Iconic fashion of the 60's and 70's

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the trends and fashion from the swinging sixties and seventies. It often astounds me when my grandchildren rummage through my old wardrobe – the clothes I had originally surrendered to the ‘costume box’ - and gleefully find garments they deem to be hip and fashionable. But for many of us who actually lived through the time, our fashion styles and aesthetic choices are a source of fond memory and amusement. Many of the movements and styles of the iconic sixties and seventies have managed to reappear into today's mainstream fashion. Others are isolated to their original decade and remind us solely of those unique and wonderful times. So here’s a list of the more memorable fashion choices from that distinctive era…

The Twiggy Look
Lesley Lawson (aka Twiggy) was a bona fide supermodel of the ages and the inspiration for the unique 'Twiggy look', which was defined by large feline eyes, long luscious eye-lashes and short, masculine hair. By 1966, there were countless women sporting the exact same look… but not many of us pulled it off quite so well! By the seventies, the look had passed into legend, and today it’s possible to see remnants of Twiggy in the shaggy, post-mod London look favoured by the hippest of hipsters.

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The Big Hair
Before there was Twiggy, there was big hair. A brief look through the pages of a sixties style guide will offer a great reminder of just how prominent big hair really was. The real pioneer of this look was the incomparable Jackie Kennedy Onassis, whose bouffant hair-style was all the rage back in the early sixties. In those days, it was acceptable for a woman to wear a pillbox hat and to use half a can of hairspray each and every morning. The style returned briefly with the increasing popularity of ‘The Mary Tyler-Moore Show’, but soon enough the bouffant look would become a thing of the past…

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The Make-Up
The sixties and seventies were defined by two distinct cultural shifts, as many of us might remember. There was the fashion culture before the hippie movement and the fashion culture after. Before the mid-sixties, the make-up was always geometric and bold, often characterised by distinct colours and a contrast between white eye shadow and black creasing. No outfit was complete without the application of a serious amount of make-up, which was nowhere near as gentle on the skin as it is today. After the hippie movement was in full swing, we began to sport the au naturale look. By the late sixties, if you were wearing caked on make-up you just weren’t ‘hip’ anymore. With the feminist movement in full swing, no make-up became a statement in itself. 

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The Clothing and Jewellery
The sixties and seventies were also the heady days of the first mini-skirt, the first bikini, large earrings and the trend of adorning oneself with beads-a-plenty. For inspiration, women looked to movie stars and cultural icons to help co-ordinate their wardrobes. From Liz Taylor to Brigitte Bardot, there were plenty of unique looks and stunning new styles to try out. Thanks to ‘Mad Men’ and ‘American Hustle’, there has been a renaissance of interest in the unique look. If you’re anything like me, those old boxes of clothing up in the attic have already been ransacked by generations of children and grandchildren looking to achieve that real sixties and seventies look! Who would’ve guessed there was so much interest in ordinary objects from our embarrassing past?

As fashion trends are coming full circle (wide-legged pants and geometric make-up design are all the rage once again), it’s pretty clear that the sixties and seventies were great times to be alive. They were creative and exciting years, decades defined by fascinating shifts in culture and society. Do you remember how you looked back then? If those days make you smile, share your memories and thoughts with us via Facebook and in the comments section below. 

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Image credit: 

Elizabeth Taylor and family

Twiggy photo 

Jackie O

Janis Joplin

Brigitte Bardot