SUMMARY for 1960 fashion.
Coats became shorter.
Sleeveless dresses were popular.
Collars were less popular.
High quality expensive fabrics were popular.
Patterns were highly graphic.
Large flower patterns were popular.
1960 Fashion and Vintage Clothing
At the beginning of 1960, the American woman was dressing in the manner of the 1930's. Strict, well-tailored suits were de rigueur for day wear. For evening, she wore either the same strictly cut suits in de luxe fabrics or slinky, bias-cut crepes. . Her hair and her make-up were fairly natural. Hair was worn shoulder-length and casually turned under by day, often wrapped up high at night. Make-up was unobtrusively becoming, with more and more emphasis on eyes.
By the end of 1960, the well-tailored, well-behaved young woman just described had been replaced by the flapper of the Twentiesâ€”her hair was as short as it could be without being shingled (and some top models even went in for shingling), her make-up (white face, charcoal-blackened eye-lids, and red, red lips) looked more like that of pantomimist Marcel Marceau than that of a healthy young woman. Her clothes had the spineless, waist-less look that years earlier had become known as the debutante slouchâ€”only this time the look was built into the clothes. This represented fashion at its most extreme, however, and there were many concessions to femininity before one reached this point. There they were, howeverâ€”the unshaped day dresses, the beaded evening tubes, and the garish make-up that seemed to set the clock back 40 years.
Strict tailoring, always loved by American women, came into its own at the beginning of the year. No designer worth his salt could resist the temptation to pare a little off the suit, coat, or dress he was working on. Ben Zuckerman, always a high priest in the fashion world, turned out as handsome a crop of suits, coats, dresses, and even evening costumes as could be found on the American scene. All were tailored within an inch of their lives, yet displayed the inimitable softness that lesser designers envied and women coveted. One of his best suits, a brown-and-beige tweed, had the classic tailored elegance of a man's fine suit: narrow, flat collar, sleeves set high on the shoulder, jacket cut with very little emphasis on the body beneath it. The skirt was short, slim, and somehow feminine.
Shoes for this tailored daytime dressing were lower-heeled, often oval, instead of pointed, at the toe. Shiny, crushed glace kid gloves were part of this look, as well as feminized bowlers or soft slouch hats. Often a fur collar softened an otherwise man-tailored costume. In a gray-flannel suit, for example, where the jacket was cut like a man's smoking jacket and the skirt knifed into pleats, the soft touch was a collar of furâ€”hair sealâ€”instead of a velvet collar. The same theme was repeated on other suits but with different furs: nutria, red fox, and opossum were great favorites. These were the more conservatively cut suits, however. Actually, the most fashionable suits were those that were the most strictly tailored; they deviated not a jot from their line, bearing neither trimming nor added softness. Characteristic was a mustard-and-white herringbone tweed, double-breasted and jacketed down to the middle of the hips (no waist indication here), with lapels and pockets slightly larger than life to carry so much jacket so far. It, too, was by the ubiquitous Ben Zuckerman.
In all this rash of tailoring, many coats seemed vastly less mannish than the suits they covered, i.e. Zuckerman's beautiful, spare capes, as narrow as they could be without impeding the wearer's pace. For all their strict simplicity, they were faintly nostalgic and definitely romantic. One of the best of these, in taupe wool, had a small, rolled, black Persian-lamb collar and was worn with a Cossack hat of the same fur. Another, by Trigere, resembled Superman's capeâ€”of green tweed, it had wings instead of sleeves, the wings gently folding in toward the hem.
Of the coats that were genuine coats, most were influenced by the trench coat and, for daytime, looked their best in fairly bold tweeds or plaids. Most coats were strictly belted in glossy leather at the waist, or at least sashed, and many were double-breasted. Some had no buttons at all but wrapped around the wearer, with the sash pulled tight and then knotted.
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