Men's Party Fashions in the 60s, 70s & 80s

Written by noel lawrence
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Men's Party Fashions in the 60s, 70s & 80s
Disco exercised an enormous influence on 70s fashion. (Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Decade-themed parties have become increasingly popular in recent years. Along with the proper music and decor, guests come dressed in the appropriate fashion for the era. A visit to your local vintage clothing or thrift store will often provide an ample selection of period clothing. For men of a certain age, a visit to the back of your closet may suffice. If you did not have the pleasure of living through the 60s, 70s or 80s, acquaint yourself with the clothing of that time.

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Early 60s Fashion

The 1960s involved a period of intense social change. The clothing of 1960 looked very different than that of 1969. At the beginning of the decade, men's suits began to adopt an Italian style with narrow trousers, lapels on jackets and a thin tie. Additionally, youth subcultures such as the mods and rockers had their own sartorial codes. The rockers had jeans and leather jackets while the mods wore paisley ties and tapered trousers.

Late 60s Fashion

As the culture began to let its hair down, so did men's fashions. Lapels got wider. Trousers legs flared out. But, more importantly, the sensibility changed. Even for those who did not go to Woodstock, the clothing became more flamboyant with brighter colours and psychedelic swirls. Casual dress also became more acceptable in many situations. For instance, a turtleneck often replaced a tie under a blazer. And, of course, the "hippie" look became very popular among the youth with long hair, beads, beards, and kaftans. An "anything goes" sensibility dominated in which outrageous costumes became quite common in the parties of the counterculture.

70s Fashion

The fashion trends of the 60s continued in the 70s. Men's fashion often involved bright patterns with even bigger coloured collars. The feminising of men's wear pointed toward a general trend toward unisex clothing. While suits were still required in formal contexts, the trousers often were bell-bottoms. Blue jeans became very common outside of the office. If the fashion of the 60s had been an opportunity to reject convention, 70s clothing was more about mellowing out and being comfortable. Of course, no serious consideration of 70s fashion can leave out the influence of disco. The John Travolta look further accentuated the fashions of the time with even wider lapels, dramatic colours and lots of polyester. Open shirts that displayed gold jewellery were ubiquitous to the point of cliché.

80s Fashion

In partial response to the laid back earthiness of 70s fashion, the 80s often put an emphasis on glitz and wealth. Neon fabrics and broad-shouldered suit jackets became fashionable. The "preppie" look as embodied by Ralph Lauren became a style to be imitated by those who never set foot on a polo field. Of course, there were many anomalies specific to the decade such as parachute trousers and spandex. In the counterculture, punk fashion with black nail polish, mohawks and piercings became notorious if not widespread in high schools across America.

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