In 1961, fashion was all about the costume look. The fashionable woman liked to go out in the evening dresses in an expensive but simply cut dress known affectionately as “little nothing.” She never left home without an elegantly styled bouffant hairdo.
Oval shaped shoulders and tapered hemlines were being replaced by straighter, wider shoulders, accompanied by a gentle inward curve at the midriff and a flare at the hem.
Many designers created “the look” by designing not just the dresses, but also the hats, shoes and even makeup of their mannequins.
Skirts had risen to the middle of the kneecaps, but by the end of 1961 only the very young continued to wear them short.
The hairdresser was of extreme importance in 1961. Beehive coiffures adorned by the likes of Princess Margaret, Jacqueline Kennedy and Brigette Bardot were imitated by women of all ages.
The bias cut gave a new fit to clothing, while keeping the comfortable softness women had to come to love. The bias skirt added grace and flare, while bias bodices molded the torso without feeling too tight.
The “little nothing” dress was called so for its simplicity. It was almost always sleeveless and slim, with low blousing or in a loose chemise shape recalling the flapper dresses of the 1920s.
The high rounded hat and the low, square-toed shoe were the accessories of choice. The simple pump of calf, alligator, crepe or satin was worn morning and night, and the women of high fashion wore heels of medium height, even with ball gowns.