1960’s fashion: music, miniskirts and Mary Quant

I’ve recently been doing a lot of research into the 1960’s fashion movements and the construction of how these styles came about and for what reasons, and since I’ve been so infatuated with the decade as a whole, I thought I’d share some of the key subjects that influenced womenswear of this time.

The 60’s saw a fashion focus on the younger generations, particularly on the teenage youth, as the change in music styles had also influenced them to desire clothes that they could move around in. The rising popularity of rock bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, went hand in hand with the frenzy of teenage girls that wanted to be with them and boys who wanted to be them.

Young girls didn’t want to dress as children anymore, and the older styles like Dior’s ‘New Look’ didn’t necessarily offer them much freedom physically, and thus this is where items such as the mini skirt were introduced. The super short manifestation was a bold style, suited to females who enjoyed the freedom of movement, or even to those who were heavily outspoken for women gaining a stronger role in society, in which the miniskirt was a modern style that didn’t fit the typical housewife agenda of the decade prior.

As the hemline was raised it became awkward to wear the traditional stockings, and so full length tights in bright block colours became the new fashion to suit this modern, youthful look. Mary Quant was a key designer for British youth at this time (and is also one of my personal favourite designers to this day) due to her recognition of young girls styling themselves and further feeding back what she saw them wearing in the streets, by supplying them with items such as these block coloured tights in a whole array of colours, which further formed this unique relationship between designer and customer.

Mary Quant was not the only important character in the 60’s love story, as who could forget about Twiggy? In her early days she was often compared to the equally beautiful Jean Shrimpton, who was seen to have more of a mature and classic feel than the young Twiggy, who at first had went by her real name Lesley Hornby. It was once her iconic pixie cut style was created, taking a whole 8 hours of bleaching and trimming in the House of Leonard salon in Wayfair, that ‘Twiggy’ was born.

Her super short cut and her doe eyes that she further brought out with defined eyeshadow, set a modern style for girls to recreate in their own way, to which obviously Mary Quant had supplied with her own makeup collections. Her makeup ranges included palettes that contained everything a girl could need in one item, including miniature brushes for girls to touch up with wherever they go, maybe on the way to a Beatles concert?

The youth quake of the 60’s has fascinated me a lot recently, as the parallels with not just the fashion industry today but society itself is undeniable. Social media helps to fuel our fearlessness of self expression and standing up for what is right, as the many many online movements since it’s birth is too many to count. Brands turn more towards street style and what the customer is wearing, which has usually been found second hand, as the superior fashion houses are lacking in imagination and awareness of what young people today actually want. And thus, history repeats itself.

Thanks for reading through this little homage to the 60’s, I hope you enjoyed it and even maybe learnt something new about this influential decade!

Sophie x

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