1. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    What did women wear in Germany during the 1960s?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by blueshogun96, Jan 8, 2017.

    My current writing involves three countries during this era (1960s; 1966 mostly to be precise), United States, Germany and Spain. The two main protagonists are from the US and Spain, and they eventually meet for the first time in Germany. In one scene, I try to describe what she is wearing. But I'm not sure what they typically wore back then. So I did a bit of guess work. I know that Adidas shoes were originally from Germany and did exist around that time, so I came up with a line along these lines:

    "He notices that she's wearing some adidas sneakers, some cream coloured slacks and a black turtle neck along with the bowler she often wore on her head."

    But once again, don't know exactly how accurate this may sound. I tried googling this, but didn't find anything concrete. Everything that I did find so far was mostly specific to the US. The bowler hat she does wear (see my avatar) but what I did write seems to be more of a US thing. Any ideas? Thanks.

    Shogun
     
  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    So, I have just asked a contact (this information covers girls in Germany and Austria during that time):

    Basically it boils down to that girls were getting more daring (read: mini-skirts). 18yrs would wear them, 16yrs when they could get away with it. Petticoats were in fashion. There was a famous model during that time 'Twiggy' (google her).

    If a girl was serious about a boy, they'd wear coat and skirts to dates but never trousers. If a woman didn't have large breasts, they were starting to push them up ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  3. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    Very interesting. Thank you for the response! :)

    Personally, I am having a hard time imagining this character as the traditional lady like type (in terms of appearance), but instead more of the tomboyish type. Not sure if that was common or even acceptable in that era though.

    Fortunately for me though, this is not a romance novel, so the last bit I won't have to worry about. Still good to know either way.

    Thank you once again! ;)

    Shogun
     
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  4. JLT
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    JLT Contributing Member

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    I grew up in Germany in the sixties, and I remember most of the young adult women wearing mid-to-calf length skirts with slips, knee-length stockings, and leather shoes as their everyday wear. Very few wore slacks (and, I must point out, nobody wore blue jeans ... not even the Americans). I don't remember any of them wearing sneakers as casual footwear, only for athletic events. For head covering, they typically wore scarves or soft beret-like hats.

    I didn't get to examine the women's underwear market as much as I would have liked to, but I remember that some sort of soft top, something between a soft bra and an undershirt, made of a stretch cotton-type material, was available for women who were less well endowed, along with brassieres pretty much identical to those on the American market.

    Of course, if you're painting her as a non-conformist, arty sort of woman, she'd probably be copying the latest trends from France and England, in which case you can probably find plenty of examples by Googling "Carnaby Street" or the zillions of pictures of Beatles fans. As you've described her, she would probably fit into that category.

    A valuable research tool is to find clothing catalogs from that era ... the kind that major department stores might have put out. The big store in Frankfurt was the Kaufhof, but there were others as well, and their catalogs might be found on-line.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Would she be part of the hippie/beatnik subculture? If so, I'd think jeans would be a possibility (bell bottoms!)

    The Beatles spent quite a bit of time in Germany in the 60s, so possibly you could get some images from those events and see what the women were wearing? Like:

    Astrid and co. (probably too image conscious for your character?)

    Excited fans, some trousers showing

    I think trousers on the left... and maybe shorts in the middle?!?
     
  6. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's East Germany we're talking about, then they probably wore straitjackets.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it's important to know which part of the two Germanies you have in mind. I would expect some substantial differences.

    I do suspect that wearing sports shoes for an everyday occasion would be a pretty severe level of fashion rebellion, in that era.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's East Germany, an American and a Spaniard wouldn't be meeting there...unless they were spies!

    1/ Hippies really got going in 1967, so 1966 is a bit early for them.

    2/ The Beatles made their name in Hamburg and Liverpool between 1960 & 1963; by 1966 they were conquering the world, so not Germany-specific.

    To the OP, can't say for Germany, but pop culture was pretty prevalent throughout Europe... Los Bravos was a Spanish band with a German lead singer who had a UK no. 2 in 1966...so... mini-skirts (as short as you like) were pretty universal (even Queen Elizabeth was wearing them), flared trousers (they were referred to as flared, and not bell-bottoms; bell-bottoms are flared from the top of the thigh and were peculiar to sailors at the time, flares were from around the knee) were commonplace, and as tight as your figure would allow. Shirts were patterned; floral, or "psychedelic" (bright colours, random patterns). Specifically, in 1966, an avant-garde woman might discard her bra.
     
  9. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    It would depend on their class and age. Laborers probably wore slacks, where the middle and upper class wore more extravagant things. They would have looked very similar to what Americans wore because after the war we had a huge amount of economic and social influence. When I google "west German woman 1965," they look just like Americans from the same time.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that slacks for women would be an issue in situations of any formality, such as the workplace, church, many restaurants, and so on.
     
  11. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    Sorry for the late reply. I've been heavily distracted lately...

    If you grew up in Germany during the sixties, then I will likely end up brainstorming several more questions to follow this one! Although it may be more appropriate to start a new thread for that purpose, but my biggest question(s) would undoubtedly be related to Circus Williams (ever been to one of their performances)? My avatar is a picture of one of their contortionists from 1966, and happens to be the Spaniard that I am writing about.

    Very few wearing slacks? Well, that's one thing to take note of. And the note on wearing sneakers daily is a new one to me also. I'll keep the slacks and change her footwear to something along the lines of leather but feminine boots. Honestly, I don't know if I could picture her as a Beetles fan as not only am I not a fan personally (not in a negative way), but nor do I even know any fans in my immediate circle.

    Took a quick google of Carnaby Street, but only found one wearing slacks (likely because I didn't look hard enough). Interesting no doubt. And never thought about looking at fashion catalogues of that era. I'll do a search for that in the near future.

    Since she's from Spain, I did feature her in one scene wearing a stylish Spanish jacket (similar to what bull fighters wear), with black slacks and black leather loafers. I'm just having a hard time picturing this one in a skirt or dress. Maybe a black skirt that's knee high, but other than that, I just can't somehow.

    Why do I keep conveniently forgetting about bell bottoms and the 1960s?

    The first link is a bit closer to what I was thinking. Not so much leather, but mostly black outfits.

    This story largely takes place in Hamburg to be specific, so it's definitely West Germany.

    In the story, she is a tad rebellious though. Since I didn't come from that era, I cannot imagine how rebellious that would be considered for that time period.

    Haha, spies. Yes, I don't imagine East Germany would make a proper setting here. Plus Circus Williams (under the name Spanish National Circus) to my knowledge did not tour in East Germany.

    Also a few great bits to consider. I think I'll consider these for my story, and maybe add in a reference to that Spanish band you have mentioned, but personally have never knowingly heard of. If they wore flared trousers, then I think that would fit her nicely.

    Would female labourers have worn slacks more often? Not entirely sure what a circus performer would be classed as, nor what their average salary was.

    This I can definitely imagine, unless she is a labourer or if the restaurant is not particularly a more formal styled one such as a burger joint or a sushi shop.

    Oooh, so many things to consider, and so many insights to learn from here! Thank you all for your responses, the insight is invaluable to my story for the sake of accuracy and precision.

    Shogun.
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, even if she works as a laborer, when she goes to a restaurant she'll be expected to follow the prevailing standard of dress. I think that it wouldn't be at all surprising for a woman in slacks to be denied entry to some restaurants--and not only extremely formal restaurants.

    Also, while I realize that you may have mentioned them just as an example of an ultra-casual environment, I'm not sure that Germany would have burger joints in that period, and I'm pretty near positive that they wouldn't have had sushi shops. (If they would, somebody tell me, because I would find that fascinating.) There would probably be a similar sort of low-service, casual, quick-food institution, but I don't know what it would be, and I don't know just how casual it would be.
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure if this is a regionalism or a time-ism, but it certainly isn't the case today - I've never heard of flares, Wikipedia backs up that that bell bottoms and flares are the same thing, etc.

    I wasn't alive in the 60s and I've never been to Germany, so possibly this distinction was valid then/there. Is that what you're referring to?
     
  15. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    Okay, I can understand such a concern there, as they would likely me much more strict about women's apparel as well as appearance since they might have wanted to maintain a certain level of class in particular restaurants, assuming they had an image to uphold. Even here, there are restaurants that require formal attire and men simply cannot sit by the window without a suit or sport coat (and no jeans obviously). And considering my upcoming scene where they go to Königsalle, some form of formal attire would seem most appropriate.

    I'm not actually referring to pixie boots, but something like these: (click here).

    [​IMG]

    I could probably see her wearing something similar to these, maybe a bit below the knee, with a thin black skirt with shorts underneath and a more feminine [Spanish] jacket.

    I also made the assumption that they were the same thing. The term flares is one that I am familiar with.

    Shogun.
     
  16. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can remember a young woman wearing something a little shorter than that (just below the knee) and being referred to as "Miss Kinky-Boots" (yes, sexism was alive and well in 1969!); in other words, her boots were very much the latest fashion...more avant-garde than most girls were wearing.

    Why would she wear shorts underneath a short skirt? It didn't happen.
     
  17. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    I did a quick google search for shorts underneath skirts and there appears to be a certain type of shorts ladies wear under skirts sometimes. Whether they wore them back then, I don't know, but in this day and age it does exist.

    Shogun.
     
  18. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes.

    Now, but not then. (Trust me, skirts were so short that you could tell...and I was a young man back then!)
     
  19. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    Ah, well, the skirt she'll be wearing won't be too short.

    Did any of the ladies wear capris back then with the skirt over it? The reason I've been trying to squeeze this in is because there's a scene where she gets drunk and passes out on one of the beds on his hotel. I want to make a convincing scene where she wakes up with a bad hangover, but knowing that she was not sexually assaulted nor were any of her clothes removed or altered (except her hat, which is simply placed on the coat rack). When I took the time to decide what she would be wearing, I did so with trying to find convincing ways to keep the male protagonist's integrity intact (and he doesn't drink).

    Shogun.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel like I'm missing something. I don't think that anyone is saying that she wouldn't be wearing underwear.

    Though maybe I'm mistaken.
     
  21. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    No, I don't think so either. But for the reason I stated, it just seems that panties alone would be too easy to circumvent. Maybe I'm trying too hard to make it seem as convincing and believable as possible.

    Shogun.
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that, yes, you're over-worrying about this issue.
     
  23. blueshogun96
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    blueshogun96 Member

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    Yeah, too great of attention to detail can drive you a bit insane when trying to cover every possible hole in the story. I personally can't help it.

    Shogun.
     
  24. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    No.

    Though this does remind me of The Avengers (1965-1968), where you could always tell when a fight scene was coming because Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) would be wearing a trouser suit, rather than her usual mini-skirt, in case all that energetic movement should give the viewer a flash of her knickers!
     

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