Long before Beyonce was a twinkle in Matthew’s eye, girl groups were bringing boys to their knees with their sugary sweet harmonies and well coordinated outfits. Unlike today’s various incarnations, early girl groups were wholesome girls next door who crossed cultural barriers during the tumultuous 1960s subtly changing attitudes and paving the way for future musical acts. While unintentionally preparing the suburbs of America for the TLCs of the future, these girls also brought the most stylish clothes, hair and make-up along with them.
Groups like The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, and The Supremes were the fashion plates of the early 60s with their perfectly coiffed bouffants, almost identical dresses, and perfectly applied eyeliner. No one could come close to the style and class these ladies embodied as they sang songs about teenage love on American Bandstand. These girls not only brought style and grace with a dash of sass to the world but did so in a way that made it seem effortless, so much so that today’s stars often turn to them for style inspiration. Destiny’s Child’s early coordinated outfits, Amy Winehouse’s entire image, and even 90s girl group En Vogue’s elegant yet funky style were all taken directly from the groups of our parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods.
As the 60s progressed from an age of wide eyed innocence to a turbulent decade fraught with change and upheaval, and they young ladies in the girl groups grew into full fledged women who sought more creative control of their music and image girl groups began to evolve. Gone were the identical outfits and choreography replaced with elaborate costumes and a sense of individuality within the group. Most of the classic girl groups broke up as lead singers went on to become seek stardom for themselves, like Diana Ross. While the original format that began with groups like The Chantels did not survive the decade, girl groups are far from a line in a history book gathering dust on a shelf.
Layout by Sarah B .
*I keep forgetting to link her to these posts but I can’t do it without her.
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- Girl Groups Feature on the WAH Blog!
- Fashion Meets Music: The Dum Dum Girls
- Fashion Meets Music: Gwen Stefani