Fashion in the 1960s was in one word, different. People in the sixties knew what style meant and knew how to start a trend with a particular form of style. Let it be the 1960s' fashion for men or women, it had everything.
When you say fashion, it should be so great that it makes a style statement that lasts forever. Most of us don't know who invented the mini skirts (The mini skirts were also an invention of the 60s, invented by Mary Quant) or the hipsters but we wear them even today, don't we?
Jackie Kennedy and Colleen Corby became the iconic faces of the fashion for women while The Beatles and Brian Jones generalized the styles for men. The hippies brought in another era of completely different styles.
Also, we can't forget the memorable space look by famous French designer Andre Courreges. The sixties saw a numerous changes in the fashion segment and gave birth to styles that made statements that last even today, a few of which are discussed here.
Fashion Trends of the 1960s
The early 60s' fashion clothing focused more on the fashion for women with Jacqueline Kennedy being one of the most famous icons making a statement with her pillbox hats. However, the men were an equal part of the fashion segment paparazzi.
One of the biggest change was in the color of clothes, with designers turning more experimental with different bright colors. Jackets without collars, leather boots and trouser straps were few of the most important fashion elements back then which were accompanied with wide ties. Another mention here would be of the crazy patterns on the ties.
The Mods, short for Modernists was a subculture that was born in London. Though this subculture was born in the 1950s, it peaked in the mid 60s. The signature style of this subculture included pop music, fashion and Italian motor scooters such as Vespas or Lambrettas. These brought in a complete different way of styling.
According to Paul Jobling and David Crowley, this culture was fashion-obsessed and hedonistic cult of the hyper-cool. The look of the Mods consisted of mostly Italian suits (white) and button-down collar shirts. The suits had narrow lapels while the ties were thin and were mostly common Italian and French combination of colors.
Mohair clothes were another main characteristic of the Mod clothing along with cashmere or wool jumpers. When it came to the shoes, the winklepickers topped the list with Chelsea and Beatle boots following in almost equal competition. Boots also included the Bowling shoes and the Clarks Desert Boots.
Scooters were an integral part of the entire style statement as they reduced greasing unlike motorcycles. Physical appearance was given the most importance in the Mod subculture to an extent that a song called Dedicated Follower of Fashion by The Kinks actually joked about the obsession then.
For the hairstyles, it mostly revolved around the Jean-Paul Belmondo look. Military parkas were another part of the 1960s' fashion for men, as these parkas saved the expensive suits from rain and greasing.
A prominent name associated with the entire fashion scene back then was John Stephen who also had a major role in the formation of Swinging London, being a designer of Carnaby street.
In the late sixties, say around 1967, the hippie look defined fashion for most men. This was an androgynous style of dressing which means it was not particularly for men or women but for both. It was the time for bell-bottomed jeans, pajamas and shirts with psychedelic prints and the famous tie-dyed and work shirts.
Accompanying this look were the sandals and headbands. This entire generation made a revolution of sorts that spread to the whole world. Animal prints also gained popularity during this time and so did the hemp and Woodstock look. Bandannas had replaced the entire era of hats, as men now preferred their hair long instead of short.
One of the most peculiar changes during the late 60s was the style of maintaining facial hair. Men started keeping big stylish mustaches and beards, the goatee being a common statement.
Designers such as Yves Saint-Laurent, Oleg Cassini, Valentino Garavani, Hubert de Givenchy and Andre Courreges, who had reigned during the 60s, suddenly took a backseat of sorts after the emergence of the hippie culture. The hippies believed in dressing only for necessity and not luxury, which was very much contradictory to the Mods.
The skinheads were a set of people who were inspired by the Mods but had comparatively less money to spend on luxury clothing. Skinheads were symbolized by people who clean shaved their heads, and belonged to the working class. They wore brands like Fred Perry and Ben Sherman and did not sport anything apart from normal short or long sleeve button up shirts.
Sweatshirts and cardigan sweaters were another common part of their attire, usually with checked patterns. Jackets were very famous among the skinheads with the variety ranging from Harrington jackets to flight jackets to denim jackets to donkey jackets to even monkey jackets.
Jeans by Levis, Wrangler and Lee were very famous with slacks being a second option. Another peculiar way of dressing by this sub culture was to wear their jeans short, so as to flaunt the socks, or the complete upper part of the shoes.
So, basically, 1960s' fashion for men was not only revolutionary, but also very different. Fashion in the sixties also symbolized revolution in the form of sexual liberation and liberation of spirit. Today, there are a few celebrities who still have a style that resemble that of the 60s which tells us that the fashion is not even close to over yet!