Few fashion eras are as iconic and endearing as the 1960s. Coming about during a time of great social change and unrest, the fashion of the 1960s mirrored these changing attitudes with a style greatly set apart from previous eras of fashion. There was a great degree of diversity in the dress style of fashion icons during this period, ranging from the immaculate Jacqueline Kennedy to the more hodgepodge style of hippies and Mods.
There is such a range of styles that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly the most iconic image of fashion in the 60s. Perhaps the greatest common denominator existing between these groups is that fashion became focused on the emerging youth culture, one of the greatest trends of the 60s. Fashion was previously aimed for adult consumption.
With the surge in births after World War Two and the resulting tidal wave of teenagers and young people coming into their own during the 60s, fashion designers sought to capture this emerging market by designing styles that young people would embrace. What resulted was a surge in clothing styles that targeted different social groups, allowing for greater diversity in the clothing as professional and popular fashions molded the popular consciousness.
As the 60s gave way to the 70s, fashion trends followed the course of catering to the large body of young people that were beginning to emerge as adults. However, the ethos of the culture of liberation in the 60s endured and resulted in the 70s scandalous fashions.
Miniskirts were all the rage for young women with tight trousers or denim jeans leaving little to the imagination for most young men. Clothing that was suited for dancing or showing skin was in vogue, such as the development of the tube top for women and tight t-shirts for men.
Echoes of the 70s are present more so in todays fashion with its throwback prints and vintage looking shirts and jeans. Although some of the excesses of the 70s, such as bellbottom jeans and polyester leisure suits, have thankfully been phased out, the 70s were a last gasp at popular conventions influencing the fashion industry rather than fashion forward designers guiding the course of people’s clothing decisions.