I know that you needn’t be reminded that the 1960s were a very progressive time. No, you didn’t forget the innovations in technology (space landing). Or the new sounds (British invasion). Or even liberation brought on by second-wave feminists. Yes, these remain fresh and clear in your mind whether you witnessed the transformations first-hand or through documentaries and history books. What you might not remember so much is the impact these times had on fashion, and that the styles that are so familiar today were once new and, in some cases, shocking and scandalous.
1. Though Mary Quant did not invent the mini per se, she is the one credited for making this new style famous. After experimenting with short skirts in the 1950s, she unleashed her definitive mini in 1965 and the fashion world took notice.
2. Designer Mary Quant, pictured with Vidal Sassoon, popularized the five-point bob that’s still hip today. At a time when women’s hairstyles were long or up in beehives, Quant’s short, straight, and linear â€˜do offered a new, daring approach to beauty.
3. Since hemlines went up, shoe makers saw an opportunity to introduce new boots, known as the â€œgo-goâ€? boot. Though they did a great job of covering the flesh that the mini exposed, these were in no way a conservative response. Nancy Sinatra was no designer, but her hit song, â€œBoots,â€? reinforced the desire to trot around in tall, sexy boots still popular today.
4. The 1960s said goodbye to tall stilettos and hello to shorter-heeled shoes. The kitten heel was seen as an attractive alternative to stilettos. Concurrently, chunky, grandma-like shoes became all the rage among teens as style icon Twiggy sported such footwear with mini-dresses. New, wild clothing fabrics paved the way for even wilder shoes to match.
5. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis may have been the country’s first fashionable First Lady. Yes, she is best known for her pillbox hats but the signature accessories that stand the test of time are her large, dark sunglasses. If you had any doubt about their lasting popularity, just Google an image of Mary Kate Olsen.
A. Mary Quant’s Mini-Dress, 1967. photo courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, vam.ac.uk
B. Mary Quant’s five-point bob by Vidal Sassoon.
C. Nancy Sinatra’s Boots album, 1966.
D. Mod Patent Leather Shoes, c.1960, swankvintage.com
E. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, photo courtesy of style.com