say that the Swinging Sixties was a revolutionary decade after the austerity and reconstruction of the 1950s. In 1960 Yves Saint Laurent designed The ‘Beat Look’ for Christian Dior, and although the collection's leather suits and coats, high pullovers and knitted caps attracted negative press, it sounded the death knell of French haute couture. The world was now looking to London for fashion guidance, and for the first time ever, young people had money to spend and were intent on expressing their identity through fashion.
These changes didn't quite happen overnight of course and early 1960s sewing patterns were still heavily influenced by 1950s designs. Predictably, these are my favourite!
As the decade progressed styles and cuts became less fussy and structured, with the A-line skirt becoming much more prominent. For the first time since Coco Chanel's jersey collections in the 1930s, women's clothing became comfortable and easy to wear.
A-line shift dresses that fell in a clean triangular line from the shoulder to mid-thigh became hugely popular. They were designed to wear over a skinny rib sweater and ribbed tights during the day, or on their own with heels in the evening.
[Images from Vintage Fashion]
Other fashion statements of the 1960s were Space Age looks, inspired by the moon landing, as well as geometric prints and graphic lines. Cut-outs where also very popular design features, as were transparent panels of clear plastic, mesh or chainmail.
Perhaps the most exciting development of the 1960s is, of course, the mini skirt. Andre Courreges in Paris and Mary Quant in London can both lay claim to the invention of it. Hemlines started creeping above the knee by 1963, were at mid-thigh by 1965, and gave way to the even shorter micro-mini. By the late 1960s, the only way for hemlines to go was down. Long coats, skirts and dresses became the antidote to the mini with maxi lengths to the ankle and midi lengths to mid-calf. Women often chose to wear different lengths at once by combining midi length cardigans over shorts and mini skirts to show a fleeting glimpse of leg.
So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of the evolution of styles in the 1960s. Are you a fan or do you have a different, favourite style decade?
Don't forget to check out the dedicated #vintagepledge Pinterest Board for inspiration galore!