It’s not to say that other decades’ fashion scene is less interesting, but the 1960s is endlessly fascinating. Apart from several revolutionizing events in the world of music, the 1960s also saw some sweeping developments in the world of fashion. Like the music trends of the 1960s, the fashion trends of the 1960s are highly influential and still resonate in today’s style.
Finding out more about the iconic 1960s fashion scene is essential if you want to become a true fashionista in the current era. You want to see which trends are timeless, and which have the potential to be brought back. In any case, it’s highly interesting to check out the fashion trends of this decade, so let’s look at a few of them below:
One of the firsts that began in the 1960s is the miniskirt, which is said to have been created by the iconic British fashion designer Mary Quant (pictured here). This leg-baring piece of clothing quickly became all the rage. It was hence one of the defining fashion trends in this decade, not to mention its continued popularity to this date.
In fact, there are several fashion trends that are probably older than we think. We’ve covered them in a whole other article here:
While short skirts existed before, they were only restricted to dancers, athletes and cheerleaders. Quant’s creation came at the right moment, at a time when the “Swinging London” fashion was enjoying its peak. Since then, miniskirts have become one of the common garments in women’s fashion.
“Mod” is a fashion phenomenon that arose from the “Swinging London” trend. It came from an idea of the youths in London who wanted to embrace anything “new” and “cool” and “innovative.” This fashion emphasizes bright colors, long hair, boots, miniskirts, hot pants, and bold graphic prints — a stark contrast to the conservative style of the 1950s.
Brain Jones’ Haircut
Brian Jones is a late member of the English blues-rock group The Rolling Stones. He was among the ones who revived and popularized the 18th-19th century “dandy” look which is characteristic of the British “mod” fashion of the 1960s.
Post-WWII young professionals (or “yuppies,” though the term was later coined in the 1980s, by the way) were earning a lot. This led to a desire among them to wear clothes that were not too adult but were otherwise age-appropriate.
Designers such as Mary Quant came up with fashion styles that particularly aimed at young people who were leading an active urban lifestyle. Stores and boutiques that sold such “street style” clothing were fashionable and at the same time affordable so that young people could wear them on any occasion.
“Swinging London” Fashions
The British Invasion that exploded in the United States was one of the major factors for the world’s growing fascination towards the fashion and culture of 1960s London. Known as the “Swinging London,” this trend gave the world its first true “miniskirt”.
The first supermodels (such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton) also made the “mod” style popular. The styles also included designs such as the Union Jack, which was the British flag and symbol of national pride. This was emblazoned on anything from clothes to Mini Coopers.
Brigitte Bardot’s Transparent Top
French actress Brigitte Bardot proved that she was not only a sex icon but also a fashion icon during the 1960s. Her free and sexualized fashion style was evident, as many images portrayed her wearing a transparent top and a feathered boa.
Top Models as Inspirations for Regular Women
English models Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, American model Colleen Corby and the German model Veruschka, in particular, ruled the runways and magazine pages during the 1960s. Their statuesque beauty and fashion sense, especially during the peak of the Swinging Sixties, were copied by women and young girls who were their ardent followers.
The Cocktail Dress
The cocktail dress is a form-fitting dress which is usually embellished with lace and long sleeves. One of the prime examples of this sixties’ creation is a sleeveless cocktail dress decorated with metal discs. This was designed by Spanish designer Paco Rabanne in 1967. While cocktail dresses are still very much in vogue, it’s evident that the one in that decade was much more flamboyant and ostentatious.
The Wool Dress
US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is also considered one of the fashion icons of the 1960s. In one iconic picture, she is wearing a red wool dress and a matching jacket. Several more of her wool suits were also on display during her years in the political spotlight.
This particular fashion was an inspiration for ambitious women everywhere. It was simple, elegant, formal, and still exuded a professional vibe without being manly.
Although bell-bottom (or flare) pants are usually associated with 1970s fashion, they actually first came out in the late 1960s.
The Bikini’s Global Popularity
The two-piece swimsuit bikini was first introduced in the 1940s, but it shocked people because of its revealing and controversial design. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the bikini made a successful comeback. Since then, as we know, it has become common as women’s beachwear and swimwear.
Reading Up About Sixties Fashion
The fashion scene of the 60s is way too complex and varied to summarize in a few short topics. This is why it’s best to get a well-researched book on the subject. The title ‘Film, Fashion, and the 1960s’ is one of the best ways to start, especially if you have an interest in 60s fashion. Authored by Eugenia Paulicelli, this book is an interesting insight into the influential and unique trends of the 60s. Check it out here:
While the fashion trends in the 60s might be hard to understand, this is all the more reason why we should look into these styles in more details. The movies, films, and shows of that time were a major influence on the fashion scene back then, which is actually true of any decade.
What’s more, the fashions of that time were also used as a way to bring together cultural domains, express the freedom of youth, and make people more politically aware. Reading up about 60s fashion will hence teach us a lot about the social and economic aspects of that era. This will increase both our general knowledge and also make our fashion sense more pronounced.