Big Events

The Beatles led the music and fashion “British Invasion,” influencing teenagers with their Mod aesthetic. The Civil Rights movement led to the popularity of ethnic and African-inspired garments such as dashikis and caftans.

Big Ideas

The 1960s were marked by eclecticism, both in fashion and society. A plethora of styles were fashionable at one time, ranging from space age fashions using vinyl and synthetics, to bold prints, colors, and disposable paper dresses inspired by Pop Art. Mod fashion appeared on the London scene, with fashion designer Mary Quant as the “high priestess” of the style, and Twiggy as its supermodel. Boutiques, a 1960s creation, began offering designer ready-to-wear collections, while easy-care fabrics were increasingly used by the general public.

Big Trends

Longer hemlines were dominant with maxi skirts and granny dresses, while hot pants and mini skirts were adopted by the younger market. These shorter hemlines popularized the use of pantyhose for modesty. As the decade progressed, chemise dresses that typified the dominant straight A-line silhouette became popular. Turtleneck blouses and sweaters were common, and sleeves were usually three-quarter length. Sleeveless tops were worn after the mid 1960s. Jacqueline Kennedy became a major fashion icon, famous for her sophisticated style, pillbox hats, and pearls. Overall, hats in general experienced a decline in use, due to the popularity of high bouffant hairstyles. Knee high go-go boots were popular, patent was often used, and low-heeled, square-toed shoes were common. Popular accessories included headbands, bold jewelry, and matching shoes and handbags.