Costume In Context: The 1960s and 1970s, by Jennifer Ruby
One of the most off-putting aspects of this book was the way that the author was clearly far more engaged with the decades and their fashion than I was. The author seems to have thought that the fashions of this decade were excellent and worth celebrating, while I looked at this book and saw a bunch of garbage that looked ugly then and looks uglier now and was a sign of social trends that aren’t worth supporting at all. That kind of disconnect between a reader and a writer does not make for enjoyable books and that is the case too. The author has her customary competence and her unisex drawing style that ignores the curves of women in her fashion drawings is well-suited to the age of Twiggy and the distinct fashion trends of a terrible age whose fashion, just like everything else, suffered drastically as a result of the cultural corruption that was going on at the time. Those readers who have a greater fondness of the age will find more to enjoy here than I did, it must be admitted, but if you don’t like an author going on about a time that one does not enjoy, this is not going to be a fun book.
This book is about 80 pages long and is divided by year into a variety of discussions of fashion that look at the lives of various people of various classes. The book begins with a look at a posh company director in 1961 and his wife and their upper class fashions. After that the book looks at their children in 1962 before discussing the fashion of Art students, a gardener and his wife, and a hairdresser in 1963. Then the book looks at the mini skirt and the foolish peacock phase for men’s fashion and the influence of pop music up to 1965. There is a discussion of a boutique in 1966, some hippies in 1968, and a discussion of the diluted fashion tastes in 1969 and the long (1969) and short (1970) of fashion during the time as well as unisex clothes. A discussion of a musician in 1972, a summer picnic, and a housewife and lecturer follow. The rest of the book does not improve matters as there is a look at children’s clothes from 1975 that I wore as a child a decade later as well as a look at a 1974 shop assistant and her children and an unemployed man from the same year. The book ends with a discussion of factory workers in 1975, street and punk fashions from 1976, punk chic in 1977, and a changing society and the ethnic influence on fashion in 1977 as well as the health and fitness craze of 1979, as well as a conclusion, glossary, book list and places to visit and things to do.