Each decade brings with itself a unique set of fashion trends, but the 1960s differed from previous trends with all that they brought. Displaying a combination of fashion trends which were poles apart, the 60s set themselves as a benchmark for differing fashion. In the same way as the Roaring 20s encompassed fashion which spoke volumes for prevailing political times, and female empowerment, the 60s fashion attempted to make similar statements – albeit in a different manner. Older trends were improvised to give it the spark of the 60s, resulting in dress styles with a vintage yet modern vibe. These fashion styles continue to grace costume-parties, and events featuring a ‘blast from the past’.
To dive into the fashion of the 1960s, it is important to know the variety they upheld. Be it the hippies and beatniks, or the London Mods – each sang a different tune. But all of them together emphasized on the slogan of ‘female empowerment’ – of voicing opinions, being slightly rebellious, and chanting the words ‘bold’ and ‘free’. The fashion helped greatly in taking this notion forward and thus fell into the following categories:
The ‘Mods’ Fashion
This trend was inspired by the Modernists of London, thereby shortened to form the ‘Mods’ fashion. Truly modern in its sense, this fashion style exhibited raised hemlines, shortened lengths (read: very short), and differing waists. Whether you wish to opt for a high waist, or prefer the low waist, it was all in fashion. An absolute classic during this time was the knitted sweater vintage dress. With a length right above the knee, and being neither slim-fitted nor loose, the dress worked for all women. Giving a sophisticated yet stylish touch, it was an ensemble which continues to stun in current times too.
The Mods also wore edgier cuts, numerous prints, and bolder colors. The prints ranged from flowery to geometric, offering a design suitable to the likes of everyone. There were paisleys, polka-dots, yellow honeycomb, and a variety of circles. The sweater dress especially consisted of solid colors, and simple detailing on the neck and ends. Many times, there were outlines of pockets to enhance elegance. The vintage dresses were worn in an array of hues, from the sober black to the bright red, and happening yellow – all upholding empowered women for a brighter tomorrow.
The Hippie Vibe
As soon as the word ‘hippie’ comes to mind, images of bell bottoms, fringe vests, and hippie bands come to mind. The 1960s hippie style was no different. The people who opted for this were rebels of the society, fighting against existing norms, one vintage dress at a time. The men and women went carefree in their attires, wearing bold prints, and letting their hair grow long and uncontrollable.
The dresses and loose pants had tribal prints, combining a touch of local attire with a rebellious scent. The printed dresses, especially the ‘peasant’ dresses of the time, and even on skirts. Paired with kitten heels and matching headbands, they enhanced the overall vintage yet modern look of the individuals. Innovative footwear was also observed in the 60s; the plastic boots. Whist the sleeves had designs to make a fashion statement – talk about being loose and groovy.
Upholding a very different fashion style from previous trends, the ensemble of the Beatniks made them stand out from the crowd. These were ‘enlightened’ individuals with interests in arts, music, literature, and poetry. They were special fans of jazz. Whilst these individuals thought differently, they also appeared differently. Vintage outfits of the Beatnik fashion usually are in the color black. Knee-length black dresses were a common favorite, whilst the turtleneck sweater was widely worn too. Many went bare-legged, whilst black cigarette pants were also opted for. For those who paired short black tops with a different colored pant, it was usually accompanied with a beret – giving a sober yet cool vibe.
These enlightened and educated individuals dressed to make a statement, and black skin-tight clothes helped them achieve just that. With such dress, they took ownership over their body, and wore clothes according to their likes – upholding freedom of choice.
The Innovative Footwear
No fashion trend is complete without trendy footwear, and the 1960s proved that. The vintage dresses and other shirts were stunners, but they needed equally fashionable footwear. Thus came in the Go-Go Boots. The style began in the 60s. and consisted of low-heeled boots which went midway up the calf. Although they could have included multiple colors, the official trending go-go boots were white in color. Later on, with renditions on the earlier style, they were improvised to changes in heel height – making it kitten, or very high. Whilst the boot length was taken to knee-level in many cases. These boots continue to trend today, becoming head-turners wherever they set foot (pun intended).
The fashion of the 1960s was revolutionary. Producing vintage dresses still in trend today, the attire spoke for a cause. It helped understand the importance clothing plays when wishing to make a statement.