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Fashion in the 1960s

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During the 1960s an unknown designer in London's fashionable Oxford Street began experimenting with raising the hemlines on the skirts worn by mannequins.

By the mid-1960s the idea had truly taken off – and the mini-skirt had not only changed fashion, but changed society as well.

Former Port Vale commercial director Margaret Sinstadt, was a fashionable young woman during the 1960s – and she remembers the impact the mini-skirt had.

She said: “In the middle of the 1960s, someone said, 'let's raise the hemline', and in my opinion that changed everything. I think all the changes that came in the 60s, it was raising that hemline that did it.

“I did take dress design at Longton Art School, although I didn't go into it. For my entrance exam, apart from being able to draw and design, you had to take an unfinished garment. I took a dress that I was intending to wear, but I remember thinking, 'this is awful, it looks like something my mother would wear'. That's what the fashion was in the early 60s.

“Then there was this explosion of colour. I remember having a fizz colour dress, it was a mini and it was fabulous.

“When I was working at Stoke City, I had a lady who made dresses for me. I knew what I wanted to wear, I could design them, but I didn't like sewing, so I used to give my designs to a lady – I used to design my knickers to match!

“We could get away with wearing mini dresses, no-one had 'thunder thighs' in those days, it looked quite elegant.

“We were all stick thin, not because of any diet, but we ate sensibly.

“You would see Marianne Faithfull wearing these massive boots, you saw a bit of thigh, but what was covered up was the toe to kneecap. A lot of boots were skin tight, and white plastic. It was all quite tasteful when I think about it.

“One person who stands out, who wore very, very basic clothes, was Sandy Shaw. We watched her on television, people looked at that lady with no shoes on.

“It wasn't just the clothes, it was the hair, the bob, like Cilla Black.

“In men's fashions, there used to be an Army and Navy store in Stoke and I used to know guys who would stitch themselves into drainpipe jeans. They were very light blue, or dark navy. I remember these pencil thin legs, they looked ridiculous with winkle pickers – toes so pointed they used to stuff cotton wool in the ends.

“I remember in the early 1960s we used to go to All Saints Youth Club, where Legendary Lonnie used to go. I remember for a while everyone wanted to look like Lonnie. That was the beatnik look, these rebellious fashions."

Gloria Kelsall, of Light Oaks, turned 18 in 1960. She said: “The 50s were really another era with the full skirts and cinched waists. Most of the boys were 'teddy boys'.

“The early 60s were more reminiscent of the 1950s, clothes were neat, more classic, conservative and restrained.

“Skirts started to get a little shorter and colours brighter and more exciting.

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