It’s amazing what you feel compelled to write after listening to The Beatles and watching Joanna Lumley’s Little Cracker episode. I felt overcome with Sixties nostalgia (if it’s possible to be nostalgic for something you’ve never lived through) and knew it would be coming out in the form of a post.
When I think about “vintage” clothing I’m often thinking about sixties fashion. There’s a reason for that. It was the most radical and inspirational decade for fashion and we’re still following it today. Thinking about some key elements of my own clothing, I soon came to realise I owe the 1960s a lot more than I thought! I was immediately inspired to create a Top 10 of Sixties Fashion we see and wear today!
1. The Mini Skirt. I put the obvious (and most important?) one first. Introduced by Mary Quant in 1964, it is a trend that has never faltered. Whilst long hems come and go, a miniskirt is always in fashion. Now, I’m not really a mini-skirt wearer – but without the mini-skirt we wouldn’t have the mini dress! Now that is the staple of my wardrobe.
Here we see Mary Quant, circa 1965, in a black velvet mini dress with a white collar – remarkably similar to this Carven dress worn by Alexa at an Elle photoshoot. Alexa Chung really is a walking advert for minidresses and collars!
2. “Drainpipe Jeans” – popularised in the Sixties by Audrey Hepburn (my ultimate icon). Some of the most famous images of Audrey, besides her Breakfast at Tiffany look, show her in capri trousers or slim fit jeans. This is one trend that has definitely evolved – nowadays it’s near impossible to walk down the street and not see a mass of skinny jeans or leggings. It’s clear to see the revival.
I mean, who haven’t you seen in skinny jeans? I love this picture of Audrey as it has such a sense of fun! Kate Moss, Queen of the skinny jean, rocks the black skinnies look with an elegant ensemble.
3. Swing Coats – I love these coats, they exude elegance and style! I don’t know a lot about the conception of the swing coat but I do know their popularity spiked massively in the sixties.
I’ve seen some mouth wateringly beautiful swing coats on ASOS. Is it normal to dribble over items that aren’t edible?
4. Over the Knee Socks – In the Little Cracker episode I mentioned earlier, Joanna Lumley joked that she was responsible for the over the knee sock trend in the Sixties after wearing her flatmates knee high leg warmers. This trend had a controversial resurgence a few years ago if you recall? Flaunted by the likes of Alexa Chung, some loved the quirky trend, some put it down for appearing “little girl” like. Personally, I loved them and wore them a fair bit. There’s a couple of pairs guiltily sitting in my drawer, gathering dust since the trend disappeared. I might dig them out again!
Marianne Faithful looks great here, in an almost doll-like look. I do see how it could appear childish but I do think this look works really well. Alexa Chung also champions the look – making a cute piece appear very elegant and put together.
5. Chelsea Boots – I can’t tell you how much I love that these boots have made a resurgence! The unisex shoe features an elastic siding and can be both flat or heeled. A similar style, the “Beatles Boots” were huge in the 60s, which featured a winkle picker style and cuban heel – below you can see the Beatles donning them!
Nice one, Chung. A combination of my favourite shoe and my favourite colour for the winter season. It makes me wish I could ride a bike adequately! On the rare occasion I see a guy wearing chelsea boots I am filled with happiness and respect for this individual. The heeled female version also looks fantastic and I’m currently wearing a pair myself, which I wear every day!
6. The Blunt Bangs, aka: The Fringe. A classic 1960s haircut which made a resurgence around 2008. I love this hairstyle, although I might be biased!
I’ve done more than enough chatting about hairstyles here. But here we see Francoise Hardy with her trademark bangs and Zooey Deschanel with her famous heavy fringe.
7. Winged Eyeliner – the whole “cat eye” liner is one of the biggest make up trends and has been for a few years. It’s rare to see Zooey Deschanel, Alexa Chung or Jameela Jamil (just a few of my favourites) without their vintage looking eye make up.
Hello Francoise, Hello Jameela!
8. Big Sunglasses– those big round sunglasses are so very Sixties! Personally, I love them on Audrey Hepburn, and clearly, I’m not alone! A few years ago celebrities like Nicole Ritchie and the Olsens turned heads by bringing them back – and they are still a mainstream trend.
Round sunglasses don’t suit everyone. I think when in doubt – go for cat eye sunglasses. They suit more people and provide instant sophistication (seen on the right hand images). Audrey Hepburn famously wore Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffanys – the style, “the Manhattan” was re-released last year. If I had money…
9. The Leather Jacket – The leather jacket has seemingly never gone out of fashion. However, it wasn’t until the Sixties that women began to wear them. Thanks to the female Rockers of the Sixties, women inherited a great piece.
I can’t believe Francoise Hardy and Daisy Lowe are rocking the same trend forty years apart – you wouldn’t know it!
10. Funky Tights – it’s not unusual to see people rocking patterned or coloured tights – navy, grey, burgundy, blue, white, even mustard! (I won’t mention bright pink – that’s still an abomination in my book). Colourful tights became a huge thing in the Sixties as part of the psychedelic trend.
This 1960s Vogue shot is a personal favourite – demonstrating the geometric trend that overtook the fashion world! Here we also see Zooey Deschanel in her extensive tights collection – a nice sparkly pair!
So, thank you to the amazing designers, models, stylists and photographers of the 1960s -without your creative genius, our wardrobes might look radically different!
Which eras do you most thank for fashion?