Category Archives: The Look

What we wore to school, to parties, out on the town.

Dressing for Us

6531612197_45bf8abb27“From the Teddy Boys in the Fifties to the Mods and Rockers who took over, and on to the mini-skirted dollybirds of the mid-Sixties and the diaphanous hippies of the later Sixties, many more young people than ever before had, for various reason, enough money to pay for dramatic self-definition.”  Jenny Diski, The Sixties

“Nine of the shops for boys on Carnaby Street are owned by Designer John Stephen, 29, who last week took his Tattersall shirts, Dutch Boy caps, form-fitting pants, and vinyl vests to Manhattan to put the fear of God into parents there.  As for the girls, the most in shop for gear is Biba’s boutique in Kensington, which is a must scene for the switched-on dolly-bird at least twice a week.  Designer Barbra Hulanicki, owner of Biba’s, estimates that a typical secretary or shop girl, earning $31 a week, will spend at least $17 of it on clothing, which leaves her with a cup of coffee for lunch—but happy.”  Time Magazine, April 1965

This is how some of our subscribers dressed:

Chris Mullin

 

I loved the mini skirt, but one of my favorite special outfits was a dress in a wild psychedelic print! There was no missing me on the street – in fact, the bold colors were probably blinding! I did a bit of modeling work while in London and this photo with me in “the dress” was from a magazine article. Chris Mullin

 

“I remember mini skirts were more modest’ than dresses. When you wore the latter you had to be careful how you sat, not so wise to cross your legs. And high heels were so passe. At least mini skirts than went with flat shoes, still colourful and fashionable. I still have the same attitude to heels now – uncomfortable and crippling. And we mustn’t forget the obligatory make-up – black eyeliner and lashes, and white lips. And for social occasions false eyelashes. A friend was trying her on while sitting on her bed, dropped one and a spider rushed out and ‘captured’ it. Also not to forget the older generation. My dad was delighted with his drip-dry shirts which meant less ironing for my mother.  Julie Norton

“We wore very very short mini skirts. Prior to minis we had worn very full net petticoats under full skirts and dresses. We starched the petticoats so they stood out. Another fashion was hot pants, these were like shorts worn under a skirt with a slit at the front. My favourite outfit was most definitely a very short dress and a white pvc raincoat with knee length white pvc boots. I was very fortunate because by working for M&S in the head office I had lots of my clothes given to me. They were samples from the buying department and the buyers liked to see us wearing their merchandise. One important thing was we were pulled up if we had a ladder in our tights and immediately sent to the office to get a new pair (no charge). Those were the days. We had to have our cardigans either on or off, not round our shoulders and our dress length was scrutiniesed by the staff manageress. It gave us a good grounding, we worked hard but the perks were fantastic.” Gill Palin

“I had a custom made mini made from my mum’s navy serge skirt. it was a hipster, well above the knee with an op-art based design on it (except it wasn’t black and white but had red too). With that I wore a brown skinny rib jumper and a reefer jacket. no one had a skirt like that and i used to get stopped in the street. i also had a fab pink smock dress with a crochet collar from C&A and a black op-art dress my mum made. most of our clothes were home made, but my mum sewed for a boutique too. It was off the King’s Road at Park Walk but the only thing i could afford to buy there was a string of wooden beads. i still have them.” Koli

 

 

School uniforms

“At school our winter uniform (in the school color of Navy, with touches of red and orange), consisted of a white blouse, a navy wool jumper (pullover sweater), a navy wool sleeveless pinafore, dark knitted knee socks, sturdy leather mary jane shoes, a navy blue flannel blazer with the school logo on the pocket in red, and a navy wool beret also embroidered with the logo. For rain we wore a dark blue mac over everything. In summer we wore pale blue cotton knee-length belted shirtwaist dresses, covered by the blazer or the pullover as needed. Not exactly Mod London attire, but practical and neat!”  Lisa Baker, an American whose family lived in London in the early 1960’s