Fashion Focus - 1960s Dresses
Updated: Jan 31
When you think of 1960s dresses, the iconic micro mini is probably the first vision that pops into your head, and what a look it was! The 1960s is quite possibly my favourite of all the fashion decades for many reasons, not least the fact that it actually offers so many different styles. From the sleek and demure debutante look that came through from the 1950s to the super cool mod girls, the bohemian hippy vibes and the sophisticated and chic style of Audrey Hepburn. 1960s dresses have so much to offer all many of styles, shapes and sizes and this week that's exactly what I want to explore. Let's take a look at the key dresses of the 1960s...
Mini dresses epitomise the whole feel of 1960s fashion and culture. The youth were rebelling in every area and as they did, hem lines were rising quickly. Mary Quant was of course one of many fashion designers of the era who brought skirts and dresses way above the knee but for some 60s fashionistas even this wasn't enough and the micro mini was also born. The micro-mini has a hemline more than 3" above and was pushing boundaries and limits even further.
These fashion forward women were young and independent, making their own money and spending it in the boutiques of Carnaby Street, Chelsea and King's Road. These shorter dresses were made even more popular by fashion models such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton as well as celebrities such as Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black. These dresses would often be worn with bright and colourful opaque tights and of course the iconic knee and calf length go-go boots in black or the all-important white. Mini dresses weren't just a rebellious fashion statement, they were also practical too, particularly great for dancing and jumping on and off scooters with ease!
Maxi dresses are usually associated with the 1970s but they were a firm favourite in the sixties too. Often worn in the evening, the 1960s maxi dress could be made from a whole host of different fabrics including silk, brocade, crepe and would often have beading or embellishments for that absolute wow factor.
For some women it was a more conservative yet still fashion forward choice whilst for others the maxi dress encapsulated the hippy bohemian vibe of the free spirited 60s. Patterns and prints would include polka dots, paisleys, florals and stripes and necklines would range from strappy to high neck, with a cowl or mandarin neckline also being popular.
The classic shift dress hangs from the shoulders rather than the waist, with a darted bust and straight or slightly a-line skirt, usually cut to knee length. Originally sleeveless, this was of course seen widely in the flapper fashion of the 1920s but had a real comeback in the 1960s. This is mostly accredited to Givenchy who created the infamous Breakfast at Tiffany's dress for Audrey Hepburn, oozing class and sophistication whilst gaining mass appeal. Shift dresses are purposely minimal and are most often seen without embellishment or too much extra detail.
The modern day shift dress can be seen as quite corporate or clinical but an original 1960s vintage shift dress is such a great investment and can be styled in so many ways for both daytime and evening wear. The cut gives more room at the waist, offering a comfortable yet stylish vintage dress solution that can be formal or informal depending on the colour/print and how it is accessorised.
DRESS & JACKET
Another important and popular look of the 1960s was a dress with a matching jacket. Not just an accompanying jacket in a complimentary hue, but a jacket of a similar length as the dress in the exact same fabric. This can often be thought of as more 'mother of the bride' but in the 1960s it was the height of chic and showed a real eye for style.
Fabrics would most often be substantial and lined, sometimes heavy cottons or beautiful brocades. The whole look was centered around co-ordination so would be worn with matching gloves, shoes, hat, handbag and jewellery. Match point!
There are other popular styles of 1960s dresses that can fall into these four categories quite nicely from kaftans to mod dresses and cocktail dresses to tunics. At My Vintage we pride ourselves on our wide range of vintage fashion and always have many stunning 1960s dresses in stock, in a variety of sizes. Be sure to check out our virtual vintage dress rail regularly here - https://www.myvintage.uk/vintage-dresses to find new arrivals as they land. After all as they say, nothing haunts us quite like the vintage we didn't buy!
Until next time
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