The 1960s was a colorful time when fashion was at its most expressive point in history. Both men and women embraced this decade, utilizing much of the inspiration that was created in the 50s.
In the coming chapters, we’ll be talking about the history of fashion in the 1960s, as well as different clothing items that were popular, different male and female fashion icons, and so much more. You might be surprised to learn how much of today’s style has been influenced by this decade.
Let’s jump right in!
Chapter 1: Introduction to the 1960s fashion
The 1960s saw a great deal of change in regard to fashion. There was also a social impact that started to impact a more modern age. Prior to this decade, people opted for a much more conservative approach to their wardrobe.
It wasn’t until the 60s that people felt more comfortable expressing their personality and attitude through dress. More designers started to appear, creating a style revolution like no other.
This chapter is dedicated to the kind of clothing that people wore in the 60s, the history of men’s and women’s fashion during this decade, and why this decade is so important for fashion.
What did people wear in the 60s?
The clothing that people wore in the 60s was really determined by age and gender. There are some classic items like bell bottoms and Bohemian styles that have made a comeback since then, but the iconic looks of that time will forever be remembered as 60s fashion.
Progressive is the perfect word to use for fashion in the 1960s. A combination of elegance from the 50s was combined with casual style. Patterns, military influence, bright colors, and celebrity icons were prevalent and largely dictated what became of the fashion industry.
Children’s clothing was the only thing that really didn’t change very much, but it did reflect a bit more of a casual and bright style by way of color and pattern.
There were many different trends that occurred in the 60s, but they can be summed up by focusing on the elegance of European culture from the 50s along with the new hippie style that was being introduced.
Men and women both started to shop very differently, and designers were coming up with artistic and expressive designs like they never had before. This was truly a turning point for fashion that would dictate how people dressed for decades to come.
Teens during the 60s had more disposable income than any previous generation had. They purchased their clothing based on styles created by artists like The Beatles and The Who.
Boutiques became more popular, giving women a place to spend the afternoon and shop for the latest fashion trends. The U.S. was quickly seeing a lot of the developments that were popular in Europe.
History of men’s & women’s fashion in the 60s
The fashion that was present in the 60s for men and women was quite different than what you would see in the 50s. In fact, it was shocking how much this culture had changed. There was a shift in mindset.
Both men and women of all ages started to feel freer like they were truly able to express themselves using different types of dress without being judged.
Young girls and women started to show a bit more skin, thanks to the miniskirt. Paired with a simple blouse and heels, this became a staple fashion item in the mid to late 60s.
The bikini bathing suit was also popular during this decade. Women wore them on the beach with large sunglasses and a head wrap or kerchief of some sort.
Young men commonly wore clothing items in the 60s, like slim-fit tapered pants, tennis shirts, and striped blazers. Rhythm and blues music created inspiration for the mod culture in fashion. Black jeans and leather jackets, bell bottoms, and fringed jackets were popular as well.
Why was this period so important for the fashion industry?
The 1960s were important for fashion because there was a large youth movement that took place. Clothing was much more colorful, provocative, and optimistic. There was a large social change that took place due to the introduction of the birth control pill.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 promoted interest in other cultures. Teens now saw themselves as free-thinking individuals that could express themselves through the way that they dressed.
Young men ditched the uniform look in the 60s and allowed fashion to rule. It wasn’t common for them to dress according to their social position any longer. Jeans were no longer just for farmers or cowboys. Casual clothing like this took a much bigger place at the forefront of fashion.
The hippie subculture also began in the 1960s. European social movements engaged in this trend, full of natural materials, color, and comfort. The hippie movement in the United States was very much influenced by Bohemian culture in the East.
Our introduction to 60s fashion should give you some insight into what looks were popular, who was wearing what, and what influenced these changes to occur.
In the coming chapters, we’re going to take a look at 60s fashion for men, 60s fashion for women, and some of the different trends and outfits that were popular during this decade.
Chapter 2: 60s fashion for men
In the year 1965, fifty percent of the United States population was made up of people 25 years or under. This is a time when young men were witnessing a lot of injustices against older generations from a social perspective.
This resulted in a great deal of change in not only the way the world functioned but through fashion as well. This was a throwback decade when it came to colors and patterns. Things weren’t this bold since the 1920s.
The style was all about men, as the shape of clothing became more boyish and slimmer. This chapter is dedicated to looking at men’s fashion during the 1960s a bit more in-depth. We’re going to talk about clothing, but also hairstyles and different popular fashion icons.
60s hairstyles for men
There were still some men in the 60s that were more conservative when it came to their style choices, so they would often cover their hair up with a hat upon leaving the house.
The younger generation opted to ditch the formal hat and styled their hair perfectly, combing their locks into smooth sweeps across their head with a side part. There were a number of other popular styles as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the different hairstyles that men wore in the 60s. You might notice that some of them are still somewhat popular today, or at least are an inspiration to some of our modern-day looks.
The Mop Top
This hairstyle is popular again today, but it was originally from the 60s. The Beatles are to thank for this look. Long, fringed hair is cut and styled right to the eyebrows. The hair on each side of the face reaches down to the ears, and the whole look is a bit messy and tousled.
The Crew Cut
The crew cut, or flat top as it is also known, was popular in the 60s for both business professionals and young men. Clippers are used to fade the hair on the sides of the head while the top of the head features slightly longer hair. It’s a low-maintenance look that is still around today.
Stars like Elvis and Johnny Cash brought the pompadour to life in the 60s. Longer hair sweeps up in the front, where it is perfectly styled on the top of the head. Products like beeswax were used to keep everything in place.
The Slicked Back Look
For a more professional and neat appearance, some men opted to slick their hair back. This was a popular look for men that wanted to skip wearing a hat but still wanted to look well put together.
60s clothes for men
For an everyday look in the 60s, men focused on wearing slim trousers, button-down shirts, polos, and a blazer or sport coat. Younger men adopted a bit more of a casual Ivy League look.
The mods were a rocker-like look that was heavily influenced by British music and fashion. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that hippie culture began, taking fashion to a more relaxed place.
These are some of the fashion staples of the 1960s:
The leather jacket became a wardrobe staple in the 1960s thanks to the musical influences that were paving the way in regard to style. Leather jackets were commonly worn with blue jeans or slim-fitting trousers; underneath was a basic t-shirt or polo shirt.
Blue jeans in the 60s were more of a fitted look for men. They had a bit of a higher waist than they do today, and they were worn with a belt. The button fly often replaced the zippered jean. A slightly more relaxed version of the blue jean was worn for work attire. They weren’t quite as fitted to allow for more movement and comfort.
The classic white t-shirt was very popular in the 60s as part of a laid-back outfit that almost always consisted of jeans and a leather jacket. Printing and tie-dying became popular in the 60s. So bright colors and patterns started to make their way onto t-shirts during this decade.
Men’s sneakers were very simple in the 60s. They were almost always track-style shoes that were solid in color, with maybe a strip of white running along the sides. Puma was a very popular brand in the 60s, as was the Converse All-Star sneaker.
Some new life came to the tailored men’s suit in the 60s. They were popularly made out of fabric such as tweed, corduroy, cotton, or seersucker. Aside from the traditional solid-colored suit, men started to embrace more elaborate looks that featured things like plaid, checks, and herringbone.
The trouser pant gained a little more style in the 60s as they were now worn with a contrasting jacket or shirt. The fit was high-waisted with a slim fit down the leg. Pants were usually pleated down the front, and it was common to see very bold plaids during this time. When trousers matched the rest of the look, a man was likely wearing a three-piece suit.
The ankle boot was a popular men’s shoe in the 60s, thanks to how versatile and stylish it was. These boots could be worn in a dressier material with a suit, but you would also see men wearing them with jeans or casual trousers.
The polo shirt was around well before the 1960s, but this look was trendy during this decade. It was a casual clothing item that was usually paired with dress pants of some sort. They had a pointier collar back then than they do now, and they were either solid in color or had a big stripe across the front.
The turtleneck gave a very modern and artistic vibe to men’s fashion in the 60s. They were usually dark in color and could be paired with a dressy outfit that included trousers and a blazer, or a turtleneck was worn with a pair of jeans. Turtlenecks were very slender, with a high neck that would either fold over or be bunched up.
Suspenders were a popular fashion accessory for men in the 1960s. Not only did they help keep pants in place, but they also looked really nice with a suit. Suspenders took on their own cult following, as they were made in all kinds of different prints and colors.
You could find paisley suspenders in a striped version and so much more. Men eventually developed quite a collection to go with their different outfits.
Fedora and trilby hats
Hats were still very popular among the male crowd during the 1960s. Though many men were making the switch to focusing on their hair more than covering it up, there was still an old-fashioned demographic that would wear a fedora or trilby hat when they were going out.
Also popular were the walker hat and the French beret. It was a time when men were starting to play around with more casual hat options rather than keeping things overly formal.
1960s male fashion icons
In the 60s, you were either a man that wanted to remain conservative, or you started to embrace the more casual styles of this decade. There were some very notable male fashion icons that helped direct the path that fashion would take, so this section is dedicated to those icons.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy is known for being one of our most stylish presidents ever. He seemed to effortlessly look fabulous no matter where he was spotted. He often wore suits because of his political profession, but he had a way of making them seem formal and laid back all at the same time. He was a fan of Brooks Brothers suits, which were very simple and clean.
Sean Connery is still a popular actor today, but he was new and upcoming back in the 60s. He was known for wearing simple navy blue and gray suits that appeared to be made for his body type specifically.
His material of choice was Dupioni silk, which had a natural resistance to wrinkles. He always looked fresh and neat when he would go out to promote his movies like James Bond.
Dubbed The King of Cool during his rise in popularity in the 1960s, Steve McQueen had a style that would look good even today. He skipped the formal suit that was often worn by men during this time, and he put simple items together for a very casual look.
He was known for wearing bomber jackets, jeans, t-shirts, and turtlenecks. He had that sexy rebel look that all the women loved.
We mentioned before how important and influential music was during the 60s in regard to fashion. This was largely thanks to The Beatles, who really took the entire world by storm with their tunes and their style.
Their hair was worn quite long, they didn’t appear to be overly put together, and they frequently wore items like turtlenecks and collarless jackets.
They did, on occasion, put on a more formal ensemble when they would be appearing at an award show or something similar, and it made the girls swoon.
Clint Eastwood is an American actor that was popular in the 60s. He often starred in films that fit into the western genre, wearing clothes that really accentuated his masculine style.
With rugged clothing like jeans and jackets and coarse fabrics for pants and shirts, this was a look that was a far cry from the conservative style of the working male in America during this decade.
Elvis became a superstar in the 50s, but his popularity continued well into the 60s and through the 70s until the time of his passing. He is known for high collared shirts with the top few buttons undone, trousers with a button-down shirt, and a suit coat.
And his stage gear often featured elaborate matching suits with sequins and other embellishments. Other Elvis favorites included high-waisted trousers, Cuban-collar shirts, and Harrington jackets.
Robert Redford was a Hollywood legend in the 60s and into the 70s. He had a very all-American style that featured key items like loafers, khakis, and suits. It was quite different than what some of the other rebellious actors were wearing during this decade.
Paul Newman was a major superstar into the 60s, thanks to his Best Actor Nominations for movies such as The Hustler, Hud, and Cool Hand Luke. Newman’s look was usually very simple, featuring a white button-down shirt and simple trousers with loafers. He was definitely more casual when it came to style.
Sammy Davis Jr.
A dear friend of Frank Sinatra’s and a leading member of The Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Jr. was a fan of a perfectly cut, one-button suit. In 1967, Sammy Davis Jr. became the first black man to appear on the cover of GQ. This was an incredible style of honor in the 60s. His hair was also always perfectly done, and his mustache was slim and trim at all times.
This information has hopefully helped you understand more of what was going on in the 1960s in regard to fashion, social change, style, and much more. Men really enjoyed fashion in the 60s, and our examples of what was popular during this time demonstrate that fact.
Stick around for our next chapter, which is going to cover women’s fashion in the 1960s. We’re going to discuss much of the same information that was covered in this chapter but from the female perspective.
Fashion was just as crucial for women in the 60s, and we’re excited to talk with you about what was notable during this decade.
Chapter 3: 60s women’s fashion
The 1960s was a very diverse decade in regard to fashion. The 50s was an inspiring time that carried into the next few years. British and American fashion influence was taking over, with designers and models focusing on women’s fashion more than ever.
This chapter is going to take a look at 60s women’s fashion. Not only will we cover popular clothing items, but we’re also going to talk about the hair and makeup of this decade.
Lastly, we’re going to discuss some of the notable women’s fashion icons of the 60s. These were the women that made the most significant impact on the fashion world.
60s hairstyles for women
Maybe you’re interested in trying out a new hairstyle, or perhaps you just want to learn more about the different hairstyles that were popular in the 1960s. It’s likely that your mother or grandmother fashioned one of these looks during this time period, but some of the current hairstyles that females wear today have taken some inspiration from the 60s.
Women who loved long hair but didn’t want to wear it down all the time jumped on the opportunity to style their hair into the beehive. It was a trendy and sophisticated updo that women of all ages wore.
This look was created by hairstylist Margaret Vinci Heldt. Hair was neatly piled up on top of the head using pins and products. Hairspray was key to keeping your beehive in place. Some women wore this look with bangs, while others swept all of their hair up.
The bombshell hairstyle was all about being sexy and beautiful. It also worked for women that had long hair. Hair was worn down while curled into large waves. The front had a middle part with simple bangs that flowed down the side of the face. The back and upper part of the hair were teased to be very voluminous.
The Flipped Bob
The bob is a shorter cut that is still popular today, but back in the 60s, women used to flip it outwards. Hair was cut at about chin length. The entire head of hair was teased, and curlers were often used to increase volume as well.
But they dramatically flipped the bottom of the bob outwards. Hairspray kept everything in place, and some women accessorized this look with a headband.
Makeup in the 60s was very bold and creative. Women started using their cosmetic products to make a bold fashion statement from the neck up. Paired with some of the elaborate hair trends of the 60s, women’s makeup collections in the 60s were very vast.
If you think back to the makeup that was used in the 1960s, you’re probably familiar with very glittery and bold eye makeup. Women also wore their eyebrows very tweezed and thin during this decade.
Double-winged eyeliner created a very dramatic look around the eye, with bold colors of eye shadow often matching clothing or simply creating its own effect. We still see some of these trends being used today.
Instead of a bold red lip or something nude and simple, frosted lips were incredibly popular in the 60s. Baby pink was a popular color, and it reappeared in the early 90s.
Cut Crease Eyeshadow
The eyes were made up using a cut crease concept that could be both black and white monochromatic or something more neutral like nude and brown. Women even used a negative space crease to stand out.
The Cat Eye
The cat eye is a look that was popular in the 60s, but it’s still used today. We now use it on the top of the lash line, but the lower lash line was used in the 60s.
While eyes and lips were very dramatically made up in the 60s, it was typical for women to keep their skin very natural. They didn’t use a lot of concealer or blush during this decade.
60s clothes for women
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the clothing that was commonly worn by women in the 60s. Some of these items are still very popular, while others have been left behind. How many of these items do you have in your closet right now?
The miniskirt came in a few different styles in the 60s, but it was a very popular look not only for younger girls but also for women. The mini skirt was worn on its own with a pretty blouse, but there were also mini skirt style dresses that were very short in length and had a lot of ruffles to the skirt.
The top was usually a little more modest, which was a nice balance for an otherwise pretty sexy style. It was common to see a high neck and long sleeves on a mini skirt dress. Floral prints and lots of colors became more popular during the 60s as well.
Women started to come out of their shells a little more during the 60s and ventured out in bikini-style bathing suits. You’d see them on the beach or gathering with friends by the pool, wearing this two-piece style we often wear today. Bikinis were generally pretty basic in the 60s, featuring one solid color.
There were some older women or more modest women that wanted to skip the bikini and wear something with a little more coverage. There were one-piece options that were very flattering for curvy women.
They were sometimes strapless, with a very simple and boxy design. There were also boat neck bathing suits that cut sharply across the chest and had a ruffled skirt on the bottom for extra coverage. Bright shades of yellow and pink were popular.
Women’s trousers took a turn in regard to style in the 60s. A common trend with this type of pant featured a very high waistline, sometimes with a side zipper. The legs were kept very long and slim. Women usually paired these pants with a simple blouse that would hang loose or be tucked in if there was a more formal occasion happening.
The suits that women wore in the 60s often consisted of a skirt and jacket that could be worn with or without a blouse. There were some notable women during this decade that frequently wore skirt suits, such as Jackie Kennedy.
This look was meant to be both sophisticated and elegant. When women wore a pencil skirt, it would reach just below the knee. It was usually paired with a cropped jacket.
The 1960s minidress was a really cute look that was flirty and playful. It was worn for more of an everyday look or for a social gathering. There wasn’t a lot of shape to this style of dress. It usually looked like a t-shirt or blouse up top, and the skirt hung very straight and loosed down the rest of the body.
The length would end at the middle of the thigh. What stood out most with the minidress was the large selection of colors and styles that were available. Very bold prints like polka dots and paisley were common. Very bright colors were also used.
Women who lived in colder climates usually had a number of coats as part of their collection. A common style that paired well with dresses and professional clothing alike included a very long and flowing coat that would hit just at the middle of the thigh.
It usually tapered in at the waist and would then flow out like a skirt. It had a high collar, and sometimes fur was included as a detail on the cuffs and collar.
Gloves were still worn for more formal outfits. Generally made from cotton, silk, or lace. Many women in the 60s had a large collection of gloves so they could match them to their various outfits. Some gloves would go up past the wrist a few inches, while others would stop right at that point.
A pill-box hat was a very small hat that women wore in the 60s. It had a completely flat crown and was straight, with the sides coming up at a completely vertical point. There was no brim to the hat, and it looked very cylindrical. These hats were kept protected in a special hat box inside women’s closets.
For going out to a party, sequin dresses became quite popular in the 60s. This was a pretty drastic evolvement in fashion compared to what women were wearing in the previous decade. The shape of the sequin dress was usually similar to a minidress, with a very boxy shape and bold, sequined detail.
As an accessory, women would often skip a necklace and tie a fancy handkerchief scarf around their necks. These scarves came in all kinds of patterns and colors. They were tied in a neat little knot, with the two ends dramatically flaring out at the knot.
The shift dress became popular in the 60s. This was a very simple and short dress that would end just above the knee. The skirt could be cut in either a straight or narrow style. There wasn’t any definition in the waist so that it would hang straight from the shoulders.
To add some additional style to a women’s outfit in the 60s, colored tights were often matched to the dress or skirt that a woman was wearing. These tights were usually quite thick, making it look like the woman was almost wearing a pair of leggings under her clothing.
The go-go boot was introduced in the middle of the 1960s. It featured a boxy heel that was a few inches high, and it was common for a patent leather material to be used. White go-go boots and bright shades of color were very popular. Women usually matched their boots to their outfits.
1960s female fashion icons
There are some notable women that were true fashion icons in the 1960s. They were the first to wear some unique clothing items, combining different articles to create a personalized look that embraced the female body and style. Let’s take a look at some of these 60s female fashion icons.
Edie Sedgwick was an American actress and fashion model that was popular in the 60s. She was well known for being one of Andy Warhol’s muses. She had a very distinct style that featured a lot of eyeliner and dark shadow around her eyes, long, dangling earrings, and minidresses that she would pair with tights.
Twiggy was a British cultural icon that became popular when she was just a teen. She had a short, boyish haircut that was bold and stylish. She was always wearing the latest in fashion and became a style icon in her own right.
Jackie Kennedy was always impeccably dressed in the 60s. Whenever she made an appearance, she was usually wearing her designer suit dresses, pillbox hats, and oversized sunglasses.
Hepburn had a casual style in the 1960s that was laid back and refreshing compared to some of the bolder and more elaborate outfits of this decade. Starring in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn brought some attention to a basic black dress. However, she was usually seen wearing Capri pants and ballet flats when she was out and about in real life.
Now that we’ve talked about women’s fashion in the 60s, it’s interesting to look at some of the things that we wear today and how women wear their hair and makeup. A lot of influences come from the 60s. What do you notice about women’s 60s fashion that you utilize in your own wardrobe or style selection?
Chapter 4: 60s types of fashion
If you think about it, the 1960s was one of the main decades that was focused on a very laid-back, artistic, and casual style concept. From flipped-out bobs to high boots and thick eyeliner, the 60s provided many options for both men and women that wanted to show off their personality and style sense a bit more.
The Swinging Sixties reflected a simpler and lighter side of life that brought about experimental fashion, great music, and new culture for both young adults and the more mature crowd.
In this chapter, we’re going to discuss the more specific types of fashion that existed during this decade. There were some very distinct categories of fashion, and people started to gravitate toward one or another. From very neat and preppy attire to a more flowing and laid-back Bohemian option, we’ll take a look at it all.
The following list contains some of the different types of fashion that were popular in the 60s. What people chose to wear really depended on their age, profession, social status, and personal style preferences. There still weren’t a lot of crossovers between these different styles, creating a very clique-like division in fashion.
Bohemian/Flower power fashion
The bohemian style actually came about all the way back in the 1800s, but it was a very prevalent style that mixed with flower power fashion later on in the 1960s. Free thinking paired together with a wild style sense that was very similar to gypsy culture. Items included long skirts, flowing tops, natural materials, bold colors, and floral prints with clothing often layered upon each other.
In the 1960s, Americans started to embrace the bohemian style as part of the hippie era. This group of societal members revolted against what was going on in society, and they had a very distinct sense of style that made them appear much more laid-back than their counterparts.
Though hippie culture and fashion eventually slowed down, we still very much incorporate bohemian style into our wardrobe today. It’s still a very expressive form of fashion that is somewhat of a rebellion against a more conforming and clean-cut style.
A very bold trend in fashion during the 60s was the mod movement. This was popular among the younger generation, originally having started in London. It quickly came over to the U.S. to take our fashion culture by storm. The attitude was very relaxed after the stress that society experienced during World War II.
Some of the popular clothing items from the 60s that fit into mod culture included miniskirts for women, bright colors, bold graphic prints, large brooches, shapeless shift dresses, bulky turtlenecks, pencil skirts, button-down shirts, and items that looked very artistic.
Some mod dressers looked like artists themselves, thanks to Pop Art designers that embraced this style concept. Fashion icons that looked great in mod clothing included the model Twiggy and celebrity Jean Shrimpton.
Mod items were often sold in small boutiques, which were becoming much more popular in the U.S. after gaining popularity in London and the rest of England during the 60s. These boutiques become a fun place to visit while snatching up all of the latest fashion releases. The most popular mod store in New York was the Paraphernalia, which opened its doors in 1965.
Beatnik fashion became incredibly popular in the 1960s for both men and women that were resistant to conformity but weren’t really into hippie or flower power fashion. Some of the world’s most notable artists, like Andy Warhol and Allen Ginsberg, were big into beatnik fashion, and it’s still a very relevant fashion concept today.
This fashion freedom with a bit of rebellion thrown in incorporated very dark hues with sharp lines. Heavy jackets, berets, turtlenecks, and trousers were common.
This isn’t a very hard style to replicate today, using some very simple items that you may very well have in your closet right now. The turtleneck was a very key beatnik feature. Men would put on a black, chunky turtleneck with a folded-over neck. It was fitted to the body, and a variety of materials were used based on the season.
Pants gravitated more towards a wide-leg style in the 60s and within the beatnik style. They were meant to look very relaxed and understated. They gave off the opinion of being neat and tidy while still being able to be flexible and work in your attire.
Some beatniks cut off the bottom of their trousers, pairing them with a simple shirt on top. Skinny jeans were the opposite of the baggy pant, but they were a casual change within beatnik style. We still use the skinny pant today. The colors were usually very dark.
The classic black jacket was a fashion staple in beatnik culture. It was usually a very tailored variety or something along the lines of a pea coat. A black leather jacket was also acceptable. The goal was to appear very minimalistic while still appearing stylish and well put together.
As far as t-shirts were concerned, basic shades of black, white, and navy were common. However, a bolder option was a black and white striped t-shirt that would be worn under a black blazer or jacket of some sort. A long-sleeve variety was common in colder weather. To top the whole look off, a beret was a fantastic accessory.
A lot of people take a look at fashion and think about the need for practical items based on the season and the weather. Hippie fashion was much more than this. It was a cultural shift that represented the free thinking of certain members of society.
Free love and free thinking were embraced by hippie culture, along with very soft, simple, and natural clothing items. Some of the iconic pieces during the 60s included peace signs on everything, worn-out tie-dye shirts, billowing sleeves, and medallion necklaces.
This relaxed wardrobe gave off a very sexy vibe, with clothing often showing off some degree of the skin or hugging the body’s natural curves.
Skinny, low-waist jeans were turned into cutoff shorts in warmer weather. Off-the-shoulder tops, tank tops, and bohemian-style shirts were frequently worn.
Both men and women accessorized their outfits heavily, with all kinds of bangle bracelets, hemp necklaces, large medallions, headbands, large sunglasses, large belt buckles, and earrings.
When hippie women would dress up, this usually included a mini dress or mini skirt paired with calf-high boots. Men’s work shirts and blazers were often incorporated into the female wardrobe as well. Men opted for button-down shirts that were often left open at the top, with skinny jeans and sandals.
The Ivy League
Ivy league fashion in the 1960s was a very professional and simple look that was practical for everyday wear. While it began on college campuses all across the U.S., it was quickly integrated into men’s business attire as well.
Ivy league style actually provided some inspiration and cross-over with mod style. This fashion style did create a pretty big divide between hippie culture and the more conservative bunch.
Ivy league style was a nice change from very professional business clothing that was worn during the daytime. This was a common weekend option that included things like sports jackets, trousers in contrasting colors, sweater vests, button-down dress shirts, skinny ties, and polo shirts. Tennis sweaters, cardigans, and sweatshirts were also wardrobe options.
Ivy league dress also overlapped a bit with the country club look. This style included basic items like polo shirts, skinny belts, and flat-front trousers. Sweater shirts were a new addition to 60s fashion, and they often zipped up high on the neck.
60s Indian fashion
There is a great deal of fashion overlap between Bollywood and Indian-inspired fashion trends of the 1960s. A lot of style in India comes from movies and television, incorporating all kinds of colors and prints into long dresses and drapes. Women with curves have utilized Indian fashion to just slightly show off some of their skin and body while still using plenty of coverage.
Regarding hair and makeup, Indian fashion utilized the beehive hairstyle, which was long hair teased up very high on the head and sprayed with hairspray to keep everything in place. Wing-tipped eyeliner gave a very simple but bold twist to women’s makeup.
The figure-hugging sleeveless suit was popular in women’s Indian fashion of the 60s. This was made popular by Yash Chopra’s film called “Waqt,” which was released in 1965. It was also included in “Jewel Thief” and “Love in Tokyo.” It became a popular clothing item for young and curvy women in India before transferring over to American culture.
What’s unique about Indian fashion is the different shades of color that were used back in the 60s and are still used today. This style has never been about anything conservative or boring. Rather, all the colors of the rainbow paired with different kinds of embellishments made for artistic creations in fashion.
Initially, the bright colors of Indian clothing were achieved with the use of natural materials that would permanently dye fabric prior to being turned into clothing. While these colors were eventually created artificially for the production of fabric, the shades have always remained somewhat the same even today.
60s surf fashion
Surf fashion in the 50s into the 60s was very casual based. It featured loose clothing that was simple and lacked a lot of detail. A common surf wardrobe consisted of basic t-shirts, jeans, swim trunks, baggy sweaters, and board shorts.
Women wore bikinis in the 60s, which contributed to surf fashion from their perspective. Otherwise, this was more of a male-dominated fashion concept.
Surf fashion wasn’t necessarily about looking any certain way or conforming to a certain dress code. This was a wardrobe selection that was very much about functionality and comfort.
There was a decent amount of crossover with Hawaiian fashion, which also debuted in the 60s. This style trend incorporated a bit more color with the presentation of floral shirts made with bright, contrasting colors. Different dying and weaving practices were used to create very soft and comfortable outfits.
Space-inspired fashion was a notable trend in the 1960s that was largely introduced by the French designer André Courrèges. His look included all kinds of staple items such as trouser suits, goggles, boxy dresses, high skirts, and go-go boots.
The overall idea was to look like a fashionable astronaut or intergalactic being. A lot of white was worn, as well as silver, to give the wardrobe a very metallic vibe. You truly looked like you were playing a very important space-focused part in a movie when you were dressed to impress in space-inspired fashion.
Space-age chic was very similar to the mod aesthetic. Simple, straight, and harsh lines were worn in a variety of dresses, skirts, and suits. Women’s hair was pulled back into a sleek bun or ponytail.
Large sunglasses that completely blocked out a person’s eyes gave a very private and mysterious vibe. Mock turtlenecks, small, boxy purses, and ankle boots were popular.
We’re not ready to conclude our information about fashion in the 60s just yet. There’s still so much that we want to talk about since this was such a remarkable time in fashion history.
In chapter five, we’re going to look at different 60s outfits for men and women, followed by examples of what you can wear to a 60s-themed party. We’ve got some pretty fun examples to share with you, so we hope that you’ll stick around.
Let us know in the comments below what some of your favorite fashion styles were in the 60s and whether or not you work this inspiration into some of your outfits today.
Chapter 5: 60s outfits for men and women
Looking through some of the different fashion trends that were popular in the 60s, we see how diverse and colorful this decade was. There were so many different types of fashion going on, all at the same time, providing all kinds of options for expressing oneself.
In chapter five, we’re going to be talking about some of the specific outfits that were available for both men and women in the 60s. If you’re looking to take some inspiration from this amazing fashion decade, then this chapter is for you.
You may even be able to put together one of these looks from your own wardrobe if you love 60s-inspired clothing. Let’s get started!
Typical 60s outfits for men
Our previous chapters that are part of this series have touched on some of the different fashion styles and trends that were popular in the 60s. From the beatnik style to ivy-league clothing, there was something available for every man to express himself by way of his clothing.
Let’s take a look at some of the typical 60s outfits that you would see on the average male during this decade. Some of them are more suited for the work environment, while others were much more laid-back weekend-wear.
Wide Leg Slacks + Button-Down Shirt + Cardigan Sweater
A lot of men in the 60s opted for the more laid-back formal look that featured wide-leg slacks. They sat a little bit higher on the hips, flowing straight down to the ankle with extra material along the leg than you would find with a tailored pair of pants.
This look was topped with a simple button-down shirt in a solid color like white or blue. On top, a cardigan sweater was worn that was very fitted and stopped at the point of the waist. Men usually wore their cardigans buttoned all the way in the 60s for a very neat look. This outfit was usually completed with a pair of loafers or dress shoes.
Denim Bell Bottom Pants + White Tunic Top + Vest
For the free-thinking and free-spirited man that appreciated the bohemian and hippie style, denim bell bottom pants were very popular in the 60s. Fitted at the waist, the legs tapered out as they went down until finally flaring out at the very bottom of the leg.
So much so that you usually couldn’t spot the kind of shoes that a man was wearing with his outfit. On top, a simple white tunic top was worn. To add a little bit more style to this look, vests were very fashionable.
They could be made of leather or another softer material. They were sometimes very simple, but fringe was also popular. A bandana tied around the head and a pair of sunglasses completed this look.
Skinny Pants + Turtleneck + Leather Jacket
There were a lot of different pant styles in the 60s, and skinny pants were just as popular as the wide-leg variety or bell bottoms. A man would wear a pair of skinny pants in a lighter shade of brown or blue, paired with a high-neck turtleneck in a complementary color.
The turtlenecks during this decade were usually pretty fitted, which left the freedom to top the look off with a short leather jacket. A belt was an optional accessory, and a nice brown shoe was usually the footwear choice. Sneakers weren’t really popular during this decade, regardless of the outfit.
White Bell Bottom Pants + Button-Down Shirt + Boots
Bell bottom pants weren’t just for a very laid-back hippie style. There were more gradual pairs that men would wear for going out or casual events. This look focuses on a pair of white bell bottoms combined with a fitted, crisp button-down shirt.
Women wore go-go or platform boots in the 60s, but men also had an ankle variety that would have looked perfect with this ensemble. Depending on the occasion, some men would opt to unbutton the top few buttons of their shirts to show off some of their chest.
They would keep it buttoned all the way up if they were attending something more professional in nature. Accessories and jewelry weren’t all that popular in the 60s, but a longer necklace may have been worn with a slightly unbuttoned dress shirt.
Slacks + Vertical Striped Polo Shirt
This simple look was a casual crossover with the beatnik style trend of the 60s. Simple slacks in a dark shade of navy blue or black were worn with a matching polo shirt. The shirt would have a vertical striped design in the middle of the shirt, with just neutral colors used.
This wasn’t an overly elaborate or colorful outfit, but it was very artistic and stylish. A man wearing this outfit would slick their hair back and keep the rest of their ensemble very minimal.
A simple yet fashionable combination, this look was perfect for school, work, going out with friends, or spending time around the house with the family on the weekends.
Trousers + Button-Down Shirt + Collegiate Sweater
Trousers were a wardrobe staple in a man’s closet in the 1960s. There were a few different cuts to choose from, but this look is going to utilize a standard trouser fit. For this ivy-league look, a white button-down shirt would be worn underneath a collegiate sweater.
These sweaters varied in their overall style. Some took on the full collegiate look by including a letter on the chest for detail. There were also simpler varieties that would have a little bit of striping on a slight v-neck, and that was all. The footwear choice for this look was likely loafers.
Typical 60s outfits for women
Women’s fashion was incredibly elaborate and versatile in the 60s, with so many different categories to fit into. For example, many women opted for the very laid-back hippie-style movement. There was also the mod fashion movement that was very artistic and sharp.
The Indian fashion movement incorporated colorful and cultural pieces that were extremely unique. Let’s take a look at what would be some very commonly worn outfits by women in the 1960s.
Mini Dress + Go-Go Boots
For a fun and flirty look that was perfect for going out in, women would wear a mini dress in a very bold color or with a very elaborate pattern on it. The more colorful the print was, the better it looked. It was typical for a dark background to be used, with bright colors of flowers or shapes over the top.
There wasn’t much else that went with this outfit other than a great pair of go-go boots that would have a square-shaped heel and go up the leg to about the point of the mid-calf region. Hair was often worn in a flipped-out bob or in a high beehive. Not a lot of accessories were needed, but maybe a large pair of hoops or dangling earrings were worn.
Bell Bottoms + Off-the-Shoulder Top + Platform Heels
Bell bottoms were a popular pant style worn by women as well as men in the 60s. The female variety was a bit more fitted and sometimes was worn lower on the waist. Women also wore chunky belts with bell bottoms, depending on their look.
A soft, off-the-shoulder top gave a more feminine appeal to this look. With a loose fit and billowing sleeve, it was common for this shirt to be made with a floral print or colorful design of some sort.
Platform heels would peek out from underneath the ankle of the bell bottoms. The hair was usually worn down so that it would just graze the top of the woman’s collarbone region. This look was perfect for going out.
Pencil Skirt + Button-Down Shirt + Beehive
For a more professional look, a pencil skirt was a wardrobe staple in the 60s. A basic skirt in black or a dark shade of blue was common. Women often wore this clothing item to work or church, paired with a simple button-down shirt that would be buttoned all the way up the top of the neck.
Stockings with heels would be worn as well, and the hair would have been neatly done up in a beehive or a low ponytail that hung low down by the base of the neck.
Halter Neck Bell Bottom Jump Suit
The halter neckline was popular for some dresses and tops in the 60s, and this look utilizes it. A one-piece jumpsuit was a fancy item that combined the look of a dress with more casual pants and a shirt duo.
The bottom of the jumpsuit usually featured bell bottom legs, and the entire outfit was frequently made with a bold pattern of some sort. Floral and paisley were popular. Heels were the shoe of choice to complete the look, along with some bangle bracelets, and the hair is worn down and wavy.
Black Capri Pants + Heels + Low Cut Button-Down Shirt
Capri pants came around in the 50s, but they were still very popular in the 60s as well. This was a casual wardrobe item that was worn very tight on a woman’s body. The bottom of the pant would sometimes have a slight slit or cut in it to show off a little bit of leg. The top was high-waisted.
With this look, a woman could opt to dress it up with a button-down shirt that was cut low on the chest and showed a bit of cleavage. With heels, this was a casual but sexy and fun outfit.
This look could also take a much more casual and conservative approach. Capri pants could be worn with a flat pair of sneakers or ballet flats. A short-sleeve collared shirt with a simple collar would provide a bit more coverage.
You’re probably familiar with the movie Grease, which came out in the late 70s. The looks worn by many of the young women in the movie stemmed from some of the fashion trends that were introduced in the mid to late 60s.
Long-Sleeve, Floral, Collared Dress
The mini dress was elevated in the 1960s with a version that was very stylish and fun. Featuring long sleeves and a collar, the dress itself was usually made in a dark or bold color/print.
The collar and the cuffs on the sleeves would be a bright white to really offset the entire look. The dress would hang down to about the middle of the thigh, and go-go boots or heels would be worn for footwear.
Fringed Vest + Bell Bottoms + Tank Top + Bandana
To express free love and to embrace the hippie movement, women would pair fitted bell bottoms with a simple tank top. Some women opted to ditch their bras, really embracing this type of free love culture. Over the top of this look, a fringed vest was worn.
A bandana and a pair of large sunglasses were accessories, along with layers of bracelets made of natural materials like hemp. It was common in the warmer weather months for women to opt for a pair of flat sandals, but ankle boots or go-go boots carried over to hippie style from other fashion trends in the 60s.
We tried to provide you with a very diverse selection of outfit examples for both men and women in the 1960s. If you’re looking to take some inspiration from this decade, you should have plenty of information to create your own look.
While some items like go-go boots and bell bottoms aren’t really worn today, there are a number of other items that we’re still incorporating into today’s fashion trends. Stick around to learn more in the next chapter, which will focus on what you might wear to a 60s-themed party.
Chapter 6: What do you wear to a 60s party?
If you’ve been invited to an upcoming 1960s-themed party, consider yourself lucky. This is one of the best decades to dress up in, aside from the 80s (which everyone knows and loves). This chapter is dedicated to some of the best outfits that you can come up with to really strut your stuff at the event you’ll be attending.
Some of the items you need may already be in your closet. Other items may need to be sourced from a family member, friend, or thrift store. Let’s get started with our best fashion tips and ideas.
Men’s fashion ideas for a 60s theme party
If you’re a man that’s been invited to a 60s-themed party, you may feel like you’re out of your element a bit. Don’t worry; we have a variety of outfit ideas that you can try to put together before the big day. Some are more complex than others, so you can get as involved in this process as you want.
The Conservative Look
The early 1960s still focused on very conservative fashion for men. If you aren’t comfortable getting all dressed up in bell bottoms and fringe vests, opt for this look. A fitted suit with a skinny tie was a fashion staple during this decade.
The waistline of men’s pants was worn a little higher than they are now, so take this into consideration when choosing your outfit.
Rather than an all-one-color monochromatic conservative look, men opted for very contrasting items in the 60s. Pair some brown trousers with a bright yellow plaid suit coat and a button-down shirt.
Ditch the suit and opt for the 60s casual weekend outfit. A pair of slacks was paired with a button-down dress shirt and a cardigan sweater buttoned all the way up.
Ivy League Cool
If you can get your hands on a collegiate sweater of some sort, this is the focal point of this outfit. Wear it with a simple button-down shirt underneath and a pair of simple slacks.
If you want to dress up in that classic 60s fashion, source a pair of bell bottoms and a fringe vest, and wear a simple button-down tunic top underneath. You can stick with a pair of flip-flops as your shoes if you don’t have sandals, and wear sunglasses and a bandana as accessories.
For a very simple yet 60s look, pay close attention to the colors you choose in addition to the style of clothing worn. A pair of basic brown trousers can be worn with a basic polo, but one that was very popular in the 60s. This can include something in a mustard color with a high neck and boxy shape.
Women’s fashion ideas for a 60s theme party
As a woman, you’re about to have some real fun with your 60s-themed outfit for the party you’re going to be attending soon. Here are some of our classic ideas and tips that will make it easy to select what you want to wear.
If you can pull off the modernist look of the 60s, you’ll need to find a fantastic dress that ends above the knee and features some sort of bright, psychedelic print. Try to mimic your hair in a short bob and wear go-go boots as your footwear selection.
Wear a loose and flowing dress made out of cotton or linen. Try to make sure it’s as bright and bold as possible. You should accessorize with a headband, circular sunglasses, and natural-inspired jewelry.
Bell Bottoms Galore
Bell bottoms have been around now and again since the 60s made them popular, so you should be able to source a pair for this purpose. You may even have a pair of your own from when they made a comeback. They really stand out on their own, so just pair it with an off-the-shoulder bohemian-style top and some platform heels.
Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, and find a sleek black dress and black silk gloves that go up to the elbows, and wear your hair in a teased up-do. Opt for a natural makeup look with a black cat eye or wingtip.
A tight pair of high-waist capris paired with some simple ballet flats or simple athletic sneakers. On the top, a short-sleeve blouse with a modest collar in a polka dot print will suffice. You can wear your hair in a flipped-outward bob if your hair is short enough to pull off this style.
Ivy League Prep
The ivy league look wasn’t just popular for men, it is something that you can wear as a woman as well. You can opt for a simple pair of skinny pants as a bottom choice. A button-down shirt is topped off with an ivy league collegiate sweater of some sort.
This is definitely a vintage find that you may have to do some searching for. Ask around to see if you have a family member that has something put away that will work for this look. If you can’t find something with a noticeable letter on the front, try to find the classic V-neck sweater with the collegiate stripes on the neck and bottom.
We hope that something within this article piqued your interest and you’re on your way to creating the best 60s outfit possible. You don’t have to layer on all kinds of 60s-themed attire.
Sometimes, just finding that one perfect item is all that you need to really make heads turn. You’ll have people begging to know where you came up with your idea. Don’t forget to send them our way!
Our guide to 1960s fashion has hopefully provided you with some information about this decade and why it’s such an important part of our fashion world today. If you’re looking to throw on some retro swag, or you just wanted to learn more about how today’s styles reflect what’s been popular in the past, these chapters were a comprehensive collection of 1960s style information.
If you have any questions about 1960s fashion or fashion in general, please leave us a comment below. We also ask you to share this post with anyone that you know who may also find it interesting. Check out some of our other posts to learn about similar information from different decades.