There’s no denying that the 60s were one of fashion’s most defining eras. Setting the tone for modern style, the decade revolutionized women’s fashion with bold colors, striking cuts and a youthful, rebellious attitude. It is therefore not surprising that 50 years later, the great trends of the time continue to influence designers, stylists and fashion lovers all over the world. To channel the era’s unforgettable aesthetic, take a look at our guide to ’60s women’s fashion.
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1960s women’s fashion
The sixties were a time when traditions were broken and self-expression was encouraged. Influenced by the youth of the time, the decade was rich in style inspirations. Moving away from the primitive and proper 50s and into a rebellious new era, 60s fashion was revolutionary. The main fashion styles of the decade included mod, beatnik and hippie looks, all of which captured the crafty, fun and free spirit of the era.
The mod subculture began in London in the late 1950s before spreading across the world throughout the 1960s. A signature style for the era, the “London look” mod made a lasting impression who continues to influence fashion today. The look, which was creative and daring, was a favorite among the youth of the time, who wore modern designs, bright colors and raised hems.
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The beat generation and beatnik fashion continued from the 1950s to the early 1960s. The style was worn by young people who were interested in the arts, literature, poetry, and music, especially jazz. Their unofficial uniform consisted of black turtlenecks and pants, berets and striped tops, among other items.
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Originating from the beat movement, the hippie counterculture defined the late 60s. The group was known for its rebellious attitude towards repressive societies and its celebration of freedom, nature and peace. Hippie men and women let their hair grow long and wild. They wore bell bottom jeans, fringe, floral prints, peasant blouses and other colorful designs.
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The miniskirt made its debut in the 60s and changed women’s fashion forever. With its daringly cropped design, the skirt shocked conservatives by allowing ladies to show off their legs in defiance of conformity. Today, the mini shirt is still an incredibly popular women’s fashion item. To wear one like in the 60s, team it with sandals in the summer and high boots in cold weather.
A favorite of mods of the decade, shift dresses were a signature style of the ’60s. Cropped cut with an A-line silhouette; these shapeless dresses proved the perfect alternative to the restrictive styles of previous years. Today, thanks to their chic and comfortable design, shift dresses are still popular. Choose one in a bold hue or a solid color pattern for a fun 60s style.
Bold and striking prints were a staple of sixties style and they appeared on a variety of garments. Perfect for turning heads, these loud and proud prints ranged from psychedelic patterns to striking florals, tie-dye, bold stripes and colorful checks. To embrace the look today, choose a matching dress, top or ensemble in a multi-colored or black and white print.
The love of 60s colors didn’t stop at dresses and tops. It has also found its place on colorful tights. A quirky, youthful addition to outfits, colorful tights were a modern alternative to suspender stockings, which weren’t ideal for wearing with miniskirts and short dresses. You can channel the look today with a pair in a striking hue, like purple, orange, red, or yellow.
Go-go boots are an iconic shoe style of the 60s. Introduced in the middle of the decade, these shoes were traditionally white, low-heeled and finished at mid-calf. However, over time the term has grown to include a variety of similar styles, including knee-high versions, other colors, and kitten-heeled designs. Choose your favorite to rock with a mini skirt for a retro chic outfit.
60s hairstyles were exciting and iconic. From big bouffant styles and bohemian bangs to long hippie waves and chic pixie cuts, the decade produced many unforgettable looks. Today, many of these bold styles are still very popular. So if you’re looking for a 60s twist, try rocking curtain bangs like Brigitte Bardot or a Twiggy-esque crop, or add some combing to your usual wavy locks.
In the 60s, makeup consisted of big eyes, pale lips and matte complexions. As such, thick, winged eyeliner was a prominent look for the decade. But that wasn’t the only way ’60s women made their eyes pop. Long, spidery lashes a la Twiggy, eyeshadow in cool tones like blue, and bold makeup in cut pleats were also popular trends. Of course, with such a focus on the eyes, the rest of the face was kept subtle with a pale matte foundation, groomed natural brows and bare lips.
During the 1960s, jewelry trends changed dramatically. At the start of the decade, glamor reigned supreme with shimmering gold patterns and feminine pearls. However, as the decade progressed and mod fashion spread, jewelry became eye-catching plastic creations. These bold accessories were influenced by pop art and featured striking designs, geometric shapes and bright colors. Key pieces included large earrings, large rings and bracelets. Of course, these styles weren’t for everyone, so hippies opted for more simplistic designs, including handcrafted beaded pieces and peace symbol necklaces.
1960s fashion icons
The 60s had a slew of fashion icons, including models, actresses, musicians, and more. One of the biggest was undoubtedly Twiggy, who became the face of 60s style and the mod look. Of course, she wasn’t the only one influencing the way women dressed. Model Jean Shrimpton, singer and actress Jane Birkin and designer Mary Quant have also made an impact on the English fashion scene. In America, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy lead the dance while in France, blonde bombshell, Brigette Bardot reigns.
What did women wear in the 60s?
The 60s were an interesting and transformative decade for fashion. This helped set the tone for modern women’s fashion, and the bold colors and prints were embraced by women of the time. There was a rebellious approach to clothing and a more laid-back aesthetic, with free-spirited hippie looks and fashion styles that included mod and beatnik. Key garments included mini skirts, shift dresses, colorful tights and go-go boots.
How do you dress like in the 60s?
If you want to dress like you’re in the 60s, take inspiration from key movements of the era, including mod, beatnik and hippie. You can also go for bright colors and interesting prints, including floral, tie-dye and checkered patterns. An example of an outfit would be a simple shift dress, paired with colorful tights, or a mini dress paired with go-go boots. When it came to hair, there was a variety to choose from, from pixie cuts and big bouffant styles to long waves. Makeup focused on eyes, natural eyebrows, matte complexions and pale nude lips.
What were the fashion trends in the 1960s?
Some of the trends that emerged from the 1960s included mod and shift dresses, skirts paired with colorful tights, bold patterns and prints including tie-dye, go-go boots and mini skirts. It was a decade that revolutionized women’s fashion and had a rebellious, youthful attitude.
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