Thursday, October 27, 2011

What We Were Wearing - Fall 1961

50 years ago this month, this is what women were wearing.

Oleg Cassini
Perhaps the biggest influence on fashion here in the States, Jackie Kennedy personified the ladylike look most women tried to achieve.  Simple sheath dresses were very popular.

Jean Patou
Elegant suits had shorter and boxier jackets with 3/4 sleeves and big buttons.

Pillbox hats were the latest craze for the head, but hats were dwindling in popularity.  Long gloves were worn with suits and coats that had 3/4 sleeves.  Simple coats with fur wedding ring collars were everywhere.

Sue Brett
Full skirted dresses were having their last hurrah.  They were shorter in length and would disappear within a year or two.

Sweater by Braemar, pants by Geist & Geist
Skinny pants for casual wear were sometimes made of knits.  They were paired with sweaters or blouses.

Edward Abbott
Brocade was big.  Cocktail dresses were usually simple sheaths in opulent fabrics or full skirted styles in chiffon.

Pierre Balmain
Evening gowns usually had simple lines and were made of luxurious fabrics.  Brocades and heavy satins were most popular.  Every woman had or wanted a mink stole or jacket for evening.

Van Raalte
No matter what she was wearing on top, a woman in 1961 always wore a bra and girdle.  A slip was always worn under dresses and suits.


déjà pseu said...

Great recap! I still love the skinny knit pants. Glad we don't have to wear girdles anymore, though.

Lizzie said...

I was 6 in 1961, so to me, this is how a woman was supposed to look! I'm glad I grew up in a time when women wanted to be elegant and pretty.

Anonymous said...

Now I was a freshman in highschool in 61, so I relate more to the dress and pants outfits then the evening wear. I think I see small zippers on the ankle of the pants. This was often the case. You weren't allowed to wear pants a lot of places. I'm pretty sure I could not wear them to school.
Is that a peter pan collar on the dress? where did that name come from?
You rarely see the flip up hairdo now. It is shown in 3 of the photos and took a lot of time to acheive and a lot of hairspray to keep.
I agree that not wearing a girdle is a relief, but garters and stocking are a lot sexier than panty hose.
Thank you for the memories
Susan from Maine

Katie said...

Great post! One question I have about vitage full slips, which I buy instead of current ones: Why do they usually seem to have a lot going on in the bust area, such as darts and lace that show under clothing? Is it that vintage clothing was not meant to be as fitted in the bust as current styles are? Or were fabrics generally thicker and showed fewer bumps underneath? Perhaps it was acceptable to have bumps from lace, seams, and clasps showing under tighter-fitting clothes?

CarmenDahling said...

I love my vintage full slips too and they are great to sleep in in warm weather. Growing up in the South we used to have code words for bra straps and slip showing. It was snowing up North is ones bra strap was exposed and snowing down South in ones slip was showing. It was considered tacky to even mention the unmentionables even just among girls. It's snowing up North or South would be politely whispered to another girl never stated out loud. When was the last time you saw a slip showing?

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Katie, the answer to your question is two-fold. There were lots of plain slips in vintage days. Dealers don't usually offer them for sale because they are "boring". But they are out there. And yes, fabrics were more substantial and of higher quality. Construction of garments was much better and most dresses were lined so undergarments didn't show through.

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