Men fashion

How To Costume With 60s Swagger


There’s a well-known quote, attributed variously to Dennis Hopper, George Harrison, and Robin Williams: “If you happen to keep in mind the ’60s, you weren’t there.” In terms of menswear, nevertheless, it appears that evidently the legacy of the 1960s is difficult to neglect.

The types 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 way in which at present.

What Is 1960s Fashion?

Sooner or later 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 properly have had “The ’60s” emblazoned throughout it.

Caine faces Bailey’s digital camera, 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 “when you simply depart it, it’ll look cooler”).

The darkish go well with, white shirt, and slim darkish tie are, after all, impeccable; but it surely’s Caine’s angle that also smoulders, over half a century later.

“Put up-war London was dismal and stuffed with smog,” mentioned Caine, “after which we had the shadow of the atom bomb hanging over us. So we seemed round and thought, properly, we’d as properly 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 mentioned, fuck it.”

No consideration of menswear within the 60s can afford to underestimate the ability of these final two phrases. Sure, the good loosening-up had begun within the 1950s, with the start of rock ‘n’ roll and the Beat Technology main the countercultural cost; however what Bailey known as “the Massive 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 seemed so good on the ill-fated JFK on his downtime in Nantucket.


As the last decade progressed, the outfits obtained extra outre together with the medication, whether or not it was the downtown-boho uniform of Breton tops and denims sported by Andy Warhol and his cohorts at The Manufacturing unit, or the dayglo colors, army tunics, and moustaches-and-mutton chops of the Sergeant Pepper period. However it was the dapper insouciance embodied by Caine that set every little thing rolling.

What Does 1960s Trend Imply Right this moment?

Whereas different notions that gained widespread forex within the ’60s – free love, turning on and dropping out, circle chain belts – now look considerably creaky and ill-advised, the menswear “Massive Bang” it unleashed remains to be reverberating at present.

Why? In line with the actor and perennial mod Martin Freeman, it’s as a result of “the fantastic thing about the mod look that got here to prominence then is which you could nick bits from right here, there and all over the place – it’s a really broad church.”

Beams PlusBeams Plus

And its parishioners stretch from everybody who appreciates the reduce 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 happening a storm at Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, the place outsized lapels, eye-popping sample, and Pierrot collars come as customary (and fly off the cabinets).

Scott Fraser CollectionScott 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 neglect, began his enterprise again in 1967).

The truth is, one of many greatest developments 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 properly.

Key 1960s Items

The Mad Males-Fashion Go well with

The best way to be extra Don Draper? Just a few gnomic utterances like “If you happen to don’t like what’s being mentioned, change the dialog” would assist; a stack of equivalent, crisp white shirts in your workplace drawer will make sure you’re all the time 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 basic ’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 Cardigan

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.

Right this 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 various 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 seemed the enterprise again then underneath a three-button mohair jacket was a testomony to its refined smarts; that it appears equally efficacious at present underneath a cashmere blazer makes it a timeless basic. John Smedley is undoubtedly the premier model for the long-sleeved polo, now as then – attempt 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 because the 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, bought the jacket to the Mod fraternity at his legendary London retailer, which opened in 1955.

The unique Baracuta G9 remains 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 cloth 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 Cuban heel be added to the design), and their ubiquity on the King’s Street.

Right this moment’s city warriors can take to that august thoroughfare in every little thing from Prada’s hardcore variations (with chunky caterpillar treads) to Widespread Initiatives’ extra refined providing in a soothing shade of sand.