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Catrin James’ liking for sixties style is no fad – it’s an era which has fascinated her since she was a little girl. She’s also very specific about the era she’s interested in, since the years between ’66 and ’73 have influenced her taste in films, television programmes and her everyday style.
Since when have you been interested in sixties style?
I’ve been into clothes from the sixties since I was about 15 – and I’ve tried to keep that style throughout my life really. I was always trying to copy my mum from old pictures I saw of her during the sixties because as I was growing up in the eighties the clothes and the pastels were really ugly! I preferred colours like orange and purple, primary colours. I’ve kept the pictures of my mother from the sixties since I was little and I love them, just the colours, how simple the style was and everything. I remember thinking that’s how I wanted to look when I was older.
You’re talking about the sixties and seventies, but you’re more specific about the years than that, aren’t you?
Yes, I like the style between ’66 and ’73, and that goes for music and film too. One of my favourite actresses is Rita Tushingham, I was always looking at her films as I was growing up. Also the TV programmes during that time, things like ‘Please Sir’ – I absolutely love that programme and what they’re wearing, their hair and everything. When I was growing up those programmes were always on the telly and I though ‘right, that’s how I want to look!’
Describe the style of the era for me...
Cute little shoes with quite a chunky heel, lots of patent, simple with things like buckles, quite tight boots, polo necks, miniskirts, simple little dresses like shifts with a nice pattern on them, lot of wool. Simple things really.
You’ve got a lot of red here.
Yes, I really like red and I have a red coat. This is a lovely coat – because there aren’t any buttons on it and I haven’t been able to wear things with buttons on them since I was very little.
Have you kept your mother’s clothes?
Well I don’t fit into most of them. Women were much smaller then, weren’t they?
And what’s this problem you’ve got with buttons?!
I buy clothes with zips and just try not to look at clothes with buttons on them, I laught about it myself. Lots of the stuff from this era has zips on it – so I’m glad my style and my phbobia go hand in hand!
Where do you get the clothes – because it must be difficult to find original clothes from this era...
It’s harder now. Fifteen years ago when I started going to the shops it was as if more shops specialised in the era. But as the years have gone by, it’s become more normal to wear these clothes. This [red dress] I wear out all the time and I got it from a second-hand shop in Cardiff about five years ago, it’s from 1966. Because I wear it out quite often lots of people ask me where I got it from, thinking it’s from Zara or somewhere and I always say its forty years old – but it looks as good as new.
What do clothes mean to you, is there something sentimental about them?
It’s like a collection – I’ve collected these things over the last ten years or more. I treat my clothes like pieces of art and there are a lot of things here that I could never throw away. I like nostalgia a lot and the clothes from the sixties are so simple, and more naïve in a way.
- CWPWRDD DILLAD