Penn State has declared the theme for tomorrow’s game against Syracuse “Classic Day” and is encouraging everyone in the stands to wear their 1960’s clothes to the game. Well, that sounds like fun, but I have to ask, “What 1960’s clothes?” After all, the 1960’s ended 39 years ago.
If you are even old enough to have lived in the 1960's you would have to have quite a closet to hoard clothes that are that old. The oldest piece of clothing I have in my closet is a 1986 Boston Red Sox T-shirt commemorating their American League Championship and an ill-fated World Series run against the New York Mets. Although there may be some older T-shirts tucked away in my basement from my social activist days in the 1970's.
But of course, that’s the point. From a marketing perspective, theme days are a great way to spur people to buy more Penn State licensed clothes. If you’re not a hoarder and can’t figure out what to wear, you can go to any retailer locally and buy a new, tie-dyed, officially licensed Penn State T-shirt to fit in with the 1960’s theme. And while you’re preparing for Classic Day, you may as well buy your Penn State licensed “favorite jersey” because next week’s game against Temple has been declared “Favorite Jersey” day.
But what if you’ve already got more Penn State clothes in your closet than you can possibly wear in a season, or you are just being a little more careful with your money this year and are focusing on needs, rather than wants, in this rough economy?
There are probably plenty of clothes in your closet that will fit the bill for “Classic Day”. For “Favorite Jersey” day, a simple white T-shirt and a black Sharpie pen to write your favorite number on it will do the trick.
The 1960’s focus seems to be on tie-dye shirts, at least among my students. The Woodstock phenomenon seems to come to mind when people think of the 1960’s, but Woodstock occurred in August of 1969, at the very end of the decade. As for myself, I was a teenager in the 1960’s and subject to high school dress codes and my mother’s stern approval of what I wore. I entered college in the fall of 1969. Tie-dye shirts for me came in the 1970’s.
I also overheard a fan at last week’s game say, “In the 1960’s we dressed up for games.” That got me curious - what were we really wearing in the 1960’s?
I asked some of my old friends on Facebook this week and looked at some 1960’s fashion shows on Youtube.
Twiggy was the famous model in those days, and she was extremely thin, some would call her anorexic, wearing the London-based “mod” look: white geometric design shifts. Jacqueline Kennedy of course had a strong influence. As did actresses like Audrey Hepburn. There were tent dresses, a-line skirts, very brightly colored and boldly printed dresses, and – how could we forget – vinyl dresses!
I remember paisley dresses and lots of plaid. Crochet vests that I made myself. Sleeveless shifts. Bell-bottom jeans. My Facebook friends remembered paisley tights that you wore with skirts or jumpers. Sweater sets and pleated skirts. Granny dresses. “Poor boy” striped shirts. Corduroy jumpers with turtlenecks. Stretch pants with stirrups matched with big shirts. Empire waist dresses and shirts. Mini-skirts with white “go-go” boots. My mother wouldn’t let me wear those!
As for hair? In the early to mid-1960’s we all followed Jackie Kennedy. Bouffant style teased hair. We rolled our hair in orange juice cans and slept on them to create that effect. Then we all had "flips" and bangs. Later in the 1960’s we flattened our long hair with irons. In junior high and high school heavy eye makeup was in.
For men, the “mod” look was white tailored shirts with thin ties. There was heavy influence by Italian designers, so the cut on suits was tight. But as the “psychedelic” era evolved there was also emulation of some female fashion trends: paisley shirts, bold print shirts, as well as cowboy shirts, bell-bottoms. The hippie era of course spawned t-shirts, jeans, and of course tie-dyes.
So for Classic Day, you can either adopt the “hippie/psychedelic” look or be, well, classic, even a little dressed up. I have a navy blue Penn State cardigan sweater set that easily could be from the 1960’s. I’ll add a 3-stranded pearl necklace that I inherited from my Mom, straight from the Jackie Kennedy era. And perhaps just to acknowledge the hippie era, I’ll wear my boot cut jeans, the closest thing I have to bell-bottoms.
I’ll save my spending on new Penn State clothes for the bowl trip!