We are starting a new series of murder mysteries taking place in the1960s. To make the story real we must research what life was like in that decade. After all we do have to dress our characters!
The 1960s fashions for women showed a major change from the 1950s strait-laced, conservative styles to the relaxed, youthful, even unisex styles of the 1960s. In other words, wardrobes had a major overhaul in just one decade.
Skirts changed from the swing skirt in the early 60s to straight (pencil) to A line shape by the end of the decade. And the hemlines were raised drastically as the decade continued.
Casual dress became more and more popular. Women were more comfortable wearing Capri’s, bell bottoms and shorts even at social events.
Couples wore matching clothes or unisex clothes which sprang up in the mid to late 60s. Teenagers to young adults jumped on the unisex look.
The little black dress came into fashion for cocktail parties while the evening/ball gowns started with a layer of lace ending the decade with classy one-layer dresses with stylish decoration.
Bell-bottoms became fashionable for both men and women in Europe and North America. They flared out from the bottom of the calf and had slightly curved hems and a circumference of 18 inches (46 cm) at the bottom of each leg opening. They were usually worn with Cuban-heeled shoes, clogs, or Chelsea boots.
The Empire waist style dress became very popular, reflecting the less strict social mores of dress from the 1950s (cinched waist). The 1960s women’s fashions considered women’s comfort and individual style as opposed to the earlier decades.
An interesting note: Capris’ acceptance in the United States was influenced by the 1960s television series The Dick Van Dyke Show. The character Laura Petrie, the young housewife played by Mary Tyler Moore, caused a fashion sensation by wearing snug-fitting capri pants.
During the 1950s holiday parties happened all month long. They included everything from Company dinners and dancing, Club/organization award dinners, to neighborhood parties. If the evening wasn’t a Black tie affair, dress was “Cocktail” or “After Five”. A great deal of time was spent by both men and women in preparing their holiday outfit. Many women made their outfits for the occasion or re-designed old dresses. Suburbanites who had jobs in the city but lived in the “burbs” realized they didn’t need to travel to the city in order to enjoy the holiday season. Simple to lavish affairs were planned in neighborhoods and by organizations in their local area. Still, fashion was important, regardless of where they live
Men of the ’50s were polished head to toe with stylish hats, suits, handkerchiefs, coordinated ties, socks and Wingtip shoes. Suits were slim fitting and skinny ties were the1950s fashion. Men pulled out the jewelry: collar bars, lapel pins, cufflinks, tie clips and most important…a watch. Many wore some of it or all depending on the event.
Women also followed the trend of the day with dresses that were cinched at the waist and dramatic necklines. In an effort to look coordinated, parures (matching sets of jewelry) were popular. These pieces were designed to be worn as a set. The women wore matching earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins and rings. They strived for the “coordinating” look.
(Note: My mother-in-law, who lived overseas, was a “fashionista” of her time, 40s, 50s, 60s. Her strategy was to make or buy an evening dress that was full and long. Each year (with the help of fashion magazines) she would re-shape the dress by making the skirt less full, changing the sleeve and the neckline. The original dress was reshaped up to five times and they were beautiful each time.
As a youth, I lived in Long Island, New York in the 1950s, and my mother and several neighbor women did the same thing with store-bought evening dresses to keep within the yearly budget. This is how important fashion was in the 1950s.)
Everyone paid a great deal of attention to the coats they wore when they arrived at parties. After all, that was the first thing people saw when you stepped through the door. Full swing coats were popular for women, depending on where you lived and the temperature. Men wore full length coats. And again, the coats, for both sexes, were accessorized, i.e., pins, corsages or boutonnieres of artificial flowers, gloves, hat, etc.
After all, the holidays were the time to pull out all the stops.
Janet Elizabeth Lynn
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Nothing can transport you back in time like a fragrance. They say that your sense of smell is the most powerful and evocative sense, and itâ€™s true: Emeraude reminds me of my mother, Quorum my husband, and Halston Z-14 reminds me of my teens and guys who bathed in a cologneâ€”rather than indulging in a spritz or two.
â€œA woman who doesnâ€™t wear perfume has no future.â€ â€“ Coco Chanel
This may have been a dramatic overstatement, however, when I was in the business of selling perfume, quotes such as these, gave women confidence when she entered a room! And Chanel No. 5 is one of the most popular fragrances of all time, a bottle of it is sold every 30 seconds (this includes me ïŠ, too).
Coco Chanel also stated that women should wear perfume wherever they hoped to be kissed. Wise words indeed â€“ please note that this does not mean â€˜layeredâ€™ in perfume, as perfume counter girls armed with spray bottles will advise you. No one should be able to smell your perfume unless theyâ€™re that little bit closer than is polite, then it should be something delicious and intoxicating.
Whilst researching which perfumes were popular over the decades I was surprised how many of these Iâ€™ve actually owned. Over the years, Iâ€™ve tried Anais Anais, Shalimar, Opium, Poison, Red, and Patou 1000 before I finally settled on Chanel No. 5. Of course, I selected one of the most expensive perfumes on the market, but I guess there is a good reason why itâ€™s been a bestseller since it was launched in 1921!
Vintage Perfumes: The Fragrances that Defined Each Decade
Itâ€™s surprising how many of these perfumes are still best sellers even now, but then why would they go out of fashion?
Popular Perfumes in the 1920s.
Chanel No. 5, launched in 1921, was an immediate success even though it was the preserve of the rich at this time. Famously worn by Marilyn Monroe, the square bottle design was rumored to been inspired by the design of a whiskey decanter.
Guerlainâ€™s Shalimar launched first in 1925. It is one of the most popular fragrances of all time and was said to be inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, the women for whom the Taj Mahal was built. The perfume was named after the Gardens of Shalimar in Lahore, Pakistan, which were also built for her.
Popular Perfumes in the 1930s.
Tabu by Dana Fragrances which were popular in the 1930s included Tabu by Dana (a sexy evening perfume), which was launched in 1932 and Je Reviens by House of Worth, both of which remain available today.
In 1934 Elizabeth Arden developed Blue Grass.
Perhaps the most notable perfume of the 1930s was Joy by Jean Patou, voted Scent of the 20th Century at the Fragrance Foundation FiFi awards in 2000. It was created in 1929 (the year of the Wall Street Crash) and even though it was marketed as â€˜the worldâ€™s most expensive perfumeâ€™, it was a huge hit. It is also considered to be one of the greatest floral fragrances of all time.
Popular Perfumes in the 1940s.
L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci (in a pretty glass bottle with a bottle stopper fashioned as two doves). After the war lighter and fresher perfumes became more popular, one of which was the still-popular Miss Dior by Christian Dior in 1947
Popular Perfumes in the 1950s.
Femme de Rochas was a rich, sultry perfume aimed at the femme fatale created in 1944.
Arpege by Lanvin is a floral romantic perfume, created in 1927, but became particularly popular during the 1950s.
Max Factorâ€™s Hypnotique and Primitif (as advertised by Jean Patchett above) were popular and an affordable perfume for the masses compared to the fragrances by the big fashion houses.
Soir de Paris by Bourjois was a popular fragrance amongst teenagers during the 1950s. It was discontinued in 1969, but relaunched in 1992
Popular Perfumes in the 1960s.
Oh! de London by Tuvache, YSL Rive Gauche was a popular 1960s scent
Hubert de Givenchy created Lâ€™Interdit for Audrey Hepburn and she wore the perfume for many years before it was released to the public in 1957. She featured in the adverts for Lâ€™Interdit throughout the 1960s.
Tuvacheâ€™s Oh! de London is a bright sparkling scent which perfectly captured the mood of the swinging sixties.
Guerlain introduced the heady oriental scent Chamade in 1969.
Popular Perfumes in the 1970s.
Charlie by Revlon and Diorella by Christian Dior, a perfume for the independent woman who has everything, were both very popular.
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, launched in 1977, and was a heady, rich oriental evening perfume.
Christian Dior released the classic perfume Diorella, which combines citrus and musky notes.
Anais Anais by Cacharel, launched in 1978 and was an immediate hit (my brother gave this to me as a Christmas Gift).
Did I list one of your favorite perfumes?
Or, perhaps a fragrance youâ€™ve never dared to try?
Perfuming is an art. Indulge your senses, enjoy the fragranceâ€”itâ€™s mystical, itâ€™s magical, is the new youïŠ.
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