With the influence of British fashion, the rise of daring hemlines and the breakout of Twiggy, there was plenty to be inspired by in the 1960s. The ’60s saw the break from traditional fashion in favour of colourful, fresh trends characterised by the miniskirt, mod dresses and Bohemian-inspired prints.
The swinging sixties were a time where traditions were broken, and self-expression was encouraged. The introduction of birth control encouraged women to seek a new kind of freedom, with the youth of the time moving away from the prim and proper ’50s into a rebellious new time. The ’60s were revolutionary, with key fashion styles of the decade including mod, beatnik and hippie looks, all of which captured the artful, fun and free spirit of the time.
Below, the ’60s best fashion trends.
Mod Mini Dresses
The mod subculture began in London in the late ’50s before quickly spreading around the world to create the now iconic sixties style. A signature style for the era, a mod look make a lasting impression that continues to influence fashion today. The style, which was creative and bold, was a favourite amongst the youth of the day, who wore modern designs, bright colours and raised hemlines. Characterised by the signature short A-line silhouette, the shapeless mod dress was often seen in fun block-coloured designs.
The ‘beat generation’ and subsequent beatnik fashion era was prominent in the 1960s. The style emerged out of beat ideology and developed into an aesthetic all of its own. The style was worn by young individuals who were interested in arts, literature, poetry, and music, particularly jazz. The unofficial uniform consisted of black turtlenecks, trousers, berets and striped tops.
Possibly one of the ’60s key style staples, the introduction of the miniskirt would change fashion forever. Thanks to its daring design, the skirt echoed the political feelings at the time, shocking conservatives by allowing women to show off their legs in defiance of conformity. Today, the miniskirt is still an incredibly popular women’s fashion item. To wear one as they did in the ’60s, pair it with sandals in summer or knee-high boots and coloured stockings in winter
Bold and striking prints were an essential element of sixties style and they appeared on a variety of clothing items – from skirts, dresses, hats and even stockings. These loud and proud prints ranged from psychedelic designs to striking florals, tie-dye, bold stripes and colourful checks, all of which are now quintessentially sixties.
The ’60s love of colour characterised the decade, and it wasn’t limited to dresses, tops and skirts. The colour trend found its way onto tights, paired with the bold and colourful shift dresses and miniskirts. Hosiery manufacturers of the time like Mary Quant combined the ‘Flower Power’ style of dress and the Pop Art school of design to create fashion tights that would appeal to a female audience that enjoyed psychedelia.
Possibly one of the most iconic fashion moments to come out of the ’60s was the go-go boots. The original go-go boots, as defined by André Courrèges in 1964, were white, low-heeled, and mid-calf in height, a specific style which is sometimes called the Courrèges boot. Since then, the term go-go boot has come to include the knee-high, square-toed boots with block heels. The go-go boot is presumed to have been named after the dance style.
At the beginning of the decade, glamour reigned supreme with glitzy, gold designs and feminine pearls, as seen on silver screen icon Audrey Hepburn. However, as the decade moved forward, and mod fashion caught on, jewellery became all about eye-catching plastic creations. These bold accessories were influenced by pop art and featured striking designs, geometric shapes and bright colours. Key pieces included large earrings, big rings and bangles.
The 1960s were an age of fashion innovation for women. The early 1960s gave birth to drainpipe jeans and capri pants, which were worn by icon Audrey Hepburn. Traditionally, trousers had been viewed by western society as masculine, but by the early 1960s, it had become acceptable for women to wear them every day.
Later in the ’60s, a ‘Californian-cool’ style was adopted. Hippie style began to be embraced and Mod culture shifted to a more laid back, Bohemian style. Ponchos, moccasins, love beads, peace signs, medallion necklaces, chain belts, polka dot-printed fabrics, and long, puffed ‘bubble’ sleeves were popular fashions in the late 1960s.