While scanning some of my ’60s catalogs, I ran across a reoccurring theme; matching couples. I dug back a little deeper and found this trend picking up around 1957 and lasting through the 1965. Searching the web, I found some more pictures of couples in matching sweaters from the 1940s and some wild print polyester outfits from the 1970s, too. As it turns out, dressing up in vintage matching couples outfits has been around for quite some time, and as you can see at the end, continues today.
Here are some images from my catalogs and vintage photo collection. It is perfect timing for Valentine’s day this week. Don’t you agree?
Matching Couples Sweaters
His and hers sweaters (jumpers) were an easy handmade gift for loving couples. Wintry Nordic prints were popular in the late ’40s to mid ’50s. Both men and women wore them, and sometimes they matched.
Matching Couples Western Shirts
I believe the mid-century trend for matching clothes started with western wear. Perhaps it was the coordinated rodeo stars from the ’30s that inspired this trend, or maybe it was the explosion of square dancing competitions that took place in the ’40s and ’50s. Either way, my catalogs had several couples in matching western shirts, increasingly as western wear went mainstream in the 1970s.
More about women’s and men’s western clothes.
Matching Couples Clothes
Adapting the western shirt theme for mainstream fashion happened in the late 1950s. Most matching outfits were “man-tailored” button up shirts for the ladies and casual shirts for men. Plaid was the winning pattern with bright solid colors and next best thing. Other clothes followed such as dresses, skirts, jackets, and even pants in the ’70s.
Matching pajamas for the entire family has been trendy since at least 1954, lasting into the 1980s. Couples without children could and would also dress in matching pajamas, nightgowns (men too!) and robes. In the 1970s when all fashion was bending gender lines couples pajamas and loungewear were trending big time.
Matching Vintage Inspired Outfits
My husband and I always try to coordinate our outfits, and sometimes that means matching the kids with us, but we have yet to completely match our own outfits. Hmmm, I need to change this soon.
I asked some of the ladies on the Facebook Pinup Talk if they had any inspiration for me, and they certainly did! From simply coordinating colors to making shirts and dresses from the same fabric, these outfits are adorable.
Tips for your matching couples outfits
- Coordinate color, if matching fabrics isn’t possible
- If you can sew, consider making a matching tie or bow tie or vest out of extra fabric
- If you can’t sew, hire someone. Etsy is a good place to look for someone. eBay and Etsy have pre-made sets too.
- Choose common patterns or solid colors for a better chance at matching
- Shop around Easter and Christmas when there are a lot more matching clothes for the entire family. Such as Pajamas
- Hawaiian Hangover has ready made Hawaiian shirts and dresses for couples and kids (dresses are not very vintage)
- Westernwear clothing stores usually carry matching western shirts
- Strange Beauty Studios makes custom dresses and men’s shirts