The sixties was one of the most swinging times of the last century with social taboos crumbling down, with raging wars and not to forget, ever changing streets of fashion. With so much going on the socio-political front, it’s not surprising that people in the swinging sixties, especially the young ones found many platforms to express their turbulent lives. Fashion in this era was cut above the social norms, with new trends creeping in the mainstream every few years. 60’s clothes for men and women were much different than the 50’s fashion as the mini skirt and the mod style came in the loop and big swing skirts or long pencil skirts of the 50s vanished gradually from women’s wardrobes.
1960’s Clothing Styles for WomenOne thing that shaped 1960’s clothes and fashion was the bulging wallets of the youth. As the young generation was earning more than ever during that time, consumerism hit the roof with more and more people were seen shopping to don the latest looks.
As a result, the apparel companies, boutiques and fashion designers flourished and so did the retro fashion.
The hemlines of the skirts rose 7 to 8 inches from the knee and thus came the mini skirt into existence. Even though, mini skirts became one of the gospels of 60’s clothes, it was not until the mid to late sixties that they fawned their way to the ladies’ hearts and closets.
When Ursula Andress wore a bikini with a revolver on in the James Bond movie Dr. No in 1962, the onscreen bikini revolution did its part in paving way for a sexual awakening of the 60s. These two-pieces became the most popular swimwears at that time, though ironically only 15% of them actually used to hit the waters. Though the young and the restless of the sixties broke away from the mold with the demise of stockings, older women still held on to their Chanel suits and beehive hairstyles.
Conservatism in sixties style clothes was put on a back burner when the hippie age dawned. The hippie movement or the age of peace and love, as it was fondly called, not only saw a increasing drug culture but also left its impressions on the fashion trends. To be precise, impressions of psychedelic bold patterns and floral power. “Anything goes” was the motto of that era, and keeping with 1960’s hippy clothing theme, it meant anything sewn or made by you was acceptable.
Loose tie dye shirts and tops were cherished by the hippies. Long flowing skirts and of course, flower power became clichéd statements of the 60’s clothes. Jeans with patches and bell-bottoms were as much of a woman’s attire as they were 1960’s clothing for men. Without the mention of the maxies and the brightly colored shift dresses with geometrical patterns, summarizing 1960’s clothes for women would be unfair. These dresses conquered London and rest of the world when designers like Dior, YSL, Halston, etc. became agog with maxi style clothes, and thus remaining in vogue even in the next decade to come.
1960’s Clothing Styles for Men
This fabulous decade kicked out conventionalities and embraced conflicts and peace with open arms. 60’s saw many youthquakes like the Mod movement, the rock revolution and reign of the skinhead, each imparting its own distinct imprints on the haute couture of the men’s clothing and fashion.
First came the Modernist a.k.a Mods, their religion was jazz and they worshiped music. The ripples of teenage music cult transcended to fashion. Teen boys and young men were seen wearing slim-fit tapered pants, with Fred Perry tennis shirts and striped blazers. Donning the army parka coats and desert boots, these young lads pranced around the streets of London in the beginning of 60s. Sooner or later, this Mod movement fanned out to the rest of the world, reaching New York, Paris and other hip places. Over the time, Jazz was dethroned by the Rhythm and Blues in the mod culture and 60’s clothes for men became apparently more bold and colorful.
Another one of the subculture of 1960s fashion, was the Rockers. They constantly rivaled against the Mods, for attention and style statement. Black jeans and leather jackets was the skin of the Rockers and their soul was Rock music. This small but fiercely loyal tribe used to ride their hefty bikes, challenging the Mods at every nook and corner whom they considered as nothing but snoots. However, during the mid 60s, these styles were so done to death among the youth rebels, that they abandoned it due to its sheer popularity.
Bohemian, hippies, and skinheads were the next fashion frenzy that hit the cities and towns. As the mod scene slowly died away, men especially the young ones were hypnotized by the hippie subculture and 1960’s hippies fashion ruled the roost for quite some time.
Hippie men dressed in bell bottoms and wore fringed leather jackets. Like their female counterparts, they had long hair and wore a head band and tie dye shirts. Untrimmed facial hair was the in thing among hippie males. Peace symbols, leather jackets, Afro hairstyle, and flowers became iconic symbols of the 60’s clothes. As the baby boomers loved the hippie culture and this kind of 1960’s clothing, this style lasted in the mainstream even during the 70s.
A dominant subculture group called the Skinheads made headlines at the end of the 60’s era. They were named so because of their short, but not bald hairstyles. These young men were mostly violent and racist, mostly bashing “Pakis” and South East Asians. However, skinheads were also found to have a distinct style of dressing. They wore blue denim jeans with rolled up hems along with jackets mostly denim. They wore steel toe boots and used to roll up their jeans so that their boots are highlighted. Tattoo was a part of the skinhead image which flaunted their culture and beliefs. Later many more subcultures were born which were offshoots of skinheads, each having its distinct style of dressing and notions.
60’s was one of the most exciting decades and it’s no wonder that so many fashion trends came and went during this era. The 60’s clothes reminds us of grooving Mods, peace loving hippies, punk skinheads and mostly outrageous fashion.