There’s a well-known quote, attributed variously to Dennis Hopper, George Harrison, and Robin Williams: “When you keep in mind the ’60s, you weren’t there.” In relation to menswear, nonetheless, it appears that evidently the legacy of the 1960s is difficult to overlook.
The kinds that got here to prominence in that storied decade, from mod-inspired sharp tailoring to the dandy plaids and crushed-velvet loucheness of its latter, extra decadent half, are nonetheless very a lot with us. Our primer on the legacy of ’60s type covers its movers and shakers, and appears on the items nonetheless main the best way at present.
What Is 1960s Fashion?
At some point in 1965, Michael Caine turned up at David Bailey’s studio to have his image taken. The ensuing picture was so emblematic of its time that it would as effectively have had “The ’60s” emblazoned throughout it.
Caine faces Bailey’s digicam, the characteristically punchy monochrome silhouette enhanced by his chunkily-framed glasses and the unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth (Caine had wished to mild it, however Bailey had assured him that “for those who simply depart it, it’ll look cooler”).
The darkish go well with, white shirt, and slim darkish tie are, after all, impeccable; nevertheless it’s Caine’s angle that also smoulders, over half a century later.
“Submit-war London was dismal and stuffed with smog,” stated Caine, “after which we had the shadow of the atom bomb hanging over us. So we regarded round and thought, effectively, we’d as effectively have a little bit of enjoyable then. And that’s when the ’60s began. It was now not a case of the working-class figuring out our place; we stated, fuck it.”
No consideration of menswear within the 60s can afford to underestimate the facility of these final two phrases. Sure, the good loosening-up had begun within the 1950s, with the delivery of rock ‘n’ roll and the Beat Era main the countercultural cost; however what Bailey referred to as “the Huge Bang of the ’60s” modified every little thing.
The prime look, for Caine and his working-class-made-good friends, was haute-mod; Italian-cut fits, tab-collar shirts, whip-cord slacks and Chelsea boots, and an off-duty preppy uniform – navy blazers, Oxford shirts, woven polos, knit ties – that had regarded so good on the ill-fated JFK on his downtime in Nantucket.
As the last decade progressed, the outfits received extra outre together with the medicine, whether or not it was the downtown-boho uniform of Breton tops and denims sported by Andy Warhol and his cohorts at The Manufacturing facility, or the dayglo colors, navy tunics, and moustaches-and-mutton chops of the Sergeant Pepper period. Nevertheless it was the dapper insouciance embodied by Caine that set every little thing rolling.
What Does 1960s Style Imply At the moment?
Whereas different notions that gained frequent forex within the ’60s – free love, turning on and dropping out, circle chain belts – now look considerably creaky and ill-advised, the menswear “Huge Bang” it unleashed continues to be reverberating at present.
Why? In keeping with the actor and perennial mod Martin Freeman, it’s as a result of “the great thing about the mod look that got here to prominence then is which you can nick bits from right here, there and all over the place – it’s a really broad church.”
And its parishioners stretch from everybody who appreciates the minimize of a well-tailored, slim-fit go well with, whether or not bespoke from Savile Row – Michael Caine’s fits had been made by Doug Hayward, one other working class boy made good – or from high-street variations at Reiss or Suitsupply.
To those that go for the extra flamboyant late-60s dandy appears of the likes of Terence Stamp, Justin de Villeneuve and Lord Lichfield – the crushed velvet jackets, the white fits, the lace ruffs – now taking place a storm at Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the place outsized lapels, eye-popping sample, and Pierrot collars come as normal (and fly off the cabinets).
Scott Fraser Assortment
As for the preppy look, its variations are all over the place – as costume codes proceed to interrupt down, it makes an ideal midway home between formal and casual – from the reverent homages by Japanese Ivy League fan-boy manufacturers like Beams Plus and Camoshita United Arrows to the all-conquering polo shirts and varsity cardigans of Polo Ralph Lauren (and Mr Lauren, don’t overlook, began his enterprise again in 1967).
The truth is, one of many largest traits for spring/summer time 2020 is what we’d name avant-prep – outsized Oxford shirts at Prada, pixelated rugby shirts at Dolce & Gabbana – confirming that the spirit of ’60s experimentalism could be very a lot alive and effectively.
Key 1960s Items
The Mad Males-Fashion Go well with
Learn how to be extra Don Draper? A couple of gnomic utterances like “When you don’t like what’s being stated, change the dialog” would assist; a stack of similar, crisp white shirts in your workplace drawer will make sure you’re at all times ready.
However the go well with is the important thing; Mad Males’s visionary costume designer Janie Bryant dressed Draper in a fetishistic model of the traditional ’60s company uniform – gray or blue fits, striped ties, geometric pocket squares – and kick-started the style for smarter, extra minimalist tailoring.
Strive J Crew’s slim-cut Ludlow go well with or Thom Browne’s ankle-flashing schoolboy tackle the two-piece to emulate the look.
The ’60s was the last decade when the cardigan shook off the shackles of pipe-and-slippers complacency and have become hip, whether or not it was the mods frequenting Soho espresso homes and jazz golf equipment in streamlined suede-panelled variations, the preppies appropriating Ivy League varsity iterations, or an off-duty Steve McQueen rocking a shawl-collar cable-knit-white tee-Lee denims combo.
At the moment’s equivalents are simply as multifarious, from Gucci’s ebulliently-panelled varsity updates to Anderson & Sheppard’s lambswool shawl-collar cardigans in eye-catching colors. Even streetwear manufacturers like Aries are getting in on the act with their just-this-side-of-Austin-Powers mohair paisley numbers.
The Lengthy-Sleeved Polo Shirt
The long-sleeved knitted polo was essential to the unique ’60s mod aesthetic, in that it was a still-smart different to a shirt and tie; it was sharp and streamlined with a collar that hung just-so whether or not buttoned or unbuttoned, and – crucially – it was logo-less.
That it regarded the enterprise again then below a three-button mohair jacket was a testomony to its delicate smarts; that it appears equally efficacious at present below a cashmere blazer makes it a timeless traditional. John Smedley is undoubtedly the premier model for the long-sleeved polo, now as then – strive the merino wool or Sea Island cotton variations in every little thing from khaki to indigo.
The Harrington Jacket
The sporty, waist-length, zippered, tartan-lined, elastic-cuffed mainstay had been round for the reason that 30s – because the Baracuta light-weight jacket – however was re-christened within the 60s in honour of Rodney Harrington, Ryan O’Neal’s proto-Mod character within the US cleaning soap Peyton Place. John Simons, an early Ivy League adopter, offered the jacket to the Mod fraternity at his legendary London retailer, which opened in 1955.
The unique Baracuta G9 continues to be a best choice for Harrington purists, however luxe alternate options embrace merino wool variations from Timothy Everest’s new label MbE, and a light-weight model in a tech material from Dunhill.
The Chelsea Boot
They’ve truly been round since 1851 (Queen Victoria wished a laceless boot that wouldn’t get twisted up in her stirrups as she descended from her horse), however they modified from paddock boots to Chelsea boots within the ’60s after their adoption by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (John Lennon and Paul McCartney requested that a Cuban heel be added to the design), and their ubiquity on the King’s Street.
At the moment’s city warriors can take to that august thoroughfare in every little thing from Prada’s hardcore variations (with chunky caterpillar treads) to Frequent Tasks’ extra refined providing in a soothing shade of sand.