There’s no denying that the 1960s was one of the most playful and bold decades in fashion. From mod dresses to psychedelic prints, this period’s most popular pieces continue to inspire designers today. One look at the latest fashion editorials will show new takes on Sixties outfits, proving that some trends just never get old!
Not sure what to wear for an authentic Sixties ensemble? Old photos are the perfect source for getting historically accurate fashion inspiration. Take vintage snaps for restoration at a reputable studio like Image Restoration Center. With editing and recolorization, you’ll see which prints and colors were favored by the It girls of the Sixties!
Flared pants became outrageously trendy in the 1960s. The wide legs were balanced with high heels to add height and drama to a look – leaving little wonder as to why it remained trendy on disco floors in the 1970s! They gradually made their way into evening wear as a loose, relaxed alternative to the miniskirt.
Rock this trend as seen on runways today with earth-toned flared pants and a printed top. Wallpaper florals and bold paisley prints alike pair well with these comfortable bottoms.
Counterculture style heavily influenced fashion around this period. While runways may still look askance at peace sign necklaces today, one hippie trend is all the rage right now: tie-dye prints. In the 1960s, many flower children would dare to wear this style from head to toe, complete with crocheted vests and woven sandals.
If you want to rock this look, muted darker shades or soft pastels are the way to go – it’s a fresh, fun print that can work for both day or night looks.
Mary Quant first raised eyebrows and hemlines when she dared to showcase the miniskirt. Remember, this was the first time in a long time that women dared to bare their legs! This high design was often paired with sandals in the summer, or with go-go boots and colored tights in colder weather.
Considered shocking in the 1960s, the miniskirt is now a popular item that can be found in department stores and high fashion runways. We suggest balancing a short hemline with a high collar or long, flowing sleeves for balance, contrast, and drama!
Post-World War II fashion was completely in love with the feminine cinched waist and full skirts of New Look dresses. But by the time the 1960s came, the trendy female silhouette was less defined and more youthful and playful. This gave rise to the shift dress, which had a less defined bust or waistline and was much less restrictive for many women to wear.
Because the shift dress is so stylish and comfortable to wear, it has remained a popular style. For a fun ‘60s inspired look, we suggest picking one in a color-block print or a bright color.
Nancy Sinatra’s white pair for “These Boots Were Made For Walking” and go-go dancers made this shoe wildly popular. Unlike the later disco platforms of the 1970s, these boots were either made with low block heels or kitten heels for maximum comfort. Usually knee-high, these fun and fashionable boots are still showing up on runways today.
For a full 1960s look, get yourself a vinyl pair of go-go boots. Durable synthetic materials like nylon and vinyl were all the rage back in the Sixties, so a pair in these fabrics would be totally on-trend!
French New Wave films were incredibly influential in the 1960s – think Breathless, Masculin Feminin, and Contempt. Millions of women looked to the stylish actresses in these films and Parisian style for inspiration. One of the pieces that became trendy because of French film’s popularity was the classic beret.
The beret was considered the must-have finishing touch for a 1960s Parisian look. Berets also added a quirky touch to a mod outfit and quickly became popular in a variety of fabrics and hues. For head-to-toe mod, the beret was paired with go-go boots and a shift dress. This combination is so stylish, it’s still seen in many fashion editorials and stores today.
Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot’s style inspired millions of women in the 1960s, and one of the pieces that they made tres chic was the off-shoulder top. Considered slightly risque but Riviera-fresh in the Sixties, these tops are now a summer staple for many women today.
Many modern versions of these tops are elasticized to keep them off the shoulders. However, we’re a fan of the ones that use ribbons to tie them in place – they add just a touch of that Bardot-esque sex kitten appeal. Get these tops in pale colors and light fabrics for an effortlessly breezy look. When paired with denim shorts or a long, flowing skirt, you have a flattering and flirty outfit perfect for date night!
Oversized Round Sunglasses
Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was one of America’s most popular style icons in the 1960s. Her signature dark, oversized sunglasses became one of the decade’s hottest pieces. The eyewear trend was so closely associated with her that this frame was frequently called the “Jackie O” sunglasses. Ray-Bans even created a “Jackie Ohh” pair inspired by her original look.
Jackie was by no means the only famous figure to wear these in the Sixties – John Lennon sported smaller, round lenses and Jane Fonda wore oversized cat-eye hybrids. Snag your own oversized pair of sunglasses to add a touch of mystery to your outfit.
Colored tights served two purposes for Sixties fashion: to add a bold touch to a look, and to partially cover legs when wearing high hemlines. Unlike stockings which had to be worn with a belt and suspenders in those days, colored tights went all the way up to the waist. This made them the hosiery of choice when wearing shift dresses and miniskirts because they didn’t show any garters or awkward gaps of skin.
Trendy and youthful, colored tights appeared in hues like banana yellow or bright teal. You can test out this trend by pairing very colorful tights with dark or neutral pieces – think a black shift dress with turquoise tights or a white dress with fuchsia tights.
Peter Pan-Collared Tops & Dresses
One of the defining trends of 1960s fashion is a more childish “babydoll” look. Details like high collars, large bows, and polka dots were frequently seen on outfits from this period. One popular neckline from this period is the Peter Pan collar, which was a staple for many 1960s dresses and tops.
Traditionally seen in 1920s children’s wear, the Peter Pan collar suddenly became terribly chic in a decade that wanted to add fun, innocence, and youthfulness to fashion. The Peter Pan collar is still added to blouses and dresses today for this same reason. A classic combination is a white Peter Pan collar with a black top or dress – it says sophistication without looking too serious.
Get Inspired By The Best Fashion Trends Of The Sixties
Some trends never go out of style, as evidenced by all the vintage ‘60s looks getting a revival on the runway. Our list features just some of the many fashion pieces that became popular in the 1960s.
Find out what other retro prints and looks were in vogue during this period by going through old photos and magazines. These will give you an insider’s glimpse into how people wore those trends back in the day!