Fashion Through The Decades

To celebrate Chadstone’s milestone 60th anniversary, we explore six decades of women’s style. From the 1960s to 2010s, The Fashion Capital travels through the ever evolving world of fashion.

60s: Mod Squad

There’s something about the ‘60s. It doesn’t matter how far away we get from the decade that gave us The Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, and Mary Quant miniskirts—we just keep coming back for more. Perhaps it's because of the period’s historical significance. Women were taking the first steps toward social and cultural liberation and designers were crafting clothing that reflected the new mood. Hemlines got shorter (supermodel Jean Shrimpton practically brought the 1965 Melbourne Cup to a standstill by wearing a dress cut centimetres above the knee), colour burst onto the scene, and as manufacturing became easier, access to fashion became more democratised—anyone could be a style icon.

Channelling the offbeat sophistication of the ‘60s—particularly the ubiquitous ‘Mod’ look—in 2021 is easier than you think, the key is accessorising. Pair oversized round sunglasses with a silk head scarf, or partner bright white Gogo boots with leather gloves. When it comes to ready-to-wear, embrace Twiggy-esque colour blocking with shades of strawberry pink and buttercup yellow. Take a silk blouse by sass + bide in the former shade and a fitted, A-line dress by Sandro in the latter, pop on a dramatic drop earring, and bright-white accessories and you’re good to go.

Shop Julia’s Look
Dress: Sandro
Blouse: Sass & Bide
Bag: By Far from INCU
Sunglasses: Miu Miu from Sunglass Hut
Earrings: Seed
Shoes: Furla
Stockings: Voodoo

70s: Flower Child

As the decade ticked over from the ‘60s to the ‘70s, Vogue famously proclaimed that “There are no rules in the fashion game now”. This wasn’t completely true, of course. The best dressers of the era — Anjelica Huston, Diana Ross, and Bianca Jagger among them — may have pioneered a bold new look, but they also adhered to the principles that good style has always been predicated upon. Their clothes were well-proportioned, tailored immaculately, and accessorised to perfection.

Recreating the sensibility of the ‘70s in 2021 goes far beyond adopting flares and Penny Lane coats. The earthy palette of that era is one of its most enduring aspects: camel on rust on tan looks as chic now as it did in its ‘72 heyday. The trick is to play with texture: pair a brown leather mid-length skirt by Sass & Bide with tan suede knee-skimming boots by Witchery, and finish it off with a body-hugging ribbed knit by Sandro. As for accessories, you’d be hard-pressed to find something more versatile than Furla’s oxblood-hued leather crossbody, while Farrah Fawcett-style sunglasses by Miu Miu at Sunglass Hut offer serious ‘70s revival without the costume-factor.

Shop Cassie’s Look
Jackets and boots: Witchery
Top: Sandro
Skirt: Sass & Bide
Sunglasses: Miu Miu from Sunglass Hut
Earrings and ring: Lovisa
Bag: Furla

80s: Power Player

The ‘80s saw the rise of counter-cultural fashion movements like the anarchic punk look and the campy opulence of the New Romantics, but the decade’s greatest style legacy is the rise of power dressing. It was the era where women moved into positions of corporate power (cue: Frank Sinatra’s dulcet tones in the opening scenes of Wall Street), and they needed the wardrobe to match. Enter stage right: slick, high-fashion suiting.

The look was immortalised by the cast of Dynasty, where dramatic shoulders, statement lapels, and oversized hats were in abundance, but we’d recommend taking inspiration from less OTT style stars of the era, like Demi Moore, Princess Diana, and — of course — Kylie Minogue. In 2021, you can channel the spirit of the ‘80s with a bright-hued power blazer by Portmans. Add a feminine white silk blouse and loosely tailored trousers (also by Portmans) and a top-handle tote by Furla to further modernize the ensemble. Then, finish it all off with lashings of jewellery from Lovisa, and square-shaped shades from Gentle Monster at INCU. Acceptable in the ‘80s, acceptable in the ‘20s.

Shop Peggy’s Look
Jacket, blouse and pants: Portmans
Sunglasses: Gentle Monster from INCU
Earrings: Witchery
Bag: Furla
Shoes: Country Road

90s: Check Mate

Is there a more iconic fashion film than the 1995 cult classic Clueless? Immortalised in lines like ‘You don’t understand, this is an Alaïa!’ and ‘Do you prefer fashion victim, or ensemble-y challenged?’, the sartorial exploits of Cher Horowitz continue to tantalise us 26 years on. The film bucked against the typical fashion of the era, which was dominated by the plaid and slip dress-heavy grunge look, best exemplified by Kate Moss and Kurt Cobain and, closer to home, Michael Hutchence and Emma Balfour.

Instead, with its abundance of plaid skirt suits, fabulous hats, and brightly coloured shrunken cardigans, Clueless embraced clothing that didn’t take itself too seriously. Iconic Australian brands like MIMCO — which launched the following year, in 1996 — followed Clueless’ lead with an irreverent, quirk-filled approach to accessorising that quickly captured the entire Country’s attention. It was a style that would later be adopted by the likes of The Spice Girls and would ultimately pave the way for the brash and unapologetic logomania of the Noughties.

This season, Sandro’s super-chic checked skirt suit and cardigan set is Cher cosplay done right. Pair yours with Jo Mercer heels (extra points if you add knee-high white socks), then top the look off with a sweet Zara beret and Lovisa hair slides.

Shop Mauve’s Look
Jackets, skirt, top and cardigan: Sandro
Sunglasses: Prada from Sunglass Hut
Shoes: Jo Mercer
Chockers and hair clips: Lovisa
Bag: Maje
Beret: Zara

00s: More is More

The turn of the millennium saw the fashion industry loosen up—everything became freer, more relaxed, and a little bit more fun - think Juicy Couture velour tracksuits, low-rise jeans and Von Dutch trucker hats. But there was also much more experimentation, an abandonment of old-fashioned ‘style rules’, and welcome bursts of colour, print, and texture.

Sass & bide were the reigning masters of Australian fashion in this era, and they continue to charm us to this day. To channel the no holds barred spirit of the Noughties today, layer one of their beautifully printed corsets over a crisp white shirt (Witchery is always a safe bet), and add cherry red tailored trousers by Portmans. Classic, neutral accessories will add another layer of polish, think oxblood mules from Wittner, and on-trend square shaped sunglasses from Prada at Sunglass Hut. More, is more, is more.

Shop Ella’s Look
Jacket: Portmans
Shirt: Witchery
Bodice: Sass & Bide
Pants: Zara
Bag: Furla
Shoes: Wittner
Sunglasses: Prada from Sunglass Hut

10s: Set The tone

It’s impossible to talk about the last decade of fashion without mentioning the rise of layered, tonal dressing. It’s the kind of aspirational minimalism that has recently been embraced by everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kendall Jenner to Scandinavian Instagram starlets and the enigmatic Olsen twins. Despite common misconceptions, tonal dressing has more variety than one would originally think: it’s all about experimenting with textures, proportions, and blending masculine and feminine silhouettes.

Few outfits will equip you better for the temperamental Melbourne winter like a head-to-toe neutral ensemble. Opt for wide-leg loose-fitting pants in a chic shade of marble, then layer an open button-up shirt over a crisp white top, and a billowy trench, reaching for contrasting shades of rich chocolate (our current pick? Viktoria & Woods). Finish up with a slouchy boho bag by Oroton, pointed toe boots by Zara, and rectangular shades by Prada at Sunglass Hut. Mary Kate and Ashley, eat your heart out.

Shop Kirstie’s Look
Trench: Saba
Top, shirt and pants: Viktoria & Woods
Sunglasses: Prada from Sunglass Hut
Earrings: Mimco
Shoes: Zara
Bag: Oroton

Shop The Timeless Looks

Styled by our very own Chadstone Stylist, Meggy Smith. Book in a Personal Styling session to perfect your look with a guided shopping experience inspired by the decades.

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