Largely due to wool’s versatility and timeless appearance, both young and old fashion designers alike are keen to ‘re-invent’ fashion trends which incorporate wool and wool blend fabrics – and it’s easy to see why. Wool can be shaped, cut, dyed, tweaked and dipped to create any number of fashion statements, from the cool and effortlessly stylish shawl to the fun 80’s snug snood (remember them?). Here we take a look at some of the most widely recognised woollen fashion statements carefully crafted over the last 50 years – and ask a very important question – are these trends hot or not?
The 1950’s Tweed Suit
In the 1940’s and 1950’s, wool was widely used to make everyday clothing. In fact, knitting featured prominently in everyday domestic life and wool was viewed as an essential material for the construction of new outfits. It is little wonder that fashion designers ‘cottoned on’ to this and began creating fashionable items using wool and wool based materials. Many women living during the war and post war era had an expensive looking (although distinctly un-pricey) tweed suit in their wardrobe and they pretty much all managed to look super stylish despite rationing and air raids – remarkable.
1960’s Wool Cardigans The 60’s ushered in an exciting new era for fashion designers, such was the abundance of materials to choose from. Still, wool remained a firm favourite and most women (and men) had a stylish and comfortable wool cardigan hanging somewhere in the house. The beauty of the simple wool cardigan was exactly the same then as it is now – a truly versatile wardrobe addition that looked great with jeans or skirts and could be dressed up or down according to accessories. Of course, if your figure in the 60’s was Twiggy-esque in shape, you might have worn a complete crochet-cardigan ensemble (see below). We suspect that the female figure hasn’t changed that much, however, and most women probably stuck to teaming their smart looking wool cardigan with a flattering skirt and some killer heels.
That 70’s Look Ah, the crochet waistcoat. The definitive wool fashion statement of the 70’s. Is it too dramatic to say that no 1970’s wardrobe was complete without one? Possibly – but the proliferation of woollen waistcoats currently available in Vintage clothing shops suggests not! Love them or hate them, crochet waistcoats were deemed one of the most fashionable items any woman could own and their (usually) colourful patterns meant they looked VERY 70’s when teamed with other colourful clothes – (apparently mustard and maroon were popular back in the day?). We think the crochet waistcoat looks awesome when teamed with jeans and wedge heels and we are (not very secretly) hoping for a 70’s wool crochet revival! 1980’s – Power Dressing in a Snood? There was a time in the 80’s when everyone was wearing ‘snood’s’ – or ‘oversized hoods’ as they are more commonly known. These woollen scarf-like-hood-like creations were exceptionally useful in the winter because, as you can probably gather, they were extremely warm and although they usually came in one size/shape/style; they could accommodate a variety of different patterns. Naturally, women everywhere were happy to be both warm and stylish in winter and the snood stayed popular, looking particularly striking paired with Dynasty inspired shoulder pads. Then the era of fashion overstatement ended and the elegant 90’s took over, meaning women everywhere were resigned to wearing plain, boring scarves and tops without a hint of a shoulder pad in site – yet again. Luckily, 80’s fashion has enjoyed a revival of late and we were delighted to see big, bright woollen snoods back on the rails in the high street last winter. Long live the 80’s! These days, wool is still used by fashion designers the world over to create pioneering and beautiful clothing. There are wool fashion shows, dedicated wool magazines, various websites and of course an army of talented knitters in the UK who can attest to the enduring influence of such an elegantly natural material. We hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about past ‘woolly’ fashion trends and we encourage everyone to explore our site for more information about wool. Why not stop by our forum and introduce yourself to a lively community of wool enthusiasts? You never know, you might meet someone who can knit an actual authentic 1980’s snood! Now, where did we put those shoulder pads…?