Cover of Vogue store flyer, June, 1966. Vogue pattern 6797.
These breezy summer fashions are fifty-one years old, but I can’t really remember a summer since then when halter styles were not worn. In 1966, Vogue patterns offered several halter-style dresses, plus a pantsuit with a halter top included.
Vogue halter dress patterns 6766 (left) and 6787 (right;) June 1966 flyer.
Alternate views of Vogue 6766 and 6787.
The only thing that separates these dresses from current styles is that they have more structure: darts, linings, interesting seams — details that we don’t find in garments mass-produced as cheaply as possible, using stretch fabrics and sewing shortcuts.
Depending on fabric choice, these two could be very dressy — cocktail dresses rather than casual dresses. Vogue patterns 6793 (left) and 6789, from 1966.
The dress on the right has a sixties’ stiffness that requires some lining or flat-lining to hold its shape. The pattern includes a matching jacket.
The pattern for the long, bare-shouldered beach cover-up on the left included a two-piece swim suit:
Vogue 6771 included a swim suit whose straps are perfect for wearing under it. Right, the short dress with a flounce, Vogue 6772, also conceals a swim suit. From 1966.
Another swim suit and “sun-shelter” dress:
Vogue 6772, a beach cover-up with bathing suit included. From 1966.
This pantsuit has a halter-topped blouse under it:
A pantsuit with long, slim trousers or conservative shorts. Vogue 6795 from 1966. The “spare little jacket, belted high in back, covers a turtleneck blouse with cut-in armholes.”
The Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) at University of Rhode Island has this pattern, Vogue pantsuit 6795 . It’s illustrated in a Villager-flavored floral print. Although not mentioned in the store flyer, the pattern also includes a skirt and a dress, in day or evening length.
A caution about pantsuits in the sixties: I graduated from college in this year, 1966. Women students were not allowed to wear trousers on outdoors on campus unless they wore a coat over them. These pantsuits are sportswear, not worn to school or to the office. (The big-city bank where I worked allowed us to wear matching trousers and jackets to work in 1970.)
A “smock-like” fabric pullover top with matching above-the-knee shorts. Vogue pattern 6727, from 1966.
A bit “kookie” is this dress trimmed with ball fringe (optional).
Vogue 6726 is a dress with a little Mod/op art influence and some hippie ball fringe…. To see it in color, click here.
To the right of 6726 is a much more sophisticated bare-backed dress — I think it has an Emma Peel flavor.
In black, Vogue 6751, a side-baring, back-baring “patio dress” from 1966.
Notice the low-heeled shoes. The hairstyles illustrated were often seen on television, worn by Marlo Thomas (“That Girl”) and Barbara Feldon (“Get Smart.”)