Sharing the History of Everyday Fashion

Changes in fashion don't always match changes in decades. The fashions I remember as quintessentially "sixties" didn't dominate until after 1964, and many fifties styles continued into the early 1960s. Hem length is a good indicator. This Butterick pattern (#2580) appeared between 1962 and 1965, but it's definitely not a miniskirt. (In the early 60s, we still wore stockings held up with garters. Wearing a miniskirt required pantyhose instead.) This knee length skirt reminds me that, at my Catholic high school in 1962, girls were tested for too-short skirts by being made to kneel on the floor. If your skirt didn't touch the floor, you could be sent home.
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Simplicity #2311 is dated 1957 on the instruction sheet. The 50s skirts are much longer, but the tops have many features still seen in the early sixties: 3/4 sleeves, a bias cut "boatneck" collar, and belt over a loose fitting jacket.  Many Vogue patterns featured in Elegance magazines from 1964 & '65 have these same features, combined with knee-length (not mini length) skirts.

McCall's #9319 is dated 1968. This is the skirt length often associated with the sixties, but it was not a mainstream, adult fashion until the late sixties. It was hard to buy a dress long enough to wear to work -- I was a high school teacher, 5' 7" tall, and always worried about the rear view when I reached up to write on the chalkboard in the early 70s. In 1972, I still routinely put a false hem in every dress I bought, in order to add an inch and a half to the hem length. This "sixties" mini look did not end until the mid- 70s.

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