The 1960s was a decade of political upheaval and sweeping social change. It was also a time when inhibitions flew out the window and people began to express themselves through their wardrobe. From bell bottom jeans to hippie inspired headbands. the looks of the 1960s were as diverse as the sub-cultures. Here are just the clothing looks, from the futuristic mods to the subtle hippie culture, that were popular during the turbulent decade known as the 1960s.
One of the major clothing trends of this decade was the emergence of the hippie counterculture. The looks replaced the wound, proper appearance of the 1950s. Women wore flowing dresses and floral tops coupled with knee high boots and flowers in their hair. Men allowed their hair and beards to grow long and sported ripped jeans, leather sandals and flowing tops. Jewelry was also as important to the hippie culture and clothing, and this was seen in the ever present peace sign. The idea behind the hippie clothing movement was to look as natural as possible, which was a great departure from the buttoned-up, military look of the Vietnam era.
Mod clothing came from the streets of London during the 1960s. The term "mod" is derived from the word "modernists", or people that were interested in the jazz and music culture of the 1950s. As much as the fashion, mod hair and makeup were integral to a woman's wardrobe. Many women were seen sporting a blunt bob or the Twiggy pixie haircut. Their makeup was bold as well, especially the eyes when mascara was crucial to complete the look. Many women even covered their lips with white lipstick or foundation to draw more attention to the eyes. The mod clothing was very structured and included ultra-miniskirts, patent leather boots and coats, tightly-tailored suits, jumpers and shirt dresses. Many women were seen sporting outfits that consisted of a turtle neck and matching skirt and tights.
Preppy Fashion and New Materials
Preppy is a clothing look often associated with the 1980s, although this trend was very popular in the 1960s. Preppy was the look of upper-middle and upper class teenagers and one popular style was plaid shirts coupled with oversized sweaters. The look was intended to promote an air of sophistication and wealth, and was a complete departure from the minimalist hippie attire. As in the 1980s, many of the youth sporting preppy clothing in the 1960s often paired a blazer and button up shirt with a pair of crisp khakis. Women were seen wearing blazers as well as sailor inspired tops that featured the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. The preppy look lost some steam in the 1970s, but had an obvious resurgence during the 1980s, when the look blossomed.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, and polyester were both introduced into the mainstream clothing world in the 1960s. These new, space age materials had a great influence on the fashion of the 1960s and encouraged many designers and clothing icons to look forward into a more futuristic fashion world.