“A woman is as young as her knees.” Mary Quant
60s fashion (and indeed the entire era) ushered in a sense of optimism and liberation (sexually, politically and racially). Bras were burned in the wake of The Feminine Mystique, Kennedy beat Nixon (the first flame-haired president of the USA) and a man walked on the moon. The swinging sixties remains my favourite decade for fashion inspiration, bringing with it some of the most enduring style staples – houndstooth and check, the mini skirt, shift dresses, the shirt dress and knee-high boots. Hair was worn tousled and undone, bangs were choppy and beehives were de rigeur. Short pixie crops were made famous by Twiggy and graphic, winged eyeliner was worn with exaggerated, drawn-on lashes. In homage to 60s fashion, here’s the golden rules every style maven should follow.
The perennially popular beehive hairdo was created by Margaret Vinci Heldt. I’ve always felt strongly about big hair. Well, I lie. I once was a fan of the “Croydon facelift“, whereby hair is scraped back with Brylcreem-strength gel and may or may not have two threatening-looking tendrils strategically placed at both sides of the face. But I’d like to forget that period of my life if that’s OK? Heldt famously told the Daily Mail newspaper:
“I used to tell my clients, I don’t care what your husband does from the neck down, but I don’t want them to touch you from the neck up.”
My hair is naturally quite thick and as my mother would say, “draws me” when straight. Bouncy waves and backcombed hair are my go-to for channeling 60s fashion. If I had a hair stylist on board, I would go much, much higher than this, mind you. Check out my sky-scraper hair in this post by Lisa Smyth.
MINI SKIRT, MAX APPEAL
Standing at just five foot two (just like Gaga, yo), long hemlines don’t tend to suit me, truncating my already-short, semi-opaque shanks. Mary Quant‘s mini skirt was just as much a political, as well as a style statement. Decreeing that the hemline be no longer than the knee and no more than four inches below the buttocks, the mini skirt was a major part of the sexual revolution for women worldwide. Apparently miniskirts were seen as far back ancient Egypt, with saucy minxes in tassled iterations on the frescoes of the pyramids but it was Quant who revived and reinvented the style. My scalloped denim mini skirt is from Savida at Dunnes and you can buy it here.
POP ‘N’ PRINT
60s fashion was bold, bright and brash. Two prevailing styles dominated the period. On one end of the scale, Op Art fuelled the mod movement. Monochromatic, geometric prints adorned garments in cotton and PVC giving a psychedelic feel. On the other side of the dice were kaleidoscopic hues, pop art-inspired prints and psychedelic patterns. Cartoonish portraits and illustrations were the visual vocabulary of the era and disposable fashion was favoured. Andy Warhol’s brillo pad and Campbell’s soup tin were printed on shift dresses while Harry Gordon’s paper dresses (with poster designs from Bob Dylan’s portrait to a jaunty cat and an Allen Ginsberg poem) were cheap and covetable. This is a great article about the influence of art on 60s fashion. This geometric print from Dunnes marries the pop art feel with a mod-ish undercurrent – the sleeves keeping it modern. Buy it here.
BOOTED AND SUITED
Footwear of 60s fashion was far from coquettish. Rather, it mirrored the fierce attitude embodied by the strong, outspoken women who wore it. The 60s was a revolution of change and women needed to be able to run around without risking bleeding or cut feet. Mary Janes, Go-Go boots, Oxford flats, kitten heels and pointed flats all promoted comfort over pain. Colour block tights made a bold statement, eschewing the polished-and-prim look imbued by 50s fashion. My second-skin latex boots updates this 60s fashion look. However, this printed top and denim skirt combo would look equally as good with knee high boots and coloured tights.
ANATOMY OF MY LOOK
Jacquard top, Savida at Dunnes
Mini skirt, Savida at Dunnes
Boots, Public Desire
Necklace & earrings, Topshop (previous season) similar in Om Diva
OTHER 60s FASHION INSPIRED STYLES I LOVE
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. None of the clothes or accessories were given to me. If you click the links of the 6 “similar styles”and enough of you click for me to reach €100, I get between 10 and 30c.