The 1960s was a decade of fashion innovation, waists were loose and hemlines short. Go-go boots, mini-skirts and pillbox hats were just some of the many fashion trends to emerge. The musical Beach Party featured girls wearing bikinis and the two-piece became widely worn for the first time. Another first was the flattering fitted worn in a range of bright colours. Girls wore psychedelic prints and lurid colours with false eyelashes and full, long hair. London Modernists or Mods led the fashions in the early years which was later taken over by the hippie movement in the later 1960s where bell-bottoms, tie-dye and paisley became all the rage.
The British led the fashion in the 1960s and specifically the Scooter riding Mods, influenced by Modern Jazz and fronted by bands like The Who and The Kinks. Mod girls followed super models like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton and wore mini-skirts, flat shoes and natural make up or similar clothes to the boys in men’s shirts and trousers, most had their hair short and neat. The rival ‘Rockers’ had created a style out of functionality rather than fashion as they were defined by their riding of motorcycles and wore T-shirts, leather jackets and leather trousers and aviators.
In the early 1960s the First Lady Jacquie Kennedy was a fashion influence which saw women wearing pillbox hats and pastel suits incorporating crop jackets with statement buttons. Stilettos were worn in the evening with full-skirted, low-cut gowns or with capri-trousers in the day, these were replaced in 1964 by bell-bottoms. Dress silhouettes came in shift or the mini A-line dress which would be covered with plastic raincoats, fake-furs or colourful swing coats in bad weather, these would be worn with large hats in bold colours. While the space age look was popular in the early decade this was replaced by the Edwardian look in 1966 which saw women in tent dresses, velvet mini dresses with lace trim or culottes, false eye lashes and pale lipstick completed the look. The micro-mini made its debut in 1968 and with it came the ‘angel-dress’, a micro-mini dress with long, flared sleeves and usually worn with patterned tights. In the same year came the hippie look with men and women both wearing bell bottomed trousers, tie-dye, headbands and either sandals or bare feet. Towards the end of the decade girls wore a suede mini-skirt with a polo-neck, square-toed boots and a beret. Sheepskin coats, animal print and the ‘Woodstock’ look were also popular trends around this time which would spill over into the early 1970s.
One notable designer of the 1960s was Mary Quant for her introduction of the iconic mini skirt in 1964. In the same year Andre Courreges introduced the ‘space look’ which saw girls dressing in white go-go boots, goggles and short boxy dresses or trousers suits in fluorescent colours and made with sequins or PVC. Emilio Pucci was also present making dresses in his typical psychedelic prints.
As well as the iconic go-go boot women wore stiletto heels and kitten heels, all made in patient leather or vinyl to match their handbags. While the psychedelic prints of the early 1960s didn’t allow room for many accessories when the hippie movement arrived in 1968 women wore stacks of bangles and bracelets, scarves, chain belts and long necklaces with peace sign emblems or love beads. Bandannas were worn over long, tousled hair for men and women.