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30 Most Iconic Fashion Trends of the 1960s

Shift Dress

When the shift dress came into play in the 60s, it was quite revolutionary because it did not accentuate the body in a form-fitting style. Yet, countless women fell in love with this boxy trend and loved to wear it with their go-go boots. The original shift dresses took inspiration from 1920s "flappers," themselves a reaction to the tight-knit styles popular in Victorian America (think corsets). During the 1950s, traditionalism reigned supreme, as did "typically feminine" styles of dress that accentuated waists.

The 1960s shift dress was a reversal of that. It's simple, classic, and versatile. Because it sits away from the body, it's perfect for any age. Furthermore, while the boxy length is the defining characteristic, individual dresses can be sleeveless with boxy shoulders (as seen above) or have intricate cutouts around the collar. There are even three-quarter sleeve modern updates to this iconic look.

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Mini Skirts

The mini skirt first came into play in the early 60s, and at first it was seen as "too provocative." Yet, it soon caught on and hasn’t slowed down since, with versions of it worn in virtually every decade.

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Patterned Tights

Patterned tights had a big moment a few years ago, but they were even bigger in the 1960s! Women typically wore these to cover up the bit of leg that was left showing between their miniskirts and knee high boots.

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Knee-High Boots

Knee-high boots, also known as go-go boots, were one of the most iconic shoe trends of the 60s. This sexy silhouette was typically worn with short dresses and skirts, and this style is just now making its way back around! 

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Bell Bottoms

With the hippie culture of the 60s came dramatic bell bottoms. The first bell bottoms were usually made in a wild, psychedelic print, but the silhouette found its way into the world of denim and even professional trousers as well. 

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Leopard Print

None other than Jackie O. started the leopard print trend of the 1960s. After she donned this print, it went mainstream, and nearly every 60s fashionista wore this style. Leopard print has stuck around up to this day, and it’s now actually considered a neutral! 

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Empire Waist Dresses

The empire waist started in France and quickly spread to the rest of the world in the 1960s. Even today, women turn to this dress style when they want something that is flattering, yet not form-fitting.

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Tuxedo Jacket

This androgynous jacket style was created by Yves Saint Laurent in the 60s, and it was truly one of the first clothing styles that could be worn by both men and women. The tuxedo jacket quickly became a wardrobe staple that we still wear today! 

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Pantsuits

Ah, the pantsuit. The classic symbol of feminism. This style got its controversial start in the 1960s when society was not accustomed to seeing women wear anything but dresses. 

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Turtlenecks

Turtlenecks have had ups and downs in history, but they were certainly at a high point in the 60s! Celebrities like Johnny Carson and Robert Kennedy popularized this trend, and we’re thrilled it’s back in style now! 

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Pillbox Hats

Once again Jackie O. started a major trend after she began wearing pillbox hats. This style has remained chic and high-class for decades, with celebrities and members of the royal families welcoming this style into their wardrobes. 

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Bikinis

After the bikini was featured in the musical Beach Party, it spread like wildfire across the United States. The high-waisted bikini was the first style to appear on store shelves, but countless other designs have kept this swimsuit style popular to this day.

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Paisley

The paisley print came out of the hippie movement, but it did not stop there. This whimsical print perfectly captured the 1960s, and versions of it have appeared on shirts, dresses, and pants in nearly every decade. 

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Plastic Raincoats

Colorful, plastic raincoats rose to popularity in the 60s because they were both functional and stylish. The style has hardly changed since, so if you have a vintage one, pull it out of the attic and rock it! 

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Tie Dye T-Shirts

The 60s were all about wild colors and prints, and tie dye is the epitome of both. Tie dyeing t-shirts became both a fun activity for the whole family and a bold fashion statement for many years to come. 

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Kitten Heels

Kitten heels popped up in the ‘50s, but really gained popularity in the ‘60s. Tall shoes were just too uncomfortable, and these heels were much easier to walk in and offered the same leg-shaping elegance. They were especially popular as a slingback with an open heel, but they came in a variety of styles.

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Jumper Dresses

The jumper dress was the playful side of the ‘60s. It was immediately adopted by young adults to be worn whenever for comfort. They were often accompanied with big bows, large round collars, pastels, and polka dots.

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Long, Tweed Dinner Coat

Of course, coats were necessary, and high-fashion prompted the rise of the long, tweed dinner coat. They had round collars with big buttons. Sometimes a belt would be used to give it a little shape. Nothing was warmer than a good, tweed.

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Fur-Trimmed Coats

Fur-trimmed coats were also incredibly popular. This is another trend that was promoted thanks to high fashion. Most commonly, fur would pop out at the top of the collar, which would help keep the face warm. Fur may also line the wrists and inside of the coat.

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Bright Colors

Few things defined the ‘60s more than bright colors. It didn’t matter if it was high- or low-fashion. Almost everyone owned a piece of clothing that was virtually neon it was so bright. Only hippies didn’t wear bright colors, because they favored earthy tones.

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The Poor Boy Sweater

We can’t forget about the poor boy sweater. Women usually accompanied the poor boy sweater with a pair of low-rise pants, although at the time they were called hipster pants. Poor Boy sweaters were either long or short sleeved.

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Colored Fishnet Stockings

The mod style brought a ton of different fashion trends to the ‘60s, and one was colored or lacy textured hosiery. Like much of the clothing in the 1960s, the colors were usually bright and eye-catching. No design was off limits.

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Carnaby Jackets

Carnaby jackets came about thanks to fashion that was rising in London. Carnaby jackets were usually accompanied with London caps, and a stylish vest. It was worn by men that had a “rebellious” streak, but women soon adopted the style for themselves.

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Chain Belts

Twiggy was one of the most popular models of the ‘60s, and what she wore changed fashion. Naturally, when she put on a chain belt, women adopted the chain belt for themselves. It was an essential accessory, and few dresses were caught with it.

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Vests

The ‘60s weren’t all about hippies. Some people loved to look nice, and vests were the perfect balance of casual and high-class. They were usually used to create “sportive” look that also used kerchiefs, turtlenecks, and ascots. 

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Gaucho Pants

Gaucho pants were huge and incredibly, incredibly comfortable. They were usually paired with a meditation shirt, which was just as roomy and comfortable. They were scavenged from thrift stores everywhere, and the ‘60s couldn’t get enough of them.

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Native American Headbands

Now, this attire would be considered appropriation, but the ‘60s had a flair for Native American attire. Those that didn’t want to go full-fringe decided to throw on a headband that sometimes had a feather attached.

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Nehru Jackets

The Nehru jacket has popped up all throughout history, but men in the ‘60s particularly liked the style. It rose to popularity in England and America, and it could be partially thanks to media. The villains in James Bond seemed especially attached to the Nehru jacket.

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Floral Everything

What would the ‘60s be if it wasn’t for the floral pattern? Dresses, tights, jackets – you name it. Almost everything could be floral, and if you lived in the ‘60s, you saw it. Most of the flowers were bright, which is pretty unlike fashion now, which mainly focuses on pastels. 

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Peace Symbols

Peace and love, man. Hippies wore peace symbols, naturally, but tons of other people wore the peace symbol to accompany their groovy dresses. If there was one sign that explained this decade, it’s the peace symbol.

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