Jan 17, 2011

The Freedom of Fashion

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whenever I think about historical figures or events, my thoughts tend to eventually stray to the styles and fashions of the era.  (Doesn’t everyone’s?)  After the luxury of getting to sleep in this morning (since there is no school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) I found myself pondering the excitement and turmoil of the 60's, and Martin Luther King's role in the Civil Rights Movement. 

As usual, this inevitably led me to pontificate on the fashions of the decade.
Lovely Vintage 60’s Peasant Top from GailDavid
Fantastic Psychedelic Gown From Figure 8 Studios

Every decade’s fashions are like a visual social commentary, and the 60’s were both a bastion of creativity and a rebuke of convention. 

It is also my all-time favorite fashion decade!  (Even though I was sporting Pampers in the early 70’s.) 

I simply adore the fun and floaty styles of the hippie generation.  I can’t help but smile at the simple styles, bold colors, and geometric prints of the mad mod movement.  And, those curve hugging (ala “Mad Men”) designer gowns and cocktail dresses remind us all that it wasn’t always a fashion faux-paus to have an hourglass figure.  In fact, no matter what your body type, the clothing of the 60’s had something for everyone.

 Even now, forty-plus years later, there isn’t a fashion runway in the world that doesn’t reflect some 60’s influences.  The same goes for the music scene of the 60’s.  No rock or pop star worth their salt could say that they weren’t influenced in some way by the music that came out of that generation.  In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if in 40 more years designers and musicians are still being inspired by and producing music and designs that stir up memories of the era.

I love how the clothing of the 60’s managed to combine edginess with femininity, and comfort with style.  Many of the designs made a statement, and still managed to be just plain pretty.  It was okay to be creative.  Being different was encouraged.  Women ditched their girdles and high heels (and sometimes even brassieres) in favor of comfy blue jeans, sandals, and peasant tops with dainty floral embroidery and floaty bell sleeves.  (My personal favorite outfit - ever.)  Suddenly, women everywhere were breaking all the old and out-dated rules of fashion and they looked great doing it.

 Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good girdle and nothing is better for quick sex-appeal than some scrumptious high heels - but I only want to wear them when I want to.  Not everyday, not because I have to, and certainly not because society expects me to.  I guess that is what I love most of all about the fashions of the 60’s.  It set fashion free. 

The brilliant Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best: “Free at last; free at last; thank God Almighty we are free at last.”