“Fashion in 1962 was notable for the wide untie of color, silhouette, and fabric presented by American designers. For every type, from the avantgarde to the ultrafashionable, a new free movement and femininity were expressed.
Consciousness of the figure was noticeable; clothes were molded and frankly clinging. Spring ushered in a little-girl look that was daringly provocative. Waists were tiny, sleeves long and tight, hiplines curved, and necklines plunging. Waistlines, the main theme in all collections, were high and gentle, sashed lightly, or cinched with wide hilts jackets were short and clipped, while skirts whirled beneath in full circles, extravagantly gathered or gored to near circles, minimizing the center the figure. Deep cowl necklines, ruffled edges, fringes, and welt seamings were also featured.
By fall, three silhouettes emerged: a skinned-down, sleek, and tailored look; a bloused and mapped look; and a new natural outline, achieved by a bias cut. Bloused or unbelted, the bias cut looked soft and ample, often constructed in an “A” line. Skirts were of every shape—slim, gathered, paneled, pleated, gored, flared, draped, circular, ad yoked—and were even worn over other skirts. :rarest was on the silhouette, with little trim ex-apt fur, self-detail, and braid. Lines were clean, although cut was sometimes complex. The dolman sleeve of spring was replaced by tailored or peaked set-in sleeves. Coats and jackets had tight, rather squared backs, with a fitted line at e front.
. Like silhouette, color was feminine and mellow. Sugary pinks, salad greens, yellows, and candy colors were popular. For daytime wear, mellow neutrals were worn with flashes of blue, from marine to ice. Red, white, and blue punctuated combinations for morning, afternoon, and evening wear. Prints appeared predominantly in bold black and white and in tones of green. Silk prints appeared throughout the year, in “pretty” rather than bizarre designs. Resist prints were :Also popular. Black, particularly in silk, returned as the loading basic. Fall prints were rich, vivid, and strange; Picasso blurs and greens, rids and oranges, odd browns, and black and white appeared in every fabric and most types of costume. Cashmere wool colors were bright, and spring and summer colors tinted winter-weight town-and-country clothes, Prominent were such out-of-season colors as pale green, sky blur, white, oyster, cream, dandelion yellow, and peppermint pink.
Fabrics. —American designers used fabric in new, exciting, and extravagant ways. Materials ranged from flat formal surfaces to lush piled yarns in a wild array of colors and patterns. Coats and suits for spring featured nubby textures, along with a variety of smooth-faced wools. Silk and wool Alaskine, usually a dressy fabric, was a daytime favorite. Four-ply black silk became as basic as black crepe or sheer wool for round-the-clock wear. The use of two patterns in one ensemble was featured in many collections; plaids were shown with prints and polka dots with stripes. The same pattern was often superimposed on printed silk chiffon over printed silk.
Cotton, wool, and synthetic knits, both domestic and imported, were available in every fashion category and price range. Synthetic stretch fabrics portended a new era in knit dresses and sportswear. Fall flannels and printed wools entered a growing circle of evening fabrics, designed in short and long lengths in evening and cocktail dresses, coats, and suits. A bulky look, light as air, flourished the year round, in mohairs, tweeds, brushed wools, boucles, and puffy silk matelasse. Wide-ribbed silk ottomans, ribbonzine lace, fringed silk faille, ribbon knits, rich embroideries, and many other fabrics created surface values that became more important than texture. Velvet made a strong comeback in fall. Thick, lacy mohair appeared in bare top dresses. Brocades, satins, and metallic knit clothes, luminous rather than shiny, were often dramatically combined with tweed or flannel. Plaids, checks, paisleys, and myriad gigantic flowers created the most patterned fall and winter fashions in years.
Sportswear—In 1962, sportswear attained new influence and diversity. A new fashion category was at-home clothes, from lounging garments to extravagant boutique separates. The two-piece look of skirt and top flourished in both casual clothes and evening wear. Even sweaters were appropriate for evening dress when combined with long, luxurious skirts. Shirts were designed in lush, evening fabrics, as were slacks. Suede was used in every kind of coordinate, and stretch slacks and tops made their appearance in moderate priced markets. The short-short decreased in popularity, as the Jamaica length became popular. The bikini bathing suit was more popular than ever before, as was the one-piece bathing suit.
Accessories. In 1962, accessories were as colorful as other apparel. This was especially true of shoes. The trend started in spring with a complete range of rainbow colors in patent, kid, suede, and fabric. Fall shoes featured lizard and snake skins in every color, including gold and silver. Heels were generally low and stacked, although the tiny slim heel of the previous year was still seen. There was a bare look in many shoes, with sides and backs exposed, and there was a new rounded shape to the toe. Boots, from knee to ankle length, made fashion news. Most were lined for warmth, and many were fitted and heeled like a shoe. In bright red, shiny black, or white, and in fur, zebra, pony, and lizard, they were as colorful as shoes.
Gloves tended most often to be in six- or eight-button lengths. Bags were diminutive, as compared with previous seasons, and more compact and trim. Colorful snake and lizard bags were designed to match shoes. Tapestry prints and bright colored kid were available at every price.”
Compiled from period encyclopedias, yearbooks and catalogs subject to fair use or public domain. My own edited versions of public domain material including edited images are protected by copyright.