Tag Archives: 1960s fashion

A revolution in shirt design, 1960s men’s fashion.

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Re-imagining the Shirt in the 1960s.
Men’s shirts through history have been fairly functional. They would keep a chap warm and well covered up, and particularly throughout the nineteenth century they would have been fairly voluminous with a wide straight cut, maybe with a generous shirt tail to tuck in to trousers, sometimes with detachable starched collars and cuffs. The collarless shirt, sometimes made of wool flannel, would be worn mainly by manual workers, a white or pale coloured shirt would be worn by office workers.
In the 1950s and into the 1960s, Rael-Brook was one of Britain’s largest manufacturers of men’s shirts. Their advertisements, featuring dancing shirts, were shown on the television, accompanied by the catchy musical jingo, ”Rael-Brook, Rael-Brook, the shirt for men”. Real-Brook introduced subtle stripes and soft colours, including primrose and pink to their range, to attract younger men to buy their products. In the early years of the 60s, millions of white shirts were imported from Hong Kong to Great Britain, but the younger market demanded something different. Arrow and Tootal were popular brands with the younger buyers, offering new and brighter patterns, with an emphasis on a new slimmer silhouette and innovations to the collar. Tab collars and button down collars became popular, as did pointed collars and rounded collars.
In 1963, Ben Sherman brand was born. Ben Sherman (neé Sugarman) came from the USA and started up a company making an iconic 1960s shirt. It was immediately adopted by the Mods of 1963, and later by Two-Tone and Ska followers. Like an Italian profile, the Ben Sherman shirt was a very slim fit with a square cut hem ( no bulky shirt tail!), it had a box pleat at the back, a back button and button down collar. It came in many colours and patterns. The Ben Sherman shirt was the epitome of mod fashion for British men.
In the USA, Arnold Palmer, probably the best known and best loved golfers of the 1960s, won the US Open in 1960, and created his own brand, Arnold Palmer Enterprises, a year later. From those early years, shirts were part of the Arnold Palmer range, and bore both his name and his own logo, a golfing umbrella. The Arnold Palmer shirt of the 1960s comes in a variety of colours and patterns, plains and abstract, has a sharp collar, is a slim cut, and reflects the tastes of young American Pop Culture.
Colour and pattern remained a feature of men’s shirts throughout the 1960s and into the 70s, when collars and cuffs became more exaggerated, sometimes with the addition of frills. 1960s shirt fashions remain infinitely sharp and wearable, making them highly sought after pieces of vintage clothing.

Vintage Classic hats for men

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Vintage classics, the gentleman’s hat.

Historically, hats were always an essential element of any man’s wardrobe. Worn to denote occupation, worn to denote class, to keep the elements at bay, to protect the wearer from missiles and blows, and to make a statement about culture, taste and style….hats were worn with pride and with dignity. In the liberal 1960s and 70s, men’s wear in general became more casual and individualised, and the classic hats of former eras fell from grace, or were worn for more limited occasions as a part of formal dress.
With the renewed interest in styles of the past, lovers of vintage, watchers of costume dramas etc., have discovered a new love of classic hats, and their many forms. A man can create a particular vintage look more effectively by including a hat in his ensemble. There are many styles to choose from, but I am particularly fond of those classic styles that can be worn by Everyman, looking stylish without looking as if in fancy dress!

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The British Bowler.
I love the bowler hat, as it is quintessentially British in origin and in nature. I always associate the bowler hat with suave Patrick MacNee…Steed in The Avengers (1960s). He was the epitome of London cool sophistication in his sharp suit, with rolled umbrella and bowler hat. The bowler is a classic, created by the eponymous Bowler Brothers, William and Thomas. They were commissioned by the 19th century hat retailer Lock & Co. To create a sturdy low crowned hat for their aristocratic client Mr.Edward Coke. This was in the mid 1800s, and for the next 100 years it was a popular style with city gents and politicians. In general, the bowler hat is no longer worn by the man in the street but is still a popular choice for high society occasions. For an authentic look, the bowler should be worn with a classic suit or with a well cut overcoat, smart shoes and gloves.

The Trilby and the Fedora
These classic styles are similar, and are perhaps the most commonly worn and popular of hats, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. They were both invented in the early 1890s.
Generally made from wool felt, the Trilby has a narrow brim and an indented crown, and is usually tightly turned up at the back ( and less so at the sides). The Fedora has a wider brim, and also has an indented or pinched crown. Both usually have a hat band, often of ribbon, and may either be stiffened or soft. Right up to the 1960s these were everyman’s hats, but the Fedora in particular is associated with glamour….often worn by film stars of the era….and by gangsters!
The Trilby and the Fedora are having a revival, and in my shop there is always a lot of interest in both styles. For a touch of glamour, 1930s to 1960s style…..wear with a classic trench coat ( incidentally, it’s a style that looks great on men and equally good on women!)

The Panama and the Boater
The Panama hat and the Boater are both men’s lightweight Summer hats, originating in the 1800s. The Boater is a flat crowned, stiff brimmed straw hat, with a ribbon band, often worn by tradesmen, barbers shop quartets, and particularly by butchers. It is also the classic hat for wearing when messing about on the river…..punting or rowing. Wear it with a good striped blazer and white bags for an authentic vintage look.
The Panama hat is finely woven from palm fronds and is as flexible as the Boater is rigid. The Panama usually has a pleated or dimpled crown and a ribbon band. It is an elegant hat popularised in the movies and beloved of both screen stars and public notables. Wear it best with a lightweight linen suit.

Of course, there are many other styles of classic hats to explore and enjoy, and it’s good to see men using these vintage styles to add a touch of individualism to their outfits.
N.B. The archive Photographs of Patrick MacNee and of Maurice Chevalier are not my ©

Classic vintage menswear, the Overcoat, Aquascutum.

 

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The name Aquascutum is synonymous with quality tailoring, with elegance and tradition.
The company was set up by John Emary in 1851, the same year as the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, and started as a tailors shop in London’s Mayfair. Emary took out a patent on the first water resistant fabric, and the name Aquascutum, it’s brand name, is Latin for water shield.
Aquascutum moved premises in 1895, to Regent Street, and in 1897 received its first Royal Warrant, from the Prince of Wales. Thereafter, Aquascutum enjoyed the long and prestigious patronage of the British Royal Family, receiving six Royal Warrants in total, the last in 1952 from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
During the Crimean war and in both World Wars, Aquascutum Made military trench coats, and was respected for both its military as well as its civil tailoring. Throughout its long history, Aquascutum dressed royalty, the military, stars of stage and screen, politicians, Everest climbers and even the 1996 British Olympic team.
Producing high quality men’s and women’s tailored coats, suits and uniforms, Aquascutum has a long history of innovation, fabric innovation and brand development that has earned it a particular place in British fashion and social history. Aquascutum was sold to YGM Holdings, a Chinese Company in 2012 after floundering in the early part of the 21st century.
During the 1940s 50s and 60s, a well dressed man would complete his outfit with a good quality woollen overcoat. This would be a capacious garment, cut to fit over the jacket of a suit. It was generally a well tailored garment and ideally would be made to measure, although “off the peg” became more commonplace, with gents outfitters able to make alterations where needed to a ready made garment. Overcoats from the first half of the twentieth century often have weatherproof finishes, satin or silk linings, and generous pockets. They may be double breasted, echoing the style of the war time trench coat, or single breasted, which generally sits better over a suit. They may have set in sleeves or raglan sleeves. Fabrics would usually be thick and dense wool weaves, in tweeds, checks or plaids, with colours and styles suitable for both town and country.
Buying a vintage overcoat is a great investment, as a quality new overcoat bought from a tailor today will set you back the upwards side of £600, whilst a good vintage coat may be picked up for under £200. Check the label, as it will give you information about the maker and the fabric composition. Some labels will instantly indicate a high quality garment, e.g Aquascutum, Gieves & Hawkes, Jaeger, Mackintosh, Austin Reed. Other labels may offer a local connection, e.g.made for a particular gentleman’s outfitter in a certain town.
Make a note of your own measurements, and compare them with the vintage item. The overcoat is designed to wear over a jacket, so it will be quite roomy. You may need to add a few inches to your own chest measurement for ease. Check both the sleeve length and the width across the shoulders. Nape of neck to hem will give you the length, which may be well below the knee, just below the knee, or a ¾ “car coat” length, which can be worn quite casually. The width from armpit to armpit , when doubled, gives you the chest measurement plus an allowance for ease of wear over your other clothes. Look at the overall condition of the coat. In particular, look for signs of wear at the cuffs, and pocket tops, which can become thin, check inside pocket linings for any tears or rips, and the lining, particularly under the arms and along the back seam, as this is where you will seem most signs of wear and tear. Any small defects can be repaired, such as missing stitching on a lining seam, or an odd missing button. If you are buying on-line, don’t be reluctant to ask for extra measurements or details from the seller. If you are a careful buyer, you will be able to add a high quality coat to your wardrobe, and will be able to wear it proudly for many years to come.

Please note the Aquascutum illustration and 1950s advert are not my own ©️

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March 2018, Cwmpengraig, snow, Welsh Wool.

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March 1st is Dydd Dewi Sant, St. David’s Day. ( patron saint of Wales). Traditionally, we celebrate with early spring daffodils, dancing, choirs, traditional costume and harp music. This year Cwmpengraig has been blanketed in snow and the winds are sharp and fierce. This little hamlet has been effectively cut off by the snow, and we are keeping warm with delicious Welsh cawl ( made traditionally with root veg and leeks) and scrumptious Welsh cakes made on the griddle.

Welsh costume
Traditional Welsh costume

The above photograph shows ladies in traditional Welsh costume probably in the late 19 th century. At this period, Drefach Felindre, now home of the National Woollen Museum of Wales, and the surrounding  villages and hamlets,  including here in Cwmpengraig, were busy with the production of woollen cloth, flannel for clothing and heavier weaves for blankets and the famous double cloth produced for “carthen”, the Welsh quilts/ bedcovers. “

As seen in this historical photograph, the costume was layered with flannel petticoats and skirts, aprons, blouses, “betgwyn”( an overjacket with three quarter sleeves and tailed back), shawl,  under bonnet and stove pipe hat. Leather boots or clogs may be worn with hose and under garments. Flannel was usually woven in stripes or small checks for ladies clothing and in plain or fine stripes for workmens shirts.

In the 1960s, there was a revival of the popularity of Welsh cloth, particularly of the distinctive double cloth, which, when woven in 1960s bright colours, seemed quite psychedelic. Mary Quant used Welsh cloth in some of her designs, and vintage clothes associated with the 1960s include mini skirts, capes, waistcoats and jackets, with matching accessories, handbags and coin purses. The museum at Drefach Felindre has a great gallery showing the way Welsh cloth has been used through history, including 1960s high fashion.

 

A touch of Vintage, the handbag.

 

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One of the easiest and most stylish ways to add a touch of vintage to an outfit is to add a frame handbag. Here are four just added to the shop.  Former film star, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, often carried a Hermès bag with top straps, and that style of bag evolved into the eponymous “Kelly”bag, which is essentially a metal frame bag, boxy in style, with a top clasp and top handles. This style is synonymous with the 1950s, the Grace Kelly  era, but has remained a popular style which we think of as a classic and elegant accessory.

The classic frame handbag comes in many variations, from classic leather to pvc, shiny patent leather to pony skin!

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The headsquare

Equestrian theme
Vintage headsquares

This is a fabulous little equestrian number from a huge selection of vintage headsquares that I now have in stock.

My best friend wears hers like the Queen….tied under the chin!

There are fifty ways to leave your lover (so I hear), but how many ways are there to wear a headsquare?

1 folded diagonally and tied under the chin, like the Queen.

2 folded diagonally, crossed under the chin and tied at the back (Audrey Hepburn)

2 folded diagonally , tied around the back of head, over the scarf tails, gypsy style.

3 As above but tied under the scarf tails, hippy chic.

4 folded diagonally, point in the front, tails brought round to front and tied, point tucked in , washerwoman  style.

5 pleated, tied, with ends fanned, turban style.

6 rolled on the diagonal and worn as a Hendrix style headband.

7rolled on the diagonal and used to tie a pony tail

8 folded into an oblong and worn as a knotted stock under a hacking jacket

9diagonally folded and tied behind the neck with the diagonal creating a cowl neckline.

10 diagonally folded and worn around the neck with tails at the front, Boy Scout style

11 as above but tails worn near the collar bone, cowboy style

12 as an element of a hijab

13 as an element of a headwrap

14 tie it around your wrist

15 tie it around your waist

16  tie it around your hips

17 tie it around your leg, like a punk Morris dancer

18 wrap up some possessions,tie it to a long stick and take a hike

19 drape over a side table

20 use it as a halter neck top

…….. I can think of more!

 

 

 

Vintage classics of the 60s and 70s

 Biker vest
For bikers or metalheads, black leather with pockets and straps 1970s vintage.
Biker vest
Biker vest in black leather

This classic 1970s black leather biker vest is a recent addition to the shop. It will fit a medium/large , and is complete with loads of pockets, a cotton lining and various straps to adjust the fit. Visit the shop for full details.

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Wool suit
Classic Deréta two piece
Deréta classic
1960s Deréta two piece, skirt and waistcoat…perfect for office or about town!

Deréta is a great English label to look out for. This fab two piece suit is in pure wool and has a brown taffeta lining to both the waistcoat and the skirt. From the 1960s, this look was really popular for the “girl about town”  or for office wear and could be teamed with coloured tights and Mary Ann strap shoes, or with little boots. Under the top you could wear a nylon turtle neck ( as shown), a skinny rib sweater or a fitted shirt. As with all vintage of this era, it is best to check actual measurements with your own as label sizing is quite different then and now. This is labelled as a size 14, but is more like a 12 with a smallish waist!

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Academic gown
Academic gown for teachers or wizards
Academic robe
By appointment to HM, academic robe.

A bit random…..Traditional Academic robe by Ede & Ravenscroft. This style is graduate attire for Bachelor awards. It has a fluted back falling from a stiffened yoke and stiffened fronts and it has bell sleeves. All details in the shop.

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Photoshoot, BEWTstudios, Cardiff

Coolclobber Photoshoot My 2017
May Photoshoot Bewtstudios Cardiff

I am always looking at ways to update my shop and keep it looking fresh.  Last week Coolclobber was at Bewtstudios, Cardiff Bay with photographer Greg Gladysiak and ten models for a day long shoot organised for Coolclobber by marketing and events consultant, Boisbach.

If you follow CoolclobberVintage on Instagram you can see some of the fabulous shots that show off some of the vintage treasures in stock right now!

 

Here are a few!

80s party dress
80s short prom dress
1960s two piece
1960s Jaqui O style two piece
Jacket and cap
Casual denim and flat cap
Black and white two piece dress and jacket
Two piece silk and angora mix
Prom king and queen
Cute prom wear! 60s Tux jacket, beaded column dress
Traditional robe
Elegant traditional man’s robe
Shirt hat braces tattoos
Shirt hat and braces
Raincoat and flat cap
The classic vintage raincoat
80s does 40s styled for now
80s does 40s re-imagined

All of the above are available or about to be listed at Coolclobber.

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1960s Vintage, Swinging London, The Summer of Love, Models, Music and Mods.

The Swinging Sixties, as it became know, is synonymous with an explosion of creativity in fashion and music and art, that put Britain on the map as the innovative capital of the world!

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Hermans Hermit, David Bowie.

Pop Art, Op Art, Peter Blake, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol.

Hair….the lacquered beehive…..Vidal Sassoon, the five point bob.

Make-up….eyeliner, false eyelashes, pale lipstick, pale nail varnish.

Over the decade, various styles emerged, and it is possible to find plenty of 60s vintage clothing in good wearable condition.

Themes

Space Age and Futuristic, with  clothes made from plastic, metal or paper and new fabrics.  Lots of white and silver. Helmets, short boots, geometric structure and keyholes, geometric prints.

Designers

André Courrège, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne

The Mini Skirt

Courrège showed above the knee short skirts in the early 60s, however the term Mini skirt is accredited to Mary Quant, who, in the mid sixties, introduced skirts 6/7 inches above the knee. Mary Quant also designed groovy capes, mini skirts, dresses and bags using Welsh tapestry doublecloth in vivid 60s colour combinations.

Designers

Jean Varon, Mary Quant, John Bates, André Courrège.

Biba

The brainchild of designer Barbara Hulanicki, Biba started as a small store in Kensington in 1964, later, in the 70s, moving in to the old Derry and Toms department store in Kensington High St. Biba was a complete look, a distinct style, based on both Biba clothing and Biba make-up. Biba was a “dolly girl” look, big eyed and young.

Designer

Barbara Hulanicki

Flower Power, The Summer of Love.

1967 is known as The Summer of Love, and marks a summer when over 75,000 hippies gathered in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco. 1969 was the year of the Woodstock festival.  The late 1960s is associated with hippie fashion and inspired by American music.

Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, The Monkees, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Mamas & Papas.

Designers

Sandra Rhodes, Celia Birtwell, Ozzy Clark,

Models, Muses & Icons

Twiggy, Penelope Tree, Patti Boyd, Jean Shrimpton, Peggy Moffit, Grace Coddington, Cathy McGowan, Jackie Kennedy, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Mia Farrow, Nancy Sinatra, Sandy Shaw, Twinkle.

Key Pieces

Fingertip length mini dress, mini skirt, skinny rib sweater, ankle or knee high boots, baker boy hat, 3/4 length jacket, the headscarf, sack dress, smock dress, hot pants, palazzo pants, long floaty dress, headband. Welsh tapestry capes, skirts and handbags, the Afghan coat, a bibbity bobbity hat, satin loons.

lots of

crimplene, Tricel, polyester, permapleats, courtelle, acrylic, nylon.

1960s go go dress
1960s go go dress
1960s cocktail dress
1960s brocade cocktail dress
1960s purse, Welsh doublecloth.
1960s Welsh tapestry doublecloth purse
1960s Welsh doublecloth Handbag
1960s Welsh doublecloth handbag

 

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Shopping for Vintage clothes and accessories.

What is the appeal of Vintage clothing? Fit, repairs and fabrics…..

If you are interested in the history of fashion, you are interested in vintage clothing, and maybe already be knowledgeable about different eras and styles , about specific designers and about the development of signature looks.   Choosing to wear vintage often means expressing your personality through a specific look, from a hairstyle to an outfit, right down to your shoes and accessories. You can choose a specific era, e.g the 1960s or the 1940s, and style yourself accordingly as a 60s dolly bird or as a 40s land girl.  Or, you can choose key vintage pieces, e.g a coat, a dress, a knit, and combine them with your contemporary wardrobe to add a vintage twist.

The great thing about shopping for an wearing vintage is that you are often looking at unique pieces, and when you create your own style you can be sure that your look is your own!

It is still possible to come across clothes that date from the late 1800’s, and those would be classified as antique.  Victorian and Edwardian pieces are often fragile, and personally, I would regard  them as collectors or museum pieces.  Similarly, pieces from the first two decades of the 1900’s are often un-wearable…with some exceptions. Probably the best preserved pieces from the early 1900s are evening dresses as they were often stored well , particularly the expensive heavily beaded pieces that we associate with 1920s flappers.

If you want to look into 1920s fashions, the names and labels you can look for include Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Elsa Shiaparelli, Madeleine Vionnet & Norman Hartnell.

For practical purposes, Anything over twenty years old is regarded as vintage, and wearable styles can be found from every decade stretching from the 1980s to the 1930s.

If you are aiming for a complete look, do your research. Look at books and fashion magazines from the era that interests you, do some on-line research, visit fashion collections in museums….there are plenty of resources out there!

When shopping for Vintage clothes there are a few things to bear in mind.

Fit

When you are looking at vintage clothes, particularly at anything pre-1960, production methods are quite different. Unlike today, when clothes are mass produced, often abroad, vintage pieces are often made in small runs, or even made for individuals by a tailor or dressmaker.  Some pieces that you find will have been made at home, probably cut from a commercially available paper pattern produced for the home dressmaker.  The size charts that are more or less standardised today, i.e bust waist and hips measurements, were often quite variable before the 1960s.  It is also true that the changes reflect the current average body shape of the 21st century woman or man, which is taller and broader than it was in our mothers or grandmothers era.

Do not take the size on the label  for granted! Generally waists are smaller and the general silhouette is curvier on older pieces, so make sure that you know your own measurements and take a tape measure with you when you shop!   Expect to have to make a few alterations to the fit of your vintage garment to suit your own body shape, so check seam allowances and depth of hems, or check if there is room to move buttons etc.  If you do not already own a sewing machine, think about investing in one so that you can make your own alterations!

Repairs

It is useful if you are handy with a needle and thread, or with a sewing machine ( see above).  Some alterations are easy for beginners, e.g. Sewing on buttons, stitching a split seam….but some take a bit more skill, e.g. Replacing a zip, adding tucks or darts to a bodice.  Check over your vintage finds carefully for any obvious flaws, rips, moth holes, stains etc., and before you buy, consider if you can remedy the flaw . Sometimes, a piece is beyond repair, but some beautiful fabric can be salvaged and up-cycled.

Fabrics

Vintage clothing up until the 1960s is likely to be made from a quality fabric such as wool, silk or cotton, with rayon or viscose or early synthetics like Tricel mimicking silk.  These fabrics drape and hang well, and looked after properly, will last for many years. However, they often need specialist cleaning. True synthetics, polyester, nylon etc. Came in to their own in the 1960s. 1960s fabrics are often harder and harsher, distinguished by their bright colours  and  designs. This was the start of easily washable fabrics that can often be drip dried or spun and that need no ironing. Much of the fashion clothing from this era was aimed at a young consumer, and was not made to last!

Smock dress
1960s smock dress