Fashion through the decades: 60s & 70s

Swinging 60s

From the start to the end of the decade. Womens fashion in the 60s was extreme style and attitude. In the early years, the obvious fashion idol was Jackie Kennedy with her perfectly white pearls and tailored suit dresses. By the middle of the decade, iconic supermodel Twiggy had women freeing their minds and bodies into clothing that didn’t require any extra thought or effort. From modest to “there is no such thing as too short,”

We can also thank the 60s for colored/patterned tights - white, black, purple, fishnet, herringbone or lace. Tights covered up ugly knees and didn’t cause garter gaps like sheer stockings did. Once pantyhose were perfected they were the savior of women’s legs anywhere. They camouflaged hair, bumps, bruises, and wide kneecaps. Even skin tone tights were thick and dark. To go bare legged in the ’60s was still too immodest.

Many of today's contemporary “modern” clothing is still inspired by mid '60s fashions. A-line mini skirts, contrast collar shift dresses, textured tights, low heel flats and tall boots, swing coats and floppy hats… The list goes on and they all have roots in the sixties! The current trend for retro sunglasses is also heavily inspired by the 60s.

70s Fashion

There’s a reason the 1970s continues to be one of the most stylish decades of all time. From flares to bell sleeves, shearling coats, and mini skirts, the ‘70s birthed an eclectic mix of style influences that evolved quickly in a 10-year span. Skirts got shorter, boots got taller, and a range of style icons like Jane Birkin and Jean Shrimpton helped spearhead some of the era’s most memorable fashion moments that continue to inspire today. Here are just a few of the most iconic 70s items:

Caftan dresses: These were Grecian inspired and worn with high heels sandals and beads or pearl necklaces. The caftan became a frequent style of hostess dress. Long, tent shapes with an optional empire belt and huge kimono sleeves that came in bold colors and big exotic prints were also worn by many soul and jazz singers.

Prarie blouses or hippie blouses: A popular feminine trend in the early 70s. Some had big pilgrim collars or middy collars, ruffles, bow ties, pintucks, and lace insets. They were romantic in white or pastel solid colors and of course hippie-like in small floral prints.

Jumpsuits: These were viewed as a stretchy adaptation of overalls. During the day the jumpsuit was made of double knit polyester, cotton or denim with a zip or button up front, pant pockets and oversize collar. The denim jumpsuit with a zip up front revived the overall look. Evening jumpsuits slimmed down the look into a stretchy bodysuit with a sleeveless or halterneck top.

Fashion through the decades: 40s & 50s

40s

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Despite the hardships of World War 2, the 40s were still a milestone decade for style, despite 1930s fashion being a hard act to follow. It was a decade of trailblazing styles and new silhouettes, and many of the styles we’re still supporting today. From Joan Crawford to Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Doris day, we chart the era’s style iconic, and top trends, that paved the way for 1950s fashion.

Put simply, 1940s women’s fashion was about creating an hourglass silhouette with masculine details, such as padded shoulders nipped in high waist tops, and A-line skirts that came down to the knee. This was the everyday shape for clothing, from suits to dresses. Even trousers had a similar high waisted, wide leg shape. If a woman was not naturally an hourglass shape, the clothes were designed to help her achieve the look. Being put together, cheerful, and practical was the job of women during WW2. Fashion accessories for this time included hats, gloves, handbags, and jewellery to complete an outfit, while natural makeup with bright red lips helped paint a happy face during difficult times.


50s

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There are two main silhouettes in 1950s fashion – the wasp waist with full skirt & the slim fitting pencil skirt. Both are iconic 50s looks that held great influence until 1956 & can be portrayed as super sexy or fun & flirty – all depending on how you wear them.

The beauty of the 50s era is that there is a ‘look’ that will suit everyone’s shape – the more womanly the better. For those who lacked curves, these were created easily with a bit of help from belts, foundation garments and plenty of net & padding!

From a fashion point of view, this was the rise of the ‘ready to wear’ phenomenon (RTW). Clothing was now being manufactured ‘in mass’ & with greatly improved standards in construction & cloth quality. Variety was now available & imports started to return from, in particular, Paris.

Dior’s iconic ‘New Look’ arrived in Paris in 1947 & due to it’s vastly different shape to the war years – had an enormous impact on the fashion world. Style was now back on track, ironically picking up from where it left off before the pause created by the war. Dior created a succession of silhouettes (which he based on letter shapes!) line A being an a-line silhouette which was achieved by a widening towards the hem & was quickly followed by the Y-line, created by wide dolman sleeves tapering to a slim skirt. However, Dior’s initial look continued to dominate for many years with fashion looking nostalgically to the past with its boned bodices & full petticoats.

Must have 50s accessories:- 

  • Red lipstick

  • Chiffon scarf

  • Gloves

  • Waist cinch belt

Hello My Name is Paul Smith

Hello My Name is Paul Smith

“Hello, my name is Paul Smith” invited us into designer Paul’s world of inspirations, creations, collaborations and fashion last month. I hadn't known much about the designer beforehand, so I was looking forward to checking out the fashion exhibition first hand. The first showcase included a recreation of Paul’s first ever shop; a small 3x3m space opened in Nottingham in 1970 and we were then given an exciting insight in to his many store designs he went on to open around the world and how successful the brand has been. 

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