Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dressing the Decade - 1962

Oh my it's been a rather busy few days for me! Sewing and visiting friends, working late and birthday dinners. Very tricky to fit in more than one blog post a week sadly.

How has the past few days been treating you? Nicely I hope! 

I've decided to make up for my absence with a chunky new addition to Dressing the Decade

Here we go with 1962!

Possibly one of the most exciting things to happen in fashion in 1962 is the publishing of David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton’s New York photo-shoot - Vogue Young Idea goes West. The spread featured fresh new ways of presenting clothes photographed by the unconventional Bailey while Jean Shrimpton’s easy style and youth appealed to the Young Ideas target market.

The BBC film We'll take Manhattan documents this week in New York, you can see more info on it here

So from this inspiration we can start to see the shift from grown up styles for teens to a youth driven market with fashion designed, modeled and worn by the 60's youth. 

The pattern industry lept on this new market and began manufacturing patterns with Misses sizes, youthful sketches and styling. Appealing to the younger audience was ideal as most girls still learnt sewing in high school and it was perfectly normal to sew up an outfit for a special occasion or for school

McCalls 6705

McCalls 6238

McCalls 6270

McCalls 6275

Simplicity 4251 - take a look at blues shoes! Fab!

Simplicity 4482

Simplicity 4577

Small details like bows, peter pan collars and frills kept the youth clothing for the young and helped to draw the line between young and old as these elements were generally reserved for children's clothing. But these details did eventually become absorbed into women's clothing as the idea of looking younger with clothing has always been popular

McCalls 6433

McCalls 6444

McCalls 6451

The silhouettes for young people were relaxed and allowed for more movement whereas women’s styles were changing frenetically - moving from fit and flare, to fitted, to loose and A-line.

McCalls 6228

Advance 3156

Advance 3395

McCalls 6324

McCalls 6310

McCalls 6683

Fashion for the office started to leave the big style skirts to become more sophisticated fitted dresses, which were seen as modern and more professional.

McCalls 6424

McCalls 6452

McCalls 6566

McCalls 6631

Simplicity 4547

Simplicity 4608

With Diana Vreeland at the helm of Vogue we also notice a more adventurous turn in fashion, though for sewing patterns it was a little slow to appear but you can see a slight hint of it emerging

McCalls 6394

McCalls 6216

McCalls 6564

McCalls 6602

McCalls 6608

Simplicity 4349

There was a clear simplification of styles – simpler lines and less fussy details, hair was still worn short to elongate the neck and keep it off the clothing. Jewellry also became larger and more colourful - chunky beaded necklaces, bangles and earrings which were matched with simple dresses

McCalls 6271

McCalls 6471

McCalls 7042

Coats remained full with larger collars and double breasted styles becoming the norm. As the younger beat generation started to choose their own style, elements from their lives on the road or out on the town started to become mainstream. Sailor’s pea-coats, uni-sex style trousers and newsboy caps were now available for you to make at home

McCalls 6490

McCalls 6539

McCalls 6491

Simplicity 4434

And now to cap of our review, a few select favourites! 

McCalls 6273

McCalls 6293 - Pink, orange and Olive - lovely colours!

McCalls 6294

McCalls 6344

McCalls 6371

McCalls 6653

There's a definite summer theme going on in those last few - can you tell what I'm excited for?

While on my pattern search I found these 2 interesting illustrations. They all look like they could be having a casual chat, but for a bit of a laugh, tell me what you think their saying in your comment!  

McCalls 6670
Simplicity 4517

In summary, we can see that 1962 was the year the youth began to show its fashionable head and began to make its impact as a lucrative market for both high street and department stores

It would have been around 1962 that most baby boomers would have been finishing school or or getting their first part-time jobs. With this came their largely disposable incomes and the idea of the youth driven 60s. Fashion magazines and stores began to take notice of this group, but those who catered to them the best were the most successful 

See the previous installments here;

Come back soon for 1963!

Cat xo

Source - Paperpast


  1. I've just picked up a coat from a charity shop remarkably like one of those featured, I will sound knowledgeable if anyone asks me about it at my next vintage fair! xxx

    1. oh lovely! happy to help you with your vintage knowledge! Im learning a lot from these posts too, soon ill be able to go shopping without being ripped off! haha

  2. Great post Cat, I just love the McCall 6941 pattern - I could do with a coat like that in navy to wear with my slacks! x

    1. yes! i love that pattern too! and it would look very smart with your trousers - which i still love!
      It doesn't appear to be for sale anywhere but you could set up a google alert for it!

  3. Hello, dear Catherine, and thank you for another educational post loaded with illustration! You make an excellent point in this post. In the years leading up to 1962, teenage girls yearned to look older ("grown up") and dressed like the adult women of the period. Starting around 1962, girls embraced their youth and demanded styles that reflected their moods, attitudes and lifestyle. Ironically, adult women started dressing younger to keep pace with this sweeping youth market trend. I realize that the term "baby boomer" means different things in different parts of the world, but in America, baby boomer is defined is a person who was born between 1946 and 1964. Therefore, in 1962, the oldest boomers stateside would have been 16 and some were yet unborn. I was age 12 at the time and just starting to notice women. I have fond memories of the styles you showed us here.

    You wanted us to suggest captions for the last two images.

    * In the first illustration, the brunette is addressing the secretarial pool: "Eat your heart out, girls. According to this note, my boss wants to take me to dinner tonight. I've a feeling you're looking at the future Mrs. Don Draper!"

    * In the second illustration, the brunette in the foreground whispers to the other woman, "Uh-OH... here comes trouble. It's the former Mrs. Draper, bossy, bitchy Betty!"

    Thank you for another terrific article, dear friend Cat, and enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. Hehehe very good captions! The last one really does have a very nasty looking scene!

      And ive updated my post - your right most baby boomers are after 1946, so ive fixed that up. this was still their time of 'coming of age' and they really started to make an impact on fashion and music etc.

      Thanks for popping by Shady!

  4. Another excellent post! Some of these patterns are the dreamiest....Fascinating to think it was only in this period that the whole concept of the youth market took off!!
    ooo, in the second last image I am imagining the lady on the left is exclaiming "and he had a wading pool full of MAYONNAISE!" a la Ashley St Ives in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", and in the second, the middle lady is making a caustic comment about the lady on the lefts small bosom......I do like Shady's take though!!!

    1. thanks lovely! you know I had always thought the youth market existed, but i think this is when it started to be its own force with younger designers and so one.

      Your caption lead me to watch Valley of the Dolls today! Ill have to find Beyond the Valley of the dolls.

  5. Swoon, they are all so gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  6. Great post! And I even have two of the patterns you showed: McCalls 6670 and 6566! Looking through my fabric stash recently for something else, I remembered that I have some black & white wool houndstooth yardage and I've decided to copy the cover art of McCalls 6566 and make the houndstooth version! lol

    1. Oh yay! How exciting - hopefully you'll post a picture of it when your finished? Im glad i helped (in a way?)

  7. All so lovely! I just bought myself 2 60's patterns to make up - Mccalls 7004 from 1963, with the most darling collar detail, and Simplicity 4209, with a gorgeous draped neckline to make up for my best friends wedding in March. So very excited!

    Oh, and captions.....
    Mccalls - 'oh! Elspeth! I hardly recognised you - that new beautician has done wonders with your monobrow!'
    Simplicity - The room went unfortunately quiet, just at the moment when Patrice hissed at Georgiana - 'I just can't believe that Doreen thinks she can get away with a flesh toned bra in that dress! VILE! '

    1. Oh! that 7004 looks really nice! for work maybe? And 4209 is another nice one - fitted with a cowl neck - should be beautiful.

      hahah and your captions!! so much giggling on the train when i read this =D

  8. Great post, sooo interesting, and of course the sewing pattern eye candy is just amazing. Lurrrrve the scarf that buttons to the jacket!!

    1. Thanks Tilly - Its all about the pattern eye candy!
      The button scarf would be so handy on windy days don't you think! :)

  9. I bought a non-vintage sleeved version of McCall's 6608 several years ago. I LOVED that dress but gained weight and couldn't wear it anymore. Alas, I no longer have it. It's funny, I didn't realize at all at the time that it was made from a vintage pattern. Now I do…. maybe it'll turn up in my searches someday!


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