|Vogue Knitting 1962|
So instead, I bought a few older issues of Vogue Knitting from the early 60s. They don't contain any patterns that I would want to knit, but I'm interested in how knitting has developed and changed - and on this evidence, the early 60s were not a good time to be a knitter. I think it's probably that high fashion at that time (as represented by Vogue) was unsympathetic to knitting - I'm sure that ordinary knitters like my mother carried on making the kind of clothes (jumpers, cardigans, pullovers, ...) that they always had. Although there are some casual sweaters, the majority of patterns for women in these issues are for dresses, coats, jackets, skirt suits, and similar smart ensembles. The knitting is unambitious and to me looks uninteresting - the skirts are invariably straight or very slightly flared and there is a lot of plain stocking stitch or other simple patterns. Any interesting detail, like the contrast trim on the dress in the photo, is often applied after the knitting is finished. The simplest skirts are just a cylindrical tube, with some narrowing at the top and an elasticated waist - boring to make and boring to wear. All these dresses and skirts are completely impractical too - they would stretch out of shape the instant you sat down in them. From looking at the photos, I can't help thinking that the ideal was to make something that didn't actually look knitted.
And then.... miniskirts, tights, skinny rib sweaters and all the rest of what we think of as Sixties fashion came along. Everything changed - mostly for the better. At least we were saved from having to look elegant.