Simple and stunning: ’60s skirts & dresses from the 1968 Wards catalog

1968 - Dresses and fashion for women

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’60s styles for women flatter the figure

The lady has a figure. And fashions for casual wear this spring are designed to enhance it.

The accent is on the waistline, whether her outfit is in what one leading designer calls the new waistline silhouette, or an older shift silhouette.

The new waistline silhouette can be achieved with either a shirt and skirt combination or waisted dress.

1968 - Dresses and fashion for women

Skirts & dresses from the 1968 Wards catalog & beyond

One national fashion magazine boldly proclaims 1968 the year of the shirt and skirt. And it declares the dirndl the “super-skirt.”

Found in a variety of fabrics colors and patterns, the dirndl skirt is appropriate for work or play. Muted shades and glen plaids are particularly popular in blends that give a linen look.

Gently gathered at the waistline, one dirndl in gray rayon-silk blended fabric is topped with a blue and black tattersall shirt of cotton oxford cloth. The waistline is accented with a belt, ever-present this year. Add smoke gray hose and stacked heels, and off to work she goes.

For variety, pleated, flared and A-line skirts are still popular with the emphasis remaining on the waistline. Belts and cummerbunds are added to achieve the 1968 look.

One A-line with front panels is of sandstone-hued Kodel-cotton tent cloth. The panels are outlined in black stitching. The skirt is ring-belted in panels black patent. A long-sleeved fitted blouse of black rayon-linen tops the skirt.

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Simple and stunning: Skirts & dresses from the 1968 Wards catalog

Click on any image below to see larger catalog pages, and to start the slideshow!

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Fashionable ’60s shirts and skirts

The battle of the shirt is between the mannish “body shirt” and the romantic “sissy” shirt.

While fitted shirts tend to dominate leading fashion magazines, the ruffle-fronted sissy seems to be more popular in Southern Illinois. One Carbondale store reports a sell-out on the ruffly blouses and over-stock of the fitted styles.

Either can be worn with the new dirndl skirts. Milady’s choice will be determined by the image die wants to project — a Bonnie Parker of the 30s or a Meg out of “Little Women.”

Long sleeves and cuffs are seen on both styles. Sleeves are fuller, cuffs more prominent. Necklines tend to be high. Open neckline body shirts are generally worn with a scarf or ascot.

One white body shirt of Moygashel Irish linen has a tucked front and large collar. It is shown with a suit of long narrow vest and dirndl skirt. A wide leather belt cinches the waistline.

For the look of the first, add a silk paisley scarf-tie with jade and gold tiepin, leather “mail pouch” shoulder purse and Bonnie Parker beret.

For the dreamy-eyed romantic, there’s a full, tucked white sissy of Dacron and cotton with ruffles spilling down the front.

Combine it with a cinch-waisted skirt, wide soft cummerbund and a big hair bow, and the lady of 1968 gives the illusion of a Meg or Scarlet O’Hara.

The new waistline silhouette is also achieved with a waisted dress. Some harken back to the shirtwaist of the mid-1950s.

They follow the shirtwaist’s general lines of fitted bodice and gathered skirt. But the details are à la spring 1968.

The skirt is less full than previously, now more like a dirndl. And the belt is wide aw boldly buckled. Sleeves are long and full with prominent cuffs, even for spring.

The year of the daisy spills onto the shirtwaist in one dacron polyester and acetate blend of white daisies on a blue background. The placketed bodice is fitted and features long, loose sleeves with large cuffs, a wide collar and open neckline. The skirt is gently gathered and the waistline accented with a soft, wide white leather belt.

Other shirtwaists feature the ruffled bodice and skirt. Variations include the ever-popular A-line, pleated or straight styled ones.

Shifts and other dresses

One of the most popular looks in the shirt dress is the shift silhouette. With the overall fashion emphasis on the waistline and figure, the shift is often gently molded, especially in knits, or loosely belted at the waist, hips or empire levels.

Sun shirt dresses are found in two styles. One is to make the dress a solid color fabric and the collar, cuffs and placket a solid contrasting color. The other is to use a striped fabric and trim the shift in white.

One shirt shift is of hand-woven ancient Irish cries cloth in brilliant stripes. White cuffs, collar and placket are added for the shirt effect, and a glacial detail of white Irish crochet buttons completes the dress.

Many shirt shifts especially popular on campus look like a man’s shirt stretched. Found in solid colors and pinstripes and made of cotton oxford cloth. they have long sleeves, ivy-league collars and plackets extending below the waistline. A variation on these turns the skirt into a culotte.

Though the emphasis is on the waistline, the skimmer is still a popular style this spring. They are found in a variety of fabrics with knits leading the list. Belting makes the skimmer true 1968 fashion.

On the skimmer, a belt may it loosely at the waistline or hips or under the bustline. It may not belt anything but simply be a detail of the front or back.

A dress of Dacron polyester and acetate blend in shades of green stripes features long cuffed sleeves and front belt detail. Attached at the sides, the belt ties loosely under the bustlines, giving an empire effect.

Red and navy on white stripes are a combination right for all of 1968, especially if they’re on a knit skimmer belted at the hips with a chain of gold circles. like an extended polo shirt.

The unbelted skimmer is also still popular. A little white one in Irish fisherman’s knit has extended shoulders to disguise the sleevelessness, and a ribbed turtleneck.

Waistlines and belts, collars and cuffs, ruffles and plackets — these are the by-words for spring 1968 casual fashions.

– From The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Illinois) – Sunday, March 24, 1968

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