Shawlapalooza: 1960s and 70s Shawls O’Plenty

vintage shawl (24)

Shawls were big in the DIY 60s and 70s – they had the benefit of being considered both stylish and not too terribly difficult to create. Indeed, a shawl is more-or-less a big scarf, and everybody knows you start with the scarf when you learn to crochet, macrame and knit.


vintage shawl (2)

As you can see, they came in all shapes and sizes.  When does a shawl suddenly stop being a shawl and become a tabard, poncho, afghan  or cape? For the purposes of this article, let’s forgo the semantics and call all “shawl-like” creations “shawls”.

Now, let the shawling begin!


vintage shawl (4)

Where I come from, “Gypsy Shag” has a very different meaning.  I’m just sayin’.


vintage shawl (5)

Bottom Right: There’s nothing more terrifying than a shawled cougar.  She will rock your world and leave you quivering in her shawl.


vintage shawl (8)

Ah, the knit poncho.  The shawl’s obnoxious cousin.


vintage shawl (21)

Of course, under the right circumstances, a shawl could be super hot.  Such is the varied nature of the multi-faceted shawl.


vintage shawl (13)

It’s creations like this which gave the shawl its bad reputation in the following decades.  Seeing this, you can come to understand the anti-shawl movement of the 1980s.


vintage shawl (15)

As I said earlier, the shawl was the go-to for the novice knitter.  I recall making a macrame planter in grade school that wasn’t that far off from this shawl.


shawl 2


vintage shawl (6)

Shawl saturation levels reached.


vintage shawl (20)

Is it just me, or does it look as though, if we wait around for a few more minutes, these two might start making out?


vintage shawl (22)

Okay, now I know I’m not imagining things.  These Shawl Sirens are not the inhibited type.


vintage shawl (19)

All these creations should come bedecked with bells to announce the approaching shawl.


vintage shawl (11)

Ye Gods!  In a perfect world, only superheroes and magicians should be allowed capes.  No exceptions.


vintage shawl (14)

Wow.  Is there such thing as Shawl Porn?  There should be.


vintage shawl (34)

… and this is exactly how Shawl Porn should start.




“Youcantoo” crochet: when applied to shawls, also known as the “Evenaretardcan” crochet.


vintage shawl (23)

Is she naked underneath?  Only the shawl knows.



I could have sworn I distinctly said “no capes”.


vintage shawl (7)

To look upon the pineapple shawl is to be hypnotized by the essence of beauty.


vintage shawl (16)

The Cult of Shawl



We have much to learn from the shawl, but it’s time to bid farewell.  May the shawl be with you always.


Would you like to support Flashbak?

Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.