How women in 1960 achieved The Look

To achieve the bouffant looking skirt, like this:


a girl would have to wear one or more of these:

or these:

However, it took something a bit more stringent for this look:

Sunback Sheath Dress – $7.98

or this one:

3 Piece suit – $22.98, Red Checked Beret – $2.98

One of these was required:


The bouffant look was the easiest to achieve – you just needed a really full half slip. More if you could. These slips were called crinolines or, as we called them in Oklahoma: Can-Cans.

They were sold in tubes and would expand like a rubber dinghy when removed.

One girl could fill a whole seat on the schoolbus if she’d really gone all out. A friend of my sister wore a cancan made by her mother which had used 12 yards of netting.

Slips were a lovely, feminine part of a lady’s wardrobe. Montgomery Ward’s 1960 Spring/Summer catalog featured 10 pages of all sorts of slips: half, full, lacy, utilitarian, and maternity in a wide range of colors.

Years ago I bought a very nice half slip with a wide border of lace, but alas, it became as tattered as a flag left out in the wind.

When I went back to Dillard’s to get a replacement – they had one style. One. And it was ugly.

I’m afraid modern women have been sold a bill of goods (taken for a ride; cheated; swindled) by fashion setters. It’s not easy to find feminine designs.

However, a Lady of the Night no longer needs a speciality store. She can get her work clothes anywhere.


Okay, on to the girdles.

Those slender skirts like Audrey Hepburn wore needed something more than just a slip underneath.

A “foundation garment” was used to slim those hips. Smooth out those bumps. Hold in that tummy.

That same MW catalog had 25 pages of girdles and slimming undergarments.



Filed under 1960, Antiques/Vintage, Clothing, Dresses (Including Formals), Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Montgomery Ward, Vintage catalogs

6 responses to “How women in 1960 achieved The Look

  1. Fran

    That was a time you didn’t care if someone got a glimpse of your
    can can. How her mom made 2 exactly alike can cans is a puzzle
    to me. Her dad was out of work some years from a back injuury.
    But make them she did. And they were priceless. Also she made
    the best home made cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted. She was
    a marvel and her twins always were exactly dressed alike.

    • I just loved those big skirts. So feminine.

      Even the East Central cheerleaders in your yearbooks from around this time period were long, full skirts.

  2. Janet Evans

    Oh boy, do I remember girdles! And those awful things that held the hose up (can’t remember what they’re called) dug into your legs and HURT! Remember when we were in junior high and high school and had to wear dresses and hose to school? And walk up and down 5 flights of stairs?? I’d like to kiss the person who invented pantyhose!

    • Garter belts?

      I wore panty hose until just a few years ago. Can you believe I’ve reverted?!

      Nothing makes me as mad as trying to fit into pantyhose. Even when they’re big enough around for me, they’re too short. It almost makes me see red.

      However, the truth is, I usually only wear them when dressing up in the winter. Here in Texas, I rarely wear anything but sandals in the summer.

      Closest thing to barefoot I can get away with.

      Thrilled you visited my blog, Janet!

  3. Joe

    Men do not comment on this subject.

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