Dear Reader - it important that you know that this particular vintage style guide is related to the early 60s only - unlike our other guides that cover the full decade.
When we think of the early 1960s, we think of the sophisticated style of Jackie O, Pan Am when Doris Day was still the style icon of choice for many women. This may well be the transition period from the exceptionally feminine 1950s fashions to the free styles of the swingin 60s - but it epitomises the elegance of our golden era of fashion and gives it the finale it deserves.
A bit of Historical Info
The early 60s was certainly a transition period where fashion is concerned as well as culturally. There is no doubt that fashion took a real turn after this period reflecting changes in values and morals - resulting in a much more casual approach to clothing. In the early 60s however, ladies were still striving to epitomise the well dressed woman they had always aspired to. But these styles were the forerunners of a real change of style. You can see the start of this in some of the style lines and silhouettes but this is also when colours started to turn hot and prints - exotic!
The hourglass of the 1950s was still there but started to soften. There were still two silhouettes.
Firstly, the very full skirt and defined waist. The early 60s saw the full skirt was shorter that the 50s versions, reaching just below the knee rather than mid calf. The waist tended to be enhanced by ruching, ribbon trims or cummerbands.
The second silhouette is a slim fitted one and was a boxy jacket paired with a slim pencil skirt or sheath dress. Topped off by a pillbox hat!
Hair was big and bouffant or beehive. Asymmetrical hair styles were common as were the use of wigs ;-)
One other thing - the bust shape started to become more rounded than the conical or pointed shape of the 50s.
The Start of Mod
By the mid 60s, the hemline started its rise and saw many styles reach the knee or slightly above. Styles skimmed the body and necklines were high in the form of turtle neck, high scoop, bateau or high cowl. Backs were low especially in eveningwear. We see the princess line feature on many styles from the mid 60s and obvious use of fabulous brocades, satins and chiffons.
There was an element of the 'grecian' in early 60s eveningwear that makes it so alluring. Floor length gowns with draped panels of chiffon that float behind the wearer. One shoulder gowns, sating gowns topped with lace, billowing chiffon sleeves. Or think of Audrey's iconic yet simple black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
These were simply gorgeous styles that are largely overlooked or misrepresented.
Jackie O Chic:-
The original fashionable First Lady managed to maintain her impeccable style throughout her time in the White House.
Jackie's style was prim skirt suits, pillbox hats and super-sized dark glasses and made her the style inspiration for women across America.
Breakfast at Tiffany's:-
This iconic image from 1961 epitomises the early 60s eveningwear look and heralded the birth of the LBD!
Simple, elegant, heavily accessoried - worn with high bouffant/beehive hair. Note the large 5 string pearls and cute tiara that nestles in the beehive.
As seen on the likes of Joan Holloway in Madmen, the cocktail dress in the early 60s was an absolute must have. Rich colourful fabrics were often satin and brocades or metallics which softly cling to the body whilst at the same time creating shape. Many styles included the ruched waistband - which emphasised the waist. Deep pleats at the top of the skirt also created shape.
Tip 1: The Hair
The early 60s look was fairly simple but the hair was big and beehive. There are simply loads of videos on youtube giving you excellent walk throughs and tutorials on how to create great 60s hair.
Top 2: Accessories
Outfits were heavily accessorised and often coordinated carefully with the dress/suit. You can still get 1960s bags, gloves and other acessories in fabulopus condition. Also invest in some large statement necklaces, 3 or 5 string beads ir pearls.
Tip 3 - Winged eyeliner
Still iconic - stronger and finished with a huge pair of false eyelashes.