Jul 17

Want the best thrift store finds ever? Read this first!


Hunting for vintage clothing while on a budget can result in you getting Warning light saying 'stop'the best thrift store finds ever. Even though 1960s clothing can be tricky to find outside of shops and fairs, it can still be done.

However, while you’re out there trying to spot a hidden fashion gem, there are some things that could scupper your plans altogether. Here are a few of the most important no-nos for you to remember.

Leave your cash at home

Now this may sound like a strange thing to say, seeing as so many people use debit and/or credit cards to make purchases as a matter of routine.

Despite this, there are a lot of charity shops and thrift stores that still only take cash. This is especially true with smaller shops. Even though the more well-known shops do offer card payments, it’s best to have some actual cash money with you. Better still, make sure you have some small change in case they’ve run out.

With luck, you may be able to ask the shop assistant to hold that fantastic psychedelic print shift dress until you locate the nearest bank. If they can’t or won’t, that incredible find may have been taken by someone else by the time you find a cashpoint and rush back!Coins arranged on a flower print fabric


Haggling, while a requirement in a Marrakesh market, doesn’t work so well in a charity shop or thrift store. If the price of the item is a price you’re happy to pay anyway, why negotiate it down? Besides, the thrift store may not be always be willing to change the price.

Haggling is an even worse option in a charity shop. A few weeks ago, I was in the changing room of a smaller charity shop when I overheard someone trying to ask for a reduction on the price of a suitcase. The assistant took it in good humour, but gently reminded him where he was.

The whole point of charity shops is to make money for the relevant charity, be it for medical research, housing advice, or for supporting vulnerable groups in society. You may think you’re bagging an even better bargain, but that money you’ve withheld could make the difference between the charity being able to help someone and having to turn them away.

Pay over the odds

Having said the above, it’s really not worth paying an exorbitant amount of money for something that’s marked as ‘vintage’ but actually isn’t. A handful of charity shops are guilty of putting (say) an 1990s blouse on sale for £20 and labelling it as something from thirty years earlier.

Therefore, it’s all the more important to check out before you go how to tell what’s what. If you’re not sure, why not look at this post for some help? Handing over twenty and ten pound notes

If you’ve done your homework already, but are sceptical about the ‘1960s’ item you’ve picked up, simply put it back on the rail and walk away.

Buy without checking the condition

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s just as important when looking out for vintage clothing in charity shops. Both charity shops and thrift stores get their share of less-than-quality items, and they may not have the time or resources to do as thorough a check as they’d like.

In particular, look out for stains (especially at the armpits) and snags to the fabric. Also watch out for any sign of moths having had a nibble or the fabric having been faded by overexposure to the sun.

If you’re happy to repair your vintage find despite all of that, make sure you have the time to actually do it. There’s been many a time when I’ve bought something with the best of intentions to fix or alter it, only to still have it in my pile of ‘things to fix’ months later!


Finding and securing a vintage bargain from the 1960s can be tricky if you’re not careful. From not having any cash or change on you to paying too much for an item, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Check out one of my previous posts for five tips on finding that treasured garment!

Have you fallen into these traps before? What do you think of these tips? Do you have any others? Please leave any comments below.

If you know someone about to chase after vintage clothing at charity shops or thrift stores, please share this post with them!

Jul 17

Fashion From The 1960s In Print – Book Review

(Affiliate Disclosure: Yvonne is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.)

My rating – 7 out of 10

About the book

1960s Fashion Print by Marnie Fogg does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s all about prints used in fashion from the 1960s. These prints borrowed from art, nature and from previous decades. As well as clothing, they were used on furniture, homeware and upholstery.

The hardback book itself has a wonderful bright cover which is from a collection of fashion fabric produced by Debenham and Freebody. This was a British department store which is now known as Debenhams. Both the inside front and back illustrations feature the same design, but in more muted plum and mauve shades. This reminded me a lot of Biba. 

At the beginning, there is a brief introduction which gives a wider context to the prints. Massive changes in society during the 1960s together with the move towards modernity led to innovation in textile design.

Chapter One gives an outline on how art movements such as abstract and Pop Art influenced print. The simple shift dress proved itself to be the perfect canvas for these big and bold motifs.Geometric fabric print

Related to art, Chapter Two covers the effect of Art Nouveau on fashion prints. This swirling style from the turn of the 20th Century tied in with the desire for nostalgia that people started to feel. The author observes that this retreat into the past was a response to the social and cultural progress that had been made in the first half of the sixties.

Big and bright flowers spring up in Chapter Three, where the simplicity and innocence of the daisy motif in particular was huge throughout the decade. Flower prints typify the desire that hippies had to return to a gentler, more eco-friendly lifestyle – again, nostalgia.

Chapter Four is full of hallucinogenic prints, fuelled by LSD and the culture that sprung up around it. Psychedelic colourways were to be found on rock posters as well as on clothing and art.

Finally, Chapter Five talks about how printing and textile techniques from other cultures were used. Hippies and designers of the time brought crafts such as tie-dye and batik from their travels to India and the Far East. Interesting is the use of patchwork prints, which most people associate more with the 1970s. Again, this tapped into the intention to dress in a more sustainable way.

About the author

Marnie Fogg has written about fashion since 2003. With a background in fashion and textiles as well as having previously worked as a lecturer, she brings a great deal of expertise to the book.Pink printed fabric incorporating flowers and paisley

Who the book is for

This book is for people interested in 1960s womens’ clothing, as well as students of fashion and textile design. If you’re into 1960s art and psychedelia, this will be worth a look for you too. The book would also be ideal for any of you who grew up in the sixties.

How will it help you?

If you’re a fan of fashion from the sixties, this book will help you learn more about how those wonderful prints were created. Fashion students and historians will find 1960s Fashion Print a useful addition to their bookshelves. Textile and design students can find lots of inspiration as well. If you simply remember growing up with these prints, then this book will be a trip down memory lane for you!

Why I like it

Apart from the amazing cover, the abundance of images to illustrate the varying designs is a big draw for me. I could have spent ages just gazing at them! I learned a little more about all the influences that went into print design at different parts of the 1960s. Also, this helps me a little bit more to tell which vintage clothes are really from the sixties.


-Colourful cover! Perfect to show off on top of a coffee table
-Compact size (22.1 x 22.1 cm, or 8.7 x 8.7″)
-Full of images
-Shows a wide variety of the types of prints used throughout the 1960s in pretty much chronological order


-The hardback version makes it quite heavy to carry around with you (especially if you want to take it onto the beach with you)

Where you can buy it

From Amazon.co.uk, in both paperback and hardback.

I hope you enjoyed this review! If you’ve read the book before, please leave your personal reviews in the comments section below.

Jul 17

Someone you should know about – John Bates


The British fashion designer John Bates was the man behind Jean VaronMonochrome op art and, in my opinion, someone you should know about. Jean Varon was one of the most sought-after fashion labels of the 1960s, bringing affordable fashion to young women. Mini skirts, cut-outs, PVC, geometric prints – John Bates was the designer behind these innovative trends.

This post will talk about how John Bates got into fashion, his heyday in the Swinging Sixties, and what he did after the decade ended.

At the beginning

John Bates was born in 1938 in Ponteland, a parish nine miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1957, he left the North-East of England and moved to London. There, he began an apprenticeship under the couturier Herbert Sidon who was based on the exclusive Sloane Street. This was despite him having had no formal training in fashion.

After spending time as a freelance fashion illustrator and working with Mary Quant in the window displays of her boutique Bazaar, John Bates started his Jean Varon clothing label in 1959. At the time, Paris was still one of the world centres for fashion. A French-sounding name, therefore, would have helped Bates to be taken more seriously as a fashion designer. ‘Varon’ was chosen because there were no other names in the rag trade directory beginning with V!

Designing for Swinging London

John Bates’ designs for Jean Varon were ahead of their time. He was the first to lift the hemline to mini length, and has been credited as the inventor of the miniskirt. Bates also popularised trousers for women. The use of sheer and mesh panels also featured, as well as cut-outs and space-age fabrics.

One particular orange-printed linen minidress (with a mesh midriff) was voted Dress Of The Year in 1965 by the Fashion Writers’ Association. This can now be seen at the Fashion Museum in Bath.

In 1965, John Bates designed Diana Rigg’s outfits for the second half of the first series of The Avengers. British television viewers saw the actress playing Emma Peel while wearing op-art prints, elegant evening wear and catsuits. These designs were manufactured across the country, therefore boosting Bates’ popularity, and making Diana Rigg forever associated with the role of the young female spy.

Ernestine Carter, the fashion editor of the Sunday Times, was a big supporter of John Bates, as well as other young British designers of the time such as Foale and Tuffin. Carter pinpointed Bates as influencing other designers for several years afterwards.

Marit Allen, the editor of British Vogue’s Young Ideas section, also championed Bates, and even wore one of his designs on her wedding day on 10th June 1966. This comprised a white gaberdine dress with a silver PVC stand-up collar. The matching coat had a very wide notched silver PVC collar – all very futuristic!

After the 1960s

John Bates continued to create designs in the 1970s as Jean Varon. These clothes were softer and more feminine, but other designs under his name were still cutting-edge.

By the early 1980s, John Bates had left the fashion scene altogether, his eponymous label having fallen into bankruptcy, The Jean Varon brand continued into the 1980s with the designer Tom Bowker.

Bates is now an artist who lives in Wales with his partner John Siddons. He also provided the foreword to the 2009 book Photographing Fashion: British Style in the Sixties.A set of paint brushes with pastel bristles


John Bates is one of the forgotten British fashion designers of the 1960s, despite him being a contemporary of more famous designers such as Mary Quant. Bates’ creations had a massive influence on young women’s wardrobes, as well as on other designers.

I hope you enjoyed this post – please comment below with your thoughts. If you know someone who’d like reading this post too, please share on your favourite social media platforms!

(Sources – John Bates (designer)Jean VaronThe Man With Two Names)

Jul 17

Vintage style wedding dresses for sale!

(Affiliate Disclosure: To cover the costs of the site, I have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies whose clothes I really like. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission or credit if you decide to buy any of their items after clicking on the relevant link.)


As a follow-up to a previous post which talked about what real 1960s brides wore, here are some vintage style wedding dresses for sale. Whether you’re having that sixties-style wedding or not, these unique and beautiful dresses are sure to help you wow your beloved!

Can’t find the perfect white gown for your big day? This post is for you too!

Short and sweet

Courthouse Vows Shift Dress in Ivory in L

This ivory sleeveless shift dress in floral lace is a cracker for anyone who wants a mini length. This reminds me of the lovely daisy lace dresses used in the middle of the 1960s, where the tradition of the longer-length bridal gown began to be turned on its’ head.

Imagine wearing it for your registry office ceremony as your guests witness your exchange of vows…the shower of confetti as you and your love walk out of the building after being joined in marriage…wearing it as you have that special first dance…

Clean lines

When I saw this dress, the simple shape and lines reminded me a little of one designed by Balenciaga in 1967. His was nearly floor-length, and incorporated a train into the silhouette. The effect of the high-low hemline looks quite contemporary to 21st-century eyes.

Almost architectural in design and construction, this is a wonderful A-line dress for those who like angular elegance. It’s also much more affordable than getting hold of an authentic designer wedding gown! The organza panel in the skirt adds a tiny bit of interest.

Fit for a princess

Chi Chi London Gilded Grace Lace Dress in Champagne

For an early 1960s look, this one is perfect. This channels the elegance of Grace Kelly with its’ long lace sleeves.

If your wedding is a more traditional church one (like most ones at the start of the decade) or if you want a more conservative look, give a higher-necked dress like this a try. Wear a petticoat underneath to get that extra fullness in the skirt!

Fit for all occasions

This dress is similar to the one above, but much shorter. Early sixties style is updated with the higher hemlines favoured later on in the decade.

There are quite a few brides now who choose their wedding dress with a view to wearing it for other special occasions, not just for the wedding day. This is because of the expense of them, or simply because they’re into sustainability. This one in particular could be worn for a garden party, or an evening summer meal.

Boho style

Intricate Observance Maxi Dress in Ivory

This one screams (or rather whispers) late 1960s style. The beautiful embroidery and chiffon is so hippie wedding!

For a quirky look, try wearing with flat sandals, or with none at all! I can imagine a bride wearing this for a beach wedding or one out in nature.


These wedding dresses inspired by the 1960s are all wonderful in their own way. Whichever part of the decade’s fashions you prefer, there’s something there that you’ll want to wear. I’ve been inspired by the dresses too, even though I’m not planning my wedding day (or anyone else’s!)

Please share this post with anyone you know who is planning their wedding and wondering what to wear!

Jul 17

Fashion models in the 1960s


The role of fashion models in the 1960s was different to the one expected of them in previous decades. In the 1950s, models had hourglass figures and always looked perfect in the designer’s clothes. There were even schools to tutor girls in proper posture and walk.

Of course, the 1960s blew all that out of the water! Young women from all walks of life, not just from posh backgrounds, were spotted and got the chance to see the world and model cool clothes. Some of these faces, such as Veruschka became iconic. Here are some more.


How have I written so many posts on this site without giving a full mention to The Face of 1966?! Discovered at the age of sixteen, Twiggy’s boyish figure and elfin features were a stark contract to the curvy and mature-looking models from just a few years earlier. Mary Quant was one of the fashion designers who preferred her to model her designs.

Twiggy was a HUGE influence on what young women wore. And it wasn’t just her clothes (a line of which she designed herself), it was also that cropped pixie haircut and big eyes accentuated with lots of mascara and eyeliner.

Peggy Moffatt

Rudi Gernreich’s muse and long-time friend. Her stark black Vidal Sassoon hair cut and dramatic black makeup made Peggy Moffatt stand out from the crowd.

Her modelling and acting career started in the 1950s and continued into the 1960s. In 1966, Peggy Moffatt was the main model featured in the film Basic Black. This was the very first film exclusively featuring fashion – of course, all the creations were from Rudi Gernreich!

Donyale Luna

One of the tallest models of the sixties, Donyale Luna stood at six feet two inches (1.88m). She moved from her home town of Detroit to New York to start her fashion career. Donyale Luna is best known as being the first black model on the front cover of Vogue – more specifically the UK edition of the magazine in March 1966.

As well as modelling, Donyale Luna also starred in several films. These included Who Are You, Polly Maggoo and Skidoo.

Pattie Boyd

More associated in most people’s minds with her marriage to George Harrison in the second half of the 1960s, Pattie Boyd had been known as a fashion model since 1962. She was particularly seen in mod styles, and was another British model favoured by Mary Quant.

Pattie Boyd appeared on the front cover of the UK edition of Vogue three times in the second half of 1969, as well as on the front of the US and Italian editions.

Jean Shrimpton

‘The Shrimp’, as she was known, was the first to be labelled as a ‘supermodel’. Another favourite of Mary Quant, Jean Shrimpton influenced many British models who came after her, including the above-mentioned Twiggy. She was photographed by David Bailey from the early 1960s onwards, and was one of the most famous faces of the decade.

Along with Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 fashion icons of all time.


As with everything else in the 1960s, the world of fashion opened up to break the mould of the type of beauty that was seen as ‘acceptable’ before. From the androgynous look of Twiggy to the striking looks of Donyale Luna and Peggy Moffatt, people were exposed to a wider variety of models than in previous decades. Look out for more posts on models in the future!

Did you enjoy reading this post? Do you know someone else who would? Please share on your favourite social media platforms!

(Sources – 1960s Fashion ModelsList of British Vogue cover models30 Sixties Style IconsThe Best of 1960s Fashion and the Icons Who Helped Shape It)

Jul 17

All in one shopping for your retro sixties gear!

(Affiliate Disclosure: Yvonne is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.)


If you want to carry out your vintage and retro sixties purchasing quickly and easily, Amazon provides all in one shopping for your needs on one site. There are several companies that sell their clothes through Amazon as well as their own websites – here are just a few.

Lindy Bop

Established in 2011, this is the label to go to if you prefer the early 1960s look. Full-skirted and pencil styles abound here, and most hems are below the knee.

Amidst the retro clothing from earlier decades, a twist to the little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s is served up below. Appropriately named after the actress and style icon, this midnight blue number adds elegance wherever you wear it.

Madcap England

This online store has been going since 2007, and they feature cool and colourful clothing inspired by the 1960s and 1970s. From little mod dresses to knitted polo tops, this is clothing that would satisfy the exacting demands of any modern-day sharp dresser.

Their sizes do run rather small, though – I tried this red and white gingham dress on once when I spotted it at a charity shop. It was a size 16, but I wasn’t. It was quite a squeeze, and I returned it to the rail with a sad heart. That won’t put me off trying Madcap England again in the future, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

Hell Bunny

This is a brand that has its’ roots in a much more punky and alternative style than a retro one. Most of their retro is the 1950s/early 1960s variety, though they still have cute dresses like this fox and rabbit-print mini. Squirrels, flowers and deer can be spotted too.

There are lots of size choices too, ranging from a UK size 6 to 26. When I found the dress above, the largest size it went to was an 18.

Run and Fly

Another brand that’s been seen in a lot of independent shops. Again, this is quite an alternative and quirky brand, but has a lot of vintage-inspired gear to offer. These items have flavours ranging from the ‘50s to the ‘80s.

Of particular interest are these amazing pair of bellbottoms – hippie flaredness with mod-style striping! Seeing as it’s still summer, I quite fancy this burgundy paisley dress in my wardrobe too.


Even more alternative styling! There’s lots of outfit options if you want to mix up your sixties style with some tartan, steampunk, or fifties pin-up gear. Shoes and other accessories can be found too to complete the look.

This sweet flowery A-line dress will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. To top it all, it has pockets too – very practical as well as pretty!


With all these cool clothes all on Amazon, vintage-inspired shopping online is made so much easier. Even though some of these brands, like Run and Fly, are already in physical shops, the amount of choice on the site is so much wider. In fact, checking these out makes me think my wardrobe could do with a little refresh…

Do you like these featured items? What are your experiences of using Amazon to find 1960s retro clothing? Would you do it again? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you know someone else who’d like these fab fashions too, share this post on your favourite social media platforms!

Jun 17

Tennis clothing for women who win Grand Slams


Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, starts on Monday.Tennis ball and racquet resting on grass What better subject to talk about than tennis clothing for women?

In particular, this post will tell you more about Ted Tinling, who designed the costumes that some of the winners of the women’s singles championship wore in the 1960s.

Player and designer

Cuthbert Collingwood Tinling, also known as Ted or Teddy, was born on 23rd June 1910 in the English town of Eastbourne. He began to play tennis at the age of 13 after being sent from his South Coast home to the French Riviera to recover from bronchial asthma. While there, he met the French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen and became her personal umpire for the next two years.

This relationship with Lenglen led Tinling to become the player liaison at the Wimbledon championships from 1927 to 1949. By this time, he was already a fashion designer, specialising in evening gowns and wedding dresses. By 1939, Tinling had a staff of 100 working for him at his Mayfair premises.

Both the designing and Wimbledon paused during World War Two, when Tinling worked as a spy for the British intelligence services. This role was only revealed after his death.

After the War, Tinling started to design tennis and other sports wear due to shortages of the material required for the elaborate designs he made before. His design of lace-edged tennis knickers for Gussie Pictogram of a tennis playerMoran to wear for the 1949 competition caused huge controversy in the world of tennis. This resulted in being asked to leave his Wimbledon post.

However, Tinling’s designs weren’t banned from the competition, and he continued to dress players throughout the 1950s. Both Wimbledon and US Open winners wore his creations. The shapes reflected those of the decade – full-skirted with nipped-in waists.

How the little white dress changed

Since 1890, all players at Wimbledon have been required by the authorities to wear white. And in the early 1960s, white was pretty much what tennis players wore whatever the tournament. By then, hemlines were already creeping above the knee.

Tinling designed the dresses worn by Maria Bueno when she won the Wimbledon ladies’ singles championship in 1960 and 1964. In 1962, his design for Bueno caused more feathers to be ruffled amongst the tournament’s powers-that-be. The white dress included multi-coloured diamond-shaped petals on the lining and her knickers. This led all colour to be banned from players’ wear.

Angela Mortimer (in 1961) and Ann Jones (in 1969) were also in Tinling when they won the Wimbledon ladies’ singles championships. Despite a clampdown on colour for Wimbledon, Ted Tinling kept adding colour to the basic tennis whites throughout the decade. These included touches of gingham, lace, and coloured motifs.

The 1970s and beyond

In the 1970s, Tinling designed tennis dresses for Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Evonne Goolagong and Virginia Wade (the last British woman to win the Wimbledon title back in 1977). He was also the official designer for the Virginia Slims tournaments. By this time, colour to suit the personalities of the players was very much in.

As the decade continued, he designed less and less and became much more involved in the running of the game. Wimbledon allowed Tinling to return as a player liaison officer in 1982 after several years of being an official media spokesman.

Tinling was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of fame in 1986 and wrote several books on the game before he died on 23rd May 1990.


This has been yet another fascinating area of 1960s fashion to look at. Ted Tinling’s colourful life as a tennis official, spy and author (as well as being a top fashion designer) is one worth writing about!

What do you think of tennis fashion, both in the sixties and now? Please comment below.A bowl of strawberries and cream

If you know someone who’d enjoy reading this post too (while enjoying a bowl of strawberries and cream), feel free to share it on your favourite social media platforms too!

(Sources – Ted TinlingTed Tinling – Fashion Designer EncyclopediaList of Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Champions, A Fashion History of Tennis UniformsTennis Fashion: The 1960s) 

Jun 17

Spirit of the summer captured in Bronte Country

Haworth 1960s Weekend programme

Event: Haworth 1960s Weekend
Entry: Free!
Place: Haworth, West Yorkshire
Rating: 4 out of 5

The Haworth 1960s Weekend is an event I’ve wanted to get to for quite a while now. It was great to make it this year and feel the spirit of the Summer of Love in the air.

Spread across the village of Haworth was live music, classic cars and scooters, and lots of people coming to step back in time for a short while. I got there on the Saturday, as relying on public transport would have made it tricky to attend on the Sunday.

Dressed in a turtleneck black shift dress, white tights, black brogues, and carrying the handbag I bought at the Festival of Vintage, I was all set to go go! Here’s my review of the event.

Getting there

I got the train from Leeds to Keighley, which took about 25 minutes. Once I got to the bus station a five-minute walk away, there was a choice of buses to the weekender. I happened to be just in time for one of the Bronte Buses, which took me to Haworth Central Park in 15 minutes.

Another option is to catch the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway up to Haworth – this is a railway separate from the main service, and run by volunteers. The KWVR offers a picturesque trip through this lovely part of Yorkshire.

The village of Haworth is most well known for being the place where the Bronte family lived in the 19th century. Sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne are known the world over for their novels and poetry. Their home is now a museum providing a centre point for visitors.

What was it like?

Quite busy! Lots of people were there, ranging from babies to older Classic car from the early 1960speople who would have had fond memories of the sixties. It was quite a family-friendly atmosphere without excluding people who weren’t with kids. There were quite a few dogs too, one dressed in a military-style jacket reminiscent of the type The Beatles wore on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Even though it wasn’t specifically a vintage fashion event, at least 85% of attendees were dressed in some form of sixties gear. Hippie maxiskirts, lots of pairs of go-go boots, fringed suede waistcoats, psychedelic shift dresses teamed with white tights, tie dye

However, what people were wearing was predominantly fancy dress – I noticed at least two people wearing identical pink/purple swirl maxidresses. Some people came in retro-style shift dresses, and one guy turned up in an impressive pair of purple cord flares.

A couple of people did wear what looked like authentic vintage – one lady in a long jacket and matching dress combo (which looked like it was made from Crimplene), and another lady was in a marvellous mini dress with a brown and white flower print. I tell you, my heart skipped a beat when I saw their outfits!

Central Park was where most of the stuff was happening. There was a classic car display, food stalls, and other stalls selling jewellery, sweets, and teddies in a bag. A small fun fair kept kids amused, and thirsty people had plenty of options: a beer tent, a champagne and prosecco van, and a mobile gin bar to choose from. Soft drinks were available too!

At the bandstand throughout the weekend, there was live music whichThe Rocking Beats performing was predominantly covers of popular sixties songs. Between the bands, there was a DJ playing lots of pop music. Some of the songs, though, were the same as the ones the bands were covering!

The sun came out while The Rocking Beats from Lincoln were on, and loads of people danced to tunes such as I’m A Believer and Hippy Hippy Shake. The finale of Twist And Shout got nearly everyone moving and a-grooving!

The other band I caught was The Chessmen from Leeds, who were the final band of the day. They had more of a rock sound, though not the garage rock that I first thought they’d be. After they played a cover of the Northern Soul classic Tainted Love, a woman came up to the bandstand asking them to ‘play something from the sixties’. The reply, to paraphrase, was ‘that was from the ‘60s, luv!’ A random bloke in workman attire and carrying a can of lager popped up on the bandstand near the end and started to dance, which added a bit of a surreal twist to things.

At the end of the day (about 6.15), everyone who dressed up posed for a photo for the front cover of next year’s programme. People were still hanging around the park at the end, reluctant to head off.

What else was going on?

While walking around Haworth to see what else was happening, I found two vintage shops (as you knew I would!) Oh La La on Main Street is on two floors, and sells a variety of vintage clothes for men and women, as well as books, jewellery and other stuff. Wave Of Nostalgia further up the road sells mostly retro clothes from the 1940s to the 1960s, and offers made-to-measure reproduction clothing too.

Several of the pubs also had live music on, and there was a display of 1960s scootervintage scooters. However, a lot of the owners had ridden off by the time I managed to check them out.

On top of that, there was even a couple who were re-enacting John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 bed-based protest against the Vietnam War. Quite a few people hopped onto the bed with them to take photos!

Did I buy anything?

Only a programme of the weekend. This gives a background to the weekend, as well as Haworth’s role as the world’s first Fairtrade village. There were poems and accounts of the Swinging Sixties from people who were there and loved it! In the centre pages, there is a map showing where all the events were held with a trail marked out for those who fancy a walk around Haworth as well.

Will I come again?

Yes, I will! I had a great time dancing along to the music and being in such a happy and friendly atmosphere. If you want to find out the plans for next year’s weekend, you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you know of anyone who’d enjoy reading this review? If so, please share it with them!


Jun 17

Fashion for the red carpet – Valentino


Valentino is one of the most well-known designers in fashion – a household name, in fact, best known for his fashion for the red carpet. His amazing beaded gowns and beautiful couture have entrancedQuote from Valentino millions in the fashion world. There is even a particular shade of red known as ‘Valentino red’, due to him having used the colour in so much of his earlier creations.

Although Valentino’s long career started in the 1950s, he enjoyed his biggest successes from the 1960s onwards. This post will give you his story.

Early life and career

Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani was born on 11th May 1932 in Voghera, a town in Lombary, northern Italy. His interest in fashion was sparked during primary school, when he apprenticed under his aunt Rosa and the designer Ernesta Salvadeo.

At the age of seventeen, Valentino moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and (like Arnold Scaasi) at the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.

After his studies ended, he spent five years apprenticing with Jean Dessès and sketched endlessly at any spare moment he could. After two years at Guy Laroche’s fashion house, Valentino moved to Rome to set up his eponymous label in 1960.

A grand old time

On his return to Italy, Valentino opened his fashion house on Rome’s Via Condotti with help from his father and his business associate. The atelier bought the grandeur of Paris into the heart of the city’s fashion quarter.

On 31st July 1960, Valentino met Giancarlo Giammetti, an architecture student, and thus began a business and personal partnership that lasts to this day. Giammetti came to the business just in time, as the associate had pulled out.

Two years later, Valentino’s first catwalk show was held at the Pitti Palace in Florence. The fashion world loved his couture designs, and he soon became the designer for the jetset. His customers included Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, as well as members of the aristocracy and royalty.

By 1967, Valentino was the top couturier in Italy, and was given theWhite, ivory and beige Neiman Marcus Award for his collection that was the polar opposite of the bright psychedelic colours that were around at the time. Known as the ‘no colour collection’, the clothes were in white, ivory and beige. The iconic ‘V’ trademark was first shown as part of this collection.

Valentino also designed Jackie Kennedy’s wedding dress in 1967 when she married Aristotle Onassis. Jackie O, as she then became known, had been a big fan of Valentino as well as a friend for several years. She had been photographed wearing several of his gowns during the first twelve months of mourning the assassination of her first husband, President John F Kennedy.

In 1969, Valentino opened his first ready-to-wear shops in Milan and Rome.

After the sixties

Valentino spent much of the 1970s in New York, where he opened another store and continued to dress the glitterati. Diana Vreeland, who was editor-in-chief of Vogue, was one of the many people from the worlds of fashion and art who spent time with him.

The 1980s saw him launch a childrenswear line, as well as one for younger adults.

In 1998, Valentino sold his company to Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali for £193,445,000. He continued as the designer, even after Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali sold the company to the luxury group Marzotto Apparel just four years later.

After announcing his retirement, Valentino presented his final ready-to-wear show during Paris Fashion Week. The show on 4th October 2007 for Spring/Summer 2008 featured models such as Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. These supermodels came out again to support Valentino at his final haute couture show in Paris on 23rd January 2008.

Even after retiring, he still worked on special commissions, including the bridal gown of Princess Madelaine of Sweden in June 2013.


In a career spanning over five decades, Valentino has proved to be one of the legendary names in fashion. It’s lovely to see from his quote at the top of this post that he enjoyed fashion from the 1960s so much.

If you’re a fan of Valentino and want to see much more, you can browse through his online virtual museum. Including pictures, feature articles and social media activity, it’s all in one spot!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please share it with your fellow fashion fans, or comment below.

(Sources – Valentino (fashion designer), Valentino biography, History of Valentino)

Jun 17

Plus size vintage inspired dresses for you!

(Affiliate Disclosure: To cover the costs of the site, I have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies whose clothes I really like. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission or credit if you decide to buy any of their items after clicking on the relevant link.)


This time, my online shopping eye is on plus size vintage inspired dresses that hark back to the 1960s. Even though being ‘plus size’ at the time (i.e. above a modern-day UK size 12) led to people having to wear unflattering clothes or make them themselves, happily this is no longer the case.

Inspired from the trend timeline, here are some ideas of the wonderful sixties-spiced stuff you can find that’s just your size. Ready? Let’s go!

(Please note that when I talk about ‘plus size’ here, I mean any item that’s available in at least a UK size 16. As far as possible, I’ve included images of plus-size models wearing the clothes. Also, I’m not going to tell you what will suit you and what won’t – these are just some cool clothes I’ve found!)

Keep it simple

This below-knee sleeveless black shift dress reminds me of the simple slender shapes that started to come in at the start of the sixties. This was in contrast to the full-skirted and slim-waisted shapes from the previous decade. For evenings in particular, this did the job!

Brown is the colour

Plus Size Back Zipper Pencil Dress With Sleeves

In the summer of 1962, brown clothes literally enjoyed their moment in the sun. Whether it was to wear during the day on the beach or at an evening party, chocolate shades were an elegant alternative to the little black dress popularised by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffanys. This here dress goes up to a UK size 26 and the brooch gives the feminine touch that was so in that year.

White out

By 1963, youth was very much on the agenda when it came to fashion. The increased buying power of young people, along with designers such as Mary Quant and Kiki Byrne, meant that fashion had to follow. Sleeveless white dresses like this empire-line one gave that fresh look. The bow above the natural waistline only serves to add to the childlike look.

Check it

Long Sleeve Plaid Mini Trapeze Dress

As the decade wore on, dresses and skirts became ever shorter. If you like monochrome but don’t feel quite brave enough to wear the dress below by itself, you can still get the look by wearing it with super-thick black or white tights or leggings. You can even try it with a pair of thigh-high flat boots!

On safari

I like this Adventure’s Doorstep Sheath Dress in 4X, which has just arrived at Modcloth. The pockets and belt in particular remind me very much of Yves Saint Laurent’s safari suit of 1967, which was famously modelled by Veruschka.

Maxing out

As the 1960s came to an end, the long lean look was in. Ankle-length hems came into fashion with a vengeance, along with more muted colours which Biba cornered the market on. Nodding to what was to come in the 1970s, this dress adds a beautiful boho touch for day or night.

Maxi High Waist Flower Print Dress


It’s been great to find so much choice in sixties-inspired dresses for those of you who are larger than average. As the thin boyish figure of models such as Twiggy became the ‘ideal’ by the middle of the decade, I thought that finding anything both influenced by the time and larger than a very small size would be a struggle. Happily not!

Whatever you decide to wear, from take inspiration from the fashion vibe of 1968 and do your own thing!

Please share this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it and/or if you know someone who would!

(Sources – 1960s Fashion, Retro Fashion History, Fashion in the 1960s)