Overview of the 1960sClothing styles have always mirrored the prevailing attitudes of thetimes and this is certainly true of fashion in the 1960s. The decade wasmarked by sweeping social change and the domination of youth culture- baby boomers were growing up and demanded their own fashionstyle.Designers responded with a much more liberal, daring approach tofashion, boasting colourful fabrics and bold designs.The 1960s saw fashion reject the conventions and niceties of previouseras. Clothing broke with social traditions that dictated what could beworn when and by whom. In the past, attire had been divided in toformal and casual wear, and distinct separations were made betweenthe styles of clothing worn by men and women. The 1960s, however,saw the emergence of unisex clothing such as denim jeans, which couldbe worn by both sexes.
Women: The MiniskirtThe 1960s saw the appearance of the mini-skirt. Up until that time, skirtsand dresses in Australia finished sensibly at the knee. New soaringhemlines created huge controversy when they first appeared, exposingcentimetres of thigh never before seen in public.At the Melbourne Cup in 1965, English model Jean Shrimpton createdcontroversy by wearing a synthetic white shift dress with a hem highabove her knees. She did not wear stockings, gloves or a hat. Shrimptonsoutfit was considered scandalous, and made headlines around the world.By the end of the decade, however, shift dresses and mini-skirts hadbecome widely accepted.Mini-skirts represent more than just a fashion landmark of the decade -they have become an icon of the general culture of rebellion thatcharacterised the 1960s. Young people were rejecting the social standardsof the past and so too was their fashion. Many devotees of the feministmovement of the 1960s also saw the mini-skirt as a claim to the right ofwomen to proudly display their bodies as they wished.
HippiesTowards the end of the 1960s, the hippie movement hadarrived in Australia. Many young people had becomedissatisfied with the prevailing mainstream social values,considering them to be shallow and materialistic. Othersstrongly opposed Australian involvement in the VietnamWar. Whatever their motivation, many young people beganembracing the values of peace, love and freedom andsought an alternative way of life.Many people embraced communal living and a nomadiclifestyle, explored Eastern religions, experimented withdrugs and adopted a rebellious style of dress.
HippiesClothing styles and fabrics were inspired bynon-Western cultures, such as Indian and African.Natural fabrics and tie-dyed and paisley prints werealso popular. Many people handcrafted their ownclothes and accessories and personal items were often decoratedwith beads and fringes. Bare feet or leather sandals were typicalhippie fashion and flowers and peace signs became symbols of themovement. Both men and women let their hair grow long and mencommonly grew facial hair.The hippie movement also influenced other clothing styles. Denimjeans, which had remained a staple wardrobe item for many youngpeople throughout the decade, were inspired by hippie fashion.New styles of denim jeans emerged, such as the bell-bottomed, tie-dyed, marbled and painted jeans.
Men: mods vs rockersIf you lived the 60s, you were probably a Mod at one stage,and if you weren’t, you were a Rocker. The two werenotorious rivals. The Rockers were heavily into 50s rock-androll, big bikes like the Harley Davidson, leather jackets and‘Elvis’ greased back hairstyles. The Mods were classier,listening to British bands such as The Beatles. They preferredVespers over Harleys and took their trends from respectableFrench and Italian clothes designers. Most commonly theywore tailored suits with slim shirts, pants and skinny tiesslimmed down to just an inch.
Mods & RockersWhilst Mods were part of the 60s fashion revolution, Rockers wereleft out of it. Their liking for the purity of 50s style Rock music and arebellious look from a decade ago meant they were outcasts. Modsand Rockers did not get on. Rockers thought Mods were effeminate,stuck-up or snobbish. It was a common jibe that they "couldnt tellthe birds from the blokes". Mods thought Rockers were old-fashioned, dirty, greasy and uncouth. However, there was not an allout war between the two tribes.Mods and Rockers rarely met, except for Bank Holiday weekends inMargate, Brighton, Hastings and Southend from 1964 onwards.Their violent clashes were constantly and sensationally reported innewspapers such as the Daily Mail.
Men: EdwardianA bit further down the line, specifically the year of 1966,men embraced the Edwardian movement. Double-breasted suits in velvet were worn by men followingicons such as Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Thesesuits were accompanied with brocade waistcoats, shirtswith frilled collars and longer hair as opposed to theprevious shorter styles. All variations of colors, stripesand patterns were evident in this so-called ‘dandified’look. The Nehru jacket also came about in this time andwas popular with both men and women.
Men: FlamboyanceTowards the end of the decade, fashion became evencrazier, people were not afraid to customize theirclothing. Hippies were born and men became more intouch with their feminine side with long hair, polka dotneckties, paisley patterned shirts and florescent colours.Skinny became wide; for example, bell-bottomedtrousers and ties returning to the 5″ width. Nearly everyitem of clothing was tie-dyed or produced with floralprints, pop art and paisley patterns. Neckwear wascommonly sold with the shirt together and designerscontinued to play with bold colours.
Men: TurtlenecksA staple in the men’s wardroberevitalization of the 1960s;turtlenecks were paired witheverything from a blazer, to asweater, to a vest. Every colour andconstruction of turtleneck wasworn by men in the 60s, beatnikspreferred black of course.
Men: Nehru CollarUsed in both jacket and shirt collars, this Indian inspired lookhas a mandarin type stand up collar and is tight fitting withsmall buttons from neck to waist. Famous nehru wearersinclude The Beatles, The Monkees, and Dr. Evil.
HairHead coverings changed dramatically towards the end of the decade asmens hats went out of style, replaced by the bandana, if anything at all.As men let their hair grow long, the Afro became the hairstyle of choicefor African Americans. Mop-top hairstyles were most popular for whiteand Hispanic men, beginning as a short version around 1963 through1964, developing into a longer style worn during 1965-66, eventuallyevolving into an unkempt hippie version worn during the 1967-69period which continued in the early 1970s. Facial hair, evolving in itsextremity from simply having longer sideburns, to moustaches andgoatees, to full-grown beards became popular with young men from1966 onwards.Womens hair styles ranged from beehive hairdos in the early part ofthe decade to the very short styles popularized by Twiggy just five yearslater to a very long straight style as popularized by the hippies in thelate 1960s. Between these extremes, the chin-length contour cut andthe pageboy were also popular.
Fashion IconsThroughout the 1960s, a number of famous people sported distinct fashionstyles that were copied all over the world.British teenage supermodel Leslie Hornby, also known as Twiggy due to herstick-thin figure, was a fashion idol to young girls everywhere. Her short,boyish haircut and leggy, waif-like frame graced the covers of every majorfashion magazine.While 1960s fashion was largely youth-driven, fashion icons also dictatedthe style of older women. Throughout her career, movie star AudreyHepburn wore simple, flat shoes, three-quarter length pants, and plainblack shift dresses. Her clothing style and her beehive hairdo, would becopied by millions of women worldwide.Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of US President John F. Kennedy, became widelyknown for her beauty, grace and elegant style of dress. Her many publicappearances popularised pearl necklaces, the pillbox hat (a small hat with aflat top and straight sides) and simple, big-buttoned suits.