#AtoZ 1968 – “Q” is for Mary Quant

“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Mary Quant

If you’ve watched “Mad Men,” you’re aware of how drastically women’s fashion changed through the decade. From bullet bras and girdles to hats and white gloves (even on the hottest summer days), women endured restrictive clothing because it’s what was expected. Mary Quant changed that, designing minis, baby dolls, and shiny boots from her King’s Road boutique in the Chelsea neighborhood of London.

As culture changed dramatically during the Sixties, Mary Quant understood. “It was the girls on King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter.'” She gave the miniskirt its name, after her favorite make of car, the Mini.

Quant 2

And it wasn’t just clothes – Mary Quant designed new boots. She created “paintbox” makeup palettes. All of this happened prior to 1968 (by 1966 there were plenty of mini-skirted women on King’s Road), but Mary Quant certainly was at her pinnacle in 1968.

A to Z badge 2

BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #19 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“Midnight Confession” by The Grass Roots

16 thoughts on “#AtoZ 1968 – “Q” is for Mary Quant

  1. I can’t speak personally on some of these fashions, but I’m always for comfortable clothes, and reading about history. BTW…..the 60’s may have gotten rid of bullet bras, but Madona did her best to bring them back!

  2. Thank goodness the days of restrictive clothing are over! Bullet bras sound perfectly horrifying! I’d heard the name of Mary Quant, but did not know anything else so, good to know.

  3. Hi Martha – I was in those minis – both sorts … but she certainly was an icon of the 60s and setting new tones for the youngsters who wanted to dress differently … interesting post – cheers Hilary

  4. Good for her. I thank my lucky stars I wasn’t around in the days of restrictive clothing. Even though I grew up in Europe, where there was a certain dress code, I was just a kid. Reading about the past, makes me appreciate SoCal’s easy going style. 🙂 Great post, Martha.

  5. Well, being so good about throwing stuff away or donating it, I actually had a Mary Quant dress that probably went to the Salvation Army. I have often thought about it and even though I could no longer wear it, I kinda wish it was still hanging around. That and my designer Rudi Gernreich scarf.

  6. I’ve never heard of Mary Quant but I sure know of her legacy.
    I often think of my Mom, to her dying day wore long-line bras, girdles that went down almost to her knees, and full-support panty-hose. She dressed like this as noted above, no matter the weather. Never wore slacks. I swore when I lost weight that I would never, ever again wear a girdle. And I haven’t. Thank you Mary.

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