A Week in Decades: A 21st Century Girl Takes on Trends (Part II)

In the second part of her article on 20th century fashion trends, Kait Shaw-Kelly tackles the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 


The 1960s meant fashion rebellion. Moving onwards from the war and rebelling against the prim and proper style of the 50s, teenagers especially wanted change. While dresses became shorter and hair became bigger, the miniskirt (thanks to Mary Quant) covered every other magazine page or advert. Eye makeup changed from soft and classic to monochrome and bold, with an increased focus on thicker eyelashes and wide eyes. Frosty pink lips came into fashion, while red dropped in popularity. In many ways, it reflected the 1920s flapper revolution – Kennedy moved out, and Bardot moved in.

For my look, I chose to echo the ‘babydoll’ style that many teens and young adults adopted. Often short, colourful and lined with bright piping, dresses like these stood out as iconic fashion. I paired a navy and white dress with bumped-up hair, monochrome eyes and pink lips, keeping my curls slightly messy.




In the 70s, extreme and bright colours were in high demand. The 60s smoothly transitioned into even more outrageous clothing, with long trousers and flowing shirts being especially popular. Flares exploded onto the scene and became increasingly larger as the years went on,

while jeans finally became a common-place article of clothing for women to wear around the home and in daily life. Platforms, suede and fringing dominated the fashion scene, and common hairstyles yet again changed. Long gone were the long curls from the 40s-50s, and instead arrived perfectly flicked waves and stylishly volumated hair. Makeup became more experimental, too, with an increased individuality in the everyday young person’s style.

Inspired by one of my idols, David Bowie, I put together a flamboyant look. Complete with electric blue makeup, light pink lips and flicked out waves, this pink dress features huge 70s style sleeves and a relaxed, flowing fit.


For my last outfit, it had to be a good one. The 80s have always been a huge fashion inspiration to me, and I love the relaxed feel of the clothes. Not only did people express themselves, but youngsters really stepped up and owned their own niche way of dressing. It was both the punk and the power-dresser era, and icons such as Madonna shaped the way we still dress today. Perms were a hairstyle must, and baggy jeans became a staple for casual wear. The expansion of TV meant channels such as MTV inspired people to dress like their favourite artists, meaning that the 80s was a wonderful meshing of trends as opposed to one or two defintive looks. Disposable income was also increasing, so the swapping in and out of trends became easier for people to achieve. Much like today, trends went in and out monthly and the best new thing was often sought after.

For my look, I recreated a relaxed casual look. Featuring ‘mom’ jeans and a simple white tee, I paired this outfit with a baggy leather jacket, sneakers and the famous frizzy 80s high ponytail for good measure. To top it off, I went with magazine inspired purple and pink eyeshadow, blending the colours together to create a gradient. 

To conclude, wearing seven decades of fashion in seven days was a highly valuable experience – not only did I get to indulge my own fashion dreams, but I also gained a much wider historical understanding of clothing changes through the years. Learning why the youth of the 1960s dressed so differently from their parents, or how one designer dress could fuel millions of individuals to adopt a particular style, made me appreciate how deeply embedded our clothing is in history and society. Not only do we have designers and celebrities to thank for beautiful looks, but also ordinary people – fashion can be a roots up or roots down movement, and whichever way it turns it is guaranteed to be brilliant. So, my advice? Give it a try, and you’ll soon be inspired yourself.