Styles of Business Clothing in the 1960s

Written by marilla mulwane
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Business fashions of the 1960s changed dramatically from the beginning of the decade to the end. Clothing styles were influenced by cultural influences of the time, including The Beatles, the mod and the hippie revolution. Men started out the decade dressing conservatively, but by the end of it, they sometimes wore very informal attire to work. Most women still stayed home during the '60s and didn't join the workforce until the next decade. Those women who worked often copied men's styles of business clothing.

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Early '60s Business Suits

In the early 1960s, business suits were conservative, with a double-breasted jacket with up to eight buttons. Only half of the buttons were functional. The suits had narrow lapels that were usually no wider than 1 inch, and the trouser legs were slim and tapered. The colours were always blue, black or grey. Instead of a tie, businessmen would wear a scarf tied in knot like an ascot, reports Men's Fashion Authority. Before the influence of The Beatles on men's fashion, men wore these traditional business suits.

Late '60s Business Suits

By the late '60s, the business suit completely changed. Lapels became wide, as did the belts, and men wore ties up to 5-inches wide. Trouser legs featured a flare with the "bell-bottom" look that became popular in the 1970s. The late '60s became known as the "Peacock Revolution" because business suits had bright colours and wild patterns. It became common to see polka dots and stripes. The biggest influence of business fashion in the late 1960s was the "mod" movement, which was strongly influenced by The Beatles and the British pop invasion, according to The Fifties Web.

Nehru Jacket

The Nehru jacket is a single-breasted, tight-fitting jacket from India that features a banded collar open in the front. It was named after Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and is traditional dress in India. The Nehru jacket became a favourite fashion item in the West after The Beatles visited India. Men could wear them for any occasion, and many men wore the Nehru jacket in place of a suit jacket for work, reports Sean Parnell.

Seersucker Suit

The seersucker suit is made from seersucker fabric, a lightweight cotton material used to make a suit that was worn during spring and summer. The close stripes can give the illusion that the pattern on the fabric is moving. Manufacturers make the material by slowly weaving the thread to make a striped or checkered pattern. The seersucker suit was worn in the 1960s by college kids who wanted to buck tradition. According to Historical Boys' Clothing, the seersucker suit became popular as a summer work outfit.

Mr. Fish Suit

The Mr. Fish Suit is an example of the "Peacock Revolution" that swept the 1960s. A designer named Michael Fish made suits for the rich and famous at his store "Mr. Fish" in London, according to the Victoria & Albert Museum. The suits were flamboyant with bright colours, stripes or wild patterns. The suit was often embroidered with designs, and many had lots of ruffles. Not just celebrities, but many rich businessmen, wore these suits.

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