How Sheffield families were big and the budgets small in the 60s and 70s

Fashion has always been a thing ever since cavemen in loincloths realised they could enhance their look by tying a bone on a leather twine around their neck, or the use of colouring on their skin.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:56 pm

Every year, decade, and century since, people have been trying to enhance their look or status by the way they dress or look.

The royals for decades have been great trendsetters with either a hair style – Princess Diana springs to mind – a ruff or even a colour preference.

Queen Victoria started the tradition of wearing black, while in mourning the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861 – she wore black until she passed away.

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1970s children's platform shoes

Ever since then many have worn black to funerals, while in mourning, or as a sign of respect.

Although I have noticed a shift towards brighter, more vibrant colours in more recent years.

Every generation probably believes their era was the best dressed, and most stylish.

In the 20th century fashions also would be dictated by movie stars, actors, musicians and pop stars.

Norfolk Street, Sheffield, 1971, with 20 year old Maxine Williamson of Dronfield, secretary to the publicity officer Sheffield, adding the modern touch

I’m a child of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties and believe I grew up in the greatest era of fashion and music, correct me if I’m wrong.

Each decade brings its own claim to fame. The Sixties was a fantastic time for music, the Beatles, Rolling stones, Led Zeppelin to name a few, as well as Motown Records in America.

In fashion, there was the miniskirt – seen as part of the sexual revolution along with the women’s liberation movement and contraceptive pill.

The Seventies were an interesting time for me both in music and fashion.

I remember in the Sixties and Seventies where families were big, and budgets small, my mum made all manner of clothing.

She would knit beautiful Aran sweaters which itched terribly, I would look in disbelief at the people it didn’t affect, especially on bare skin.

I remember the paper patterns being pinned onto material and elaborate dresses made for my sisters, she even made church suits for myself and my brothers.

Mothers in those days had to be industrious and display or learn skills rarely seen, or needed in today’s throwaway society.

I think I was lucky to grow up in an era where designer clothes were either seen on the red carpet or catwalk, and the person making your clothes had their name firmly kept on the inside of the garment.

I never had to worry whether I had the right designer, because I always did – my mum.

Outrageous clothes were never far away in the Seventies. Many strived to wear platform shoes, flared trousers and high waist banded trousers, with large pockets on the sides.

I remember getting my first pair of platforms – bright red with black piping. I absolutely loved them along with flared trousers which actually covered the shoes entirely.

My love of my platforms came to an abrupt end when I badly twisted my ankle while chasing a friend in the school yard, never wore them again.

Flares and platforms disappeared with the emergence of punk rock in the Seventies.

The Eighties brought the New Romantics with bands like Sheffield’s Human league and another change in outrageous fashions.