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The 60s is an era which unites generations in Britain. It fills the more mature with nostalgia, whilst today’s youngsters spend their pennies on vinyl and kohl eyeliner in the desire to rekindle the decade of cultural revolution.There’s a certain pride about this period, arguably due to the large influence many artists and designers had across the globe. As time has passed, love for the 60s has never waned with new bands referencing Cream and Hendrix as inspiration and catwalks dressing models in outfits Edie Sedgwick would be proud to wear. Even though half a century has passed, the cultural styles of the 60s are as strong as ever, still most evident through the lens of fashion. It’s hard to find a designer who hasn’t taken inspiration from the styles seen in London that decade, even if they’d rather not admit it. Whether it’s bright colour blocking, bold graphic-printed fabrics or statement shoes, the 60s can make a claim on them all.
So what other 60s secrets does the high street hold?
In late 2012, early 2013 the Peter Pan Collar stormed both the catwalks and the high street. PPQ, one of the first designers to flaunt a return to the style, added theirs to velvet smock dresses and the high street soon followed suit. The trend referenced Sandy Shaw’s innocent schoolgirl 60s style. A very flattering look for any shape, the Peter Pan collar elongates the neck, helping to keep your look delicate and feminine. Keep your eyes peeled as this look will be back for Autumn/Winter 2014, so stock up on collared pieces in the summer sales.
Love them or loathe them, ladies the mini skirt ushered in a more liberal attitude to dressing whilst eradicating the acceptability of leg hair (you win some…). The shorter-than-short skirt was a style sensation, freeing thighs from the more traditional midi skirts. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing nicer than an elegant midi, but the mini skirt transformed female fashion. Keep the 60s in mind when shopping for new styles, I know the asymmetric skort skirts are still top of the fashion wish list, but broaden your horizons and try a suede, leather, or printed mini as homage to the decade.
Believe it or not, before the 60s, the humble heel worn by the young and fashionable resembled a pair of your grandma’s inch-high favourites. I don’t don heels too regularly, especially in Lancaster, but when I do I love my freedom to choose how high I dare to wear. Thank the 60s for the birth of the Stiletto, a revolution in footwear design. Without the 60s no woman would rock a pair of Jimmy Choo’s or be seen with Louboutin’s famous red soles.
It’s not just women’s fashion which has benefitted from the endless 60s revivals, the mods and rockers have defined modern men’s fashion, introducing blokes to rebellious dressing and making fashion an acceptable interest for men. Long gone are the days that women would purchase clothes on behalf of their husbands and brothers, now men take pride in their appearance, relishing shopping in the same way as women. So boys, take a minute to appreciate what the 60s did for your style:
Without the 60s, you wouldn’t be wearing those skinnies. Granted, the emo style spray-ons came a little later, but in essence, the 60s created a penchant for men in tight jeans. Although fans of One Direction – try and fail – to suggest that Harry Styles created the skinny jean/winkle picker combo, unfortunately true 60s style can’t be credited to the horror that is powder pink pop. Try harking back to the 60s in ankle grazer skinnies for a classic 60s look.
It’s a common belief that polo shirts and sharp collars originated in the early eighties thanks to skinheads a la ‘This is England’. Polos formerly the territory of unfashionable dads and ancient tennis pros (Fred Perry *cough *cough) were rejuvenated by the mods, paired them with cigarette pants and slicked back hair for a sleek look. Harry Hill style collared shirts were definitely in-vogue during the early 50s, however later in the decade and finally in the 60s, smart, tight fit suits became the norm. You can thank that marvellous decade for single breasted jackets and super thin ties which I’m sure will be the mainstay for most guys at Grad Ball.
Finally, the 60s wouldn’t be complete without the Psychedelic. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you’re neither A) a hippy, or B) eight years old any more, so crazy coloured outfits really aren’t your thing. Without the snazzily dressed men of the 60s, men’s fashion would be limited to suits, ties and shirts, in a range of colours from black to er… black. The colourful styles of the period introduced embellishment to clothes, paisley patterns and prints, along with removing the traditional limits of men’s fashion. So really, you have a lot to thank Hendrix and his purple velvet fedora for, along with the other male trend setters of the 60s, breaking the fashion boundaries so you can wear paisley print and not look like an idiot.