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Dress Like the 60s Fashion With 15 Iconic Trends and Looks

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When it comes to fashion, not many decades can rival the sartorial impact of the ‘Swinging Sixties.’

Inspired by the ‘Space Race’ of the Cold War, popular SCI-FI series, and the second wave of feminism, the 60s was a decade of self-expression and creativity.

For women, the 60s fashion revolutionized the concept of womenswear, bending gender norms with radical looks, bold colors, and a rebellious attitude.

With The Beatles leading the way, the 60s fashion for men was artful and defined by fun hues, moving away from the classic and proper looks of the past decade.

London’s Modernists’ social and stylistic movements took over in England, while hippie fashion was booming in the US as a visual protest against war and violence.





1. The Skirt-Suit Look

The Skirt Suit in the 1960s Fashion

The Skirt Suit in the 1960s Fashion was popularized by celebrities like Audrey Hepburn (left) and Diahann Carroll (right) and haute fashion houses such as Marucelli (middle). – thevou.com

Ladylike wool skirt suits inspired by the Preppy movement began to showcase lasting power, with multiple color variations taking over women’s fashion in the 60s.

Structural but feminine, the suits consisted of a-line and straight pencil skirts that ended right at the knee, accompanied by jackets to create a long-necked effect.

The Skirt Suit of The 60s Fashion

The Skirt Suit of The 60s Fashion was famously styled by the first lady, Jackie Kennedy, in the 1960s. – thevou.com





Popularized by America’s First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy – spotted wearing blue, yellow, lime green, and white – the skirt suits became a status symbol that spoke of feminine ideal with a Parisian flair.

Prominent fashion designers like Givenchy, Paco Rabanne, and Balenciaga accessorized this beloved 60s look with white gloves, pearls, and matching hats.

2. The Minidress Look

Youthful minidresses of the 1960s

Youthful minidresses of the 1960s. – thevou.com

Era-defining youthful minidresses in the 60s became an ode to rebellion, representing a fashion statement and a shift in societal dynamics.

Hemlines tend to shorten with the times, and during the 60s, body-skimming, youthful mini dresses gained international superstardom.

Women were rocking minis that fell at the upper thigh, mingling and dancing to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

60s Fashion Youthful Colors in London

60s Fashion Youthful Colors popularized by Swinging London in the 1960s. – thevou.com





The trend peaked in ‘Swinging London,’ the mecca of art, music, and fashion.

Youthful psychedelic prints in vibrant colors epitomized women’s freedom of expression, creativity, hedonism, and excitement.

Styled with mid-calf boots, mid-sized stacked heels, and Mary Janes, 60s minidresses were dopamine-inducing, sultry-dressing looks that defied the older generation and fashion traditions.

3. The Hippie Style

1960s Hippie Styles in the 60s Fashion

1960s Hippie Styles in the 60s Fashion. – thevou.com

In loud prints and bright colors, the 60s hippie looks became a symbol of anti-fashion and rejecting the status quo.

Popularized by the times’ fashion icons, the hippie style was colorful and had a spiritual feel, representing peace and love.

The children of ‘Flower-power‘ protested against war, civil injustice, and other social issues with a sense of style reflecting striving for change.

Floral dresses, tie-dyes, geometric prints that tapped into psychedelic territory, suede knee-high boots, sandals, and micro-mini skirts defined women’s looks in the 60s.

Beaded jewelry adorned the wrists and necks of both men and women, with 60s men’s fashion focusing on bell bottoms styled with a bell or flared sleeve blouses.

Bright prints, kaftans, and florals were not a women-only affair anymore but a staple of every men’s outfit in the 60s.

4. Etno-Bohemian Menswear

Jimi Hendrix Colorful Menswear in the 1960s

Colorful menswear style popularized by the iconic Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. – thevou.com

As music permeated the 60s fashion sphere, the iconic Teddy boy look took over men’s fashion, bringing paisley suits, shirts, and trousers with floral patterns.

During the 60s, Boho style and Asian-inspired collarless shirts and sandals styled with fringed jackets were all the rage.

1960s Colorful Menswear Fashion

1960s outfits for men gained further popularity thanks to the iconic British music band, The Beatles. – thevou.com





The Beetles led the colorful menswear revolution in the 60s, making leather jackets, tailored mod suits, and kaftans the new stylistic norm.

Another 60s men’s fashion staple was the Beatle boot; the Cuban-heeled, ankle-high boot reached top popularity in the 60s fashion trends thanks to the English rock group.

5. Leopard Prints

1960s Animal Prints Fashion

1960s Animal Prints Fashion – Barbra Streisand and Zsa Zsa Gabor wearing animal prints in 1965. – thevou.com

Another popular smart casual wear trend of the mid-sixties was the women’s dresses in cheetah and leopard.

Made famous by style icons like Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor, women of the sixties led the way with head-to-toe leopard ensembles.

With fur hats, mini skirts, knee-length coats, flat shoes, and gloves, this 60s women’s fashion trend was so popular that the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan wrote “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” as a style tribute.

6. Bandanas and Headscarves

1960s Headscarves Fashion

Eartha Kitt wearing headscarves in the 1960s. – thevou.com

Bandana head scarves with polka dots, geometric prints, and monochrome versions were a considerable part of 60 black fashion, which also became a part of the 60 fashion hippie aesthetic.

1960s Christian Dior campaign featured long silk scarves with bright prints tied around the hair, and many 60s Hollywood stars adopted the look right afterward.

Classy, modern women recreated the look with loosely-tied headpieces for all occasions, styled with oversized sunglasses.





7. Space-Age Vinyl Outfits

The 1960s Space Age Vinyls

In the 1960s, ‘Space Age’ vinyl outerwear permeated the 60s look thanks to designers like Pierre Cardin (left) and Rudi Gernreich (right). – thevou.com

British designer Mary Quant was the first couturier to use PVC fabric in her 1960s fashion collections for women.

The trend caught the masses’ imagination, and soon after, many more high-end designers and creatives like Andre Courreges, Pierre Cardin, and Barbara Hulanicki embarked on the trend.

60’s vinyl trench coats in bright colors dominated the era with architectural shapes and clean-lined geometric patterns ranging from square to circular.

Mini skirts, shoulder bags, and shiny white boots were spotted on celebrities like Joanna Lumley, Britt Ekland, and Brigitte Bardot.

8. Androgynous Clothing

1960s Androgynous Clothing

Androgynous clothing was one of the biggest 1960s fashion trends, styled by the 60s fashion icon Bianca Jagger (left). – thevou.com

The first signs of power dressing appeared during the 1960s women’s fashion revolution that changed gender norms.

Pop and rock music artists assisted in creating gender-bending fashion looks, from Mick Jagger wearing the ‘man’s dress’ designed by British designer Mr. Fish to Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Cher, and Tina Turner, hailed as 60s fashion icons.

1960s Le Smoking Suit Fashion Style

‘Le Smoking Suit’, introduced by Yves Saint Laurent in 1966, became a major fashion trend in the 60s. – (thevou.com)





Yves Saint Laurent’s radical tuxedo design, Le Smoking, reflected the need for women to take on a more ‘aggressive’ role amidst the second wave of feminism.

By definition, an androgynous fashion look, the ‘Le Smoking’ suit consisted of a classic wool (or satin) dinner blazer, trousers, a white shirt, a bow tie, and a satin cummerbund.

9. Sequin Dresses

1960s Sequin Dresses

The sequin dresses of the 1960s were popularized by celebrity icons such as Eartha Kitt (left) and Diana Ross in ‘The Supremes’ (right), a show of the 60s. – (thevou.com)

The ’60s women’s trends didn’t lack glamour, as depicted by the evening wear in crystal beads and sequin embroidery.

Thanks to The Supremes, who popularized shimmery dresses, glitter, gold, and silver lame took over women’s eveningwear of that decade.

Moving on from the classic black dress look of the previous decade, colorful clothing was all the rage in the 60s.

Colors permeated even the eveningwear, with vivid red, dark purple, bright pink, and green being the most prominent hues.

10. Color Blocking Look

Color-blocking 60s Fashion Trends

Color-blocking was made famous by fashion designers such as Pierre Cardin (left) and Yves Saint Laurent in 1960s fashion. – thevou.com

The 60s trends are also credited for introducing color blocking for women and men seeking the freedom of self-expression.

Yves Saint Laurent debuted the trend with a Piet Mondrian-inspired sack dress, which later inspired the birth of the British Mod Style trend.

Some of the most popular 60s fashion looks consisted of two to three bold and bright shades with simple cuts, boxy shapes, and geometric lines with a modern, chic flair.

11. Seethrough Sheers Look

1960s Sheer Dress

Another 60s iconic moment includes Jane Birkin’s see-through 1969 sheer dress (left) and the ostrich feathers dress by Yves Saint Laurent Paris for his Autumn-winter 1968 collection (right). – thevou.com

The ’60s fashion hippie movement was not the only one that embraced nudity as self-expression.

In the 60s, see-through sheers were paired with golden accessories, sequin dresses, and sheer-topped everything.

Primarily worn in the evening, this 60s-style dress came in nude-colored bodices and had nothing in common with the previous decade of conservative, ladylike elegance.

60s Sheer Dress

A popular 60s sheer dress worn by Diana Ross. – thevou.com





Above all, Yves Saint Laurent’s transparent chiffon dress and ostrich feather belt emphasized the chest, giving birth to the ‘nude’ look that ignited a new approach to 1960s clothing for women.

12. Cut-Out Dresses

1960s Cut-out Fashion

Cut-out dresses as seen at Berkertex ’66 fashion show (left) and Rudi Gernreich’s 60s collections (right). – thevou.com

Cut-out dresses that let the skin peek through, just enough to capture the imagination, were the most popular garments for women in the 60s.

In comparison, eveningwear featured double or even triple large cut-outs at the top of the dress and multiple circle cut-outs at the waist or hem.

Pierre Cardin 60s Cut Out Dress

Pierre Cardin’s famous cut-out dress remains one of the most iconic fashion moments of the 60s. – thevou.com

The Austrian fashion designer Rudi Gernreich and model Peggy Moffitt showcased multiple variations of cut-outs in stylish shapes for everyday wear.

Pierre Cardin’s futuristic cut-out dress defined modernity, showing a brand-new way to wear cut-outs without revealing too much skin.

13. Handkerchiefs, Scarves, Neckties

Handkerchief Scarves in the 1960s Fashion

Angela Davis and Diana Ross styling handkerchief scarves in the 1960s Fashion. – thevou.com

Along with bandanas – that reigned supreme in the 60s black fashion – handkerchief scarves in bright colors and bold, printed fabrics were a popular 60s trend.

Paired with an array of ensembles, handkerchief scarves were draped over women’s shoulders or tied around the neck like a bib.

Also called silk neckties, handkerchiefs were coordinated with outfits consisting of skirts in leopard print, matching jackets, and oversized glasses frames.





14. Chain Belts

Chain Belts In The 1960s Fashion

Chain belts to accessorize a midi dress (left) or ribbed knit set (right) in the 1960s fashion. – thevou.com

Chain belts were another trend that took the fashion industry by storm in the 60s.

Made of gold or silver-colored metal rings secured with flat connectors, chain belts were some of the most popular accessories of the ’60s.

Popularized by Sophia Loren, chain belts gave a youthful look to mini dresses and an extra edge to clothing that defined the waist and gave shape to head-to-know knit ensembles.

15. Full Leather Outfits

1960s Leather Fashion

Whether a leather mini skirt with a leather biker jacket and high-knee leather boots (left) or a full-body biker leather jumpsuit (right), leather outfits were a big 1960s fashion trend, particularly in London. – thevou.com

As the mod subculture grew in London during the early-to-mid-1960s, tension grew between mods and their styles.

Classics favored rock’n’roll, motorcycles, and leather jackets, while ‘modernist mods’ had a more “effeminate” interest in fashion.

Clashes would ensue between the two groups, later immortalized by songwriter Pete Townshend in the Who’s 1973 concept album, Quadrophenia.

Inspired by the famous white patent leather boots of Andre Courrege and the classic mod style, the decade’s fashion stylists started to use leather for the entire outfit.

As fashion became more casual across all genders and ages, rebellious and alternative leather looks became synonymous with the female empowerment movement.

Punk-inspired leather jumpsuits, leather vests paired up with trousers, mini skirts styled with matching leather jackets, and thigh-height boots with low-heeled and mid-calf height reigned the stress of London.





60s Fashion FAQs​

What were fashion trends in the 1960s?


During the day, women of the 60s wore geometric dresses, shifts, suits with oversized buttons, and short, boxy jackets.

In the evening, some of the most popular styles of the 60s were tailored skirts with stiletto heel shoes and full-skirted evening gowns with low necklines and close-fitting waists.

How do you dress like the 60s?


The most accessible and affordable way to create a genuine sixties look for both men and women is to wear a 60s hippie look.

You’ll need a tie-dye t-shirt or jacket, bell bottoms or corduroy pants, sheepskin vests, mariner caps or headbands, sandals, and patches with flowers or peace symbols.





Conclusion​


1960s dresses, colorful clothing, jewelry, and accessories were beautifully matched by bouffant coiffure in a perfect blend of glamour, comfort, and freedom.

On the other hand, the 1960s sequined dresses and skirt suits for women continue to reinforce past decades’ ladylike styles and feminine glamour.

At the same time, new men’s 60s fashion looks emerged with flamboyant trousers and printed shirts designed to showcase one’s self-expression against the status quo.

Most importantly, the looks of the 60s fashion broke past stylistic traditions and brought a much-needed change to the world, led by the younger, free-spirited generation.

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