Thank you for the thoughtful responses to the post I wrote about my personal style evolution last week. It’s clear to me that our clothing choices reflect much deeper truths about ourselves than we tend to assume. It’s a fascinating area of analysis and thinking intensely about it the last few weeks has helped me to visualise where I would like to take my style in the future.
When I think about who inspires me style-wise, there seem to be two camps. I have a few style bloggers I follow devotedly who’ve helped me to think about my own wardrobe in much more creative ways. But there is another group of women that have had a much deeper and lasting impact on what I like to wear and who inform my ideas about what I think is sexy, modern and glamorous.
My love for the fashion of the 60’s and 70’s is well documented. I think the 70’s tend to get a bad rap due to the profusion of polyester and leisure suits, but I adore the ease, glamour and sensuality of the era. Disco, Bill Blass, Yves St. Laurent, Diane von Furstenburg, Studio 54, Halston: jumpsuits, wrap dresses, fluid jersey, wide brimmed hats, platform sandals, warm brown leather. YES PLEASE. As for the 60’s, I adore the entire decade. Structured shifts, mod prints, bohemian freedom… It’s all there and it’s all good.
So it’s no surprise really that the women I consider personal style icons all come from this period of time. I get a little thrill whenever I see images of Joni Mitchell, Diana Ross or Gloria Steinem in all their free-to-be-me glory. All of these women embody my fashion virtues; insouciant glamour, confidence, sensuality, individuality, creativity. I don’t think it’s a surprise that I gravitate towards this era; I’ve been fascinated with it since I was a kid. I’ve read countless books about the political, artistic, cultural and social upheavals of the time. It was a time when traditional ideology was thrown out the window as we began to question class, gender roles, race, social constructs, “The Man”. It was the birth of mass feminism and a time when women could begin to discover who they were outside the rigid norms that had been levied against them for well, ever. The attendant celebration of personal expression resulted in a chaotic few decades of creativity and discovery that still looks fresh and modern to me today.
I’m not wearing rose coloured glasses and I try not to romanticise the past. I know that for all the so-called “freedom” there was a lot of ugliness just under the surface (the great joke on women known as “Free Love” being only one example). I could write countless words about what the fashion of the time meant and why it continues to be relevant and inspirational, but if an image says a thousand words, the pictures of these 9 women say it all.