1960s Beach Party Head Scarves

Written by olivia deangelo
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1960s Beach Party Head Scarves
The headscarf has been worn by women since the 1960s as a way to accessorise and keep hair in place. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Beach party head scarves started making waves in the fashion world during the early 1960s. While original head scarves date back to the mid-1940s, the item became a staple in woman's attire during the 1960s with help from fashionistas of the era. Women wore head scarves with nearly every style of outfit, from work wear to party dresses to beachwear. The scarves' combinations of colour, styles and designs gave women a way to add extra femininity to their wardrobe.

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Head scarves originated as a staple clothing item for maids, labourers and slaves to protect their scalps and hair from the sun as well as dirt and grime. During the 1960s, the headscarf became associated with beachwear and swimming costumes as a way to add style and protect a woman's hair from the water. In 1963, bikinis and headscarves became all the rage after the production of "Beach Party," a musical which fuelled the fashion trend even more. Suddenly, fashion icons such as Jackie Kennedy and Mary Quant were sporting beach party head scarves with miniskirts, swimming costumes and office wear. Scarves were produced in a variety of colours and styles, and were worn by society members of any race, religion or status.


During the 1960s, beach party head scarves were long strips of fabric that were tied around the hairline of a woman's head. Whether used at the beach or while driving in the car, these scarves helped protect intricate hairstyles from moisture or wind. Women also wore head scarves around their necks like chokers to accent business attire and tied behind their head like a headband while cleaning and cooking. Women paired beach party head scarves with big sunglasses and red lipstick. These styles were recognised as being glamorous and fashion-forward.

Colour and Size

When beach party head scarves first hit the fashion scene, the scarves were predominately made in bright, solid colours or polka dot patterns. These styles allowed the scarves to be matched to nearly any outfit or beach attire. Most scarves were manufactured to be 20.5-inches by 20.5-inches. Women could easily fold them in half for protection over their hair. During the 1960s, other sizes emerged including head scarves that were 3 feet long and 4 inches wide for use as a headband and ones that were triangle-shaped with long ends so they were easy to tie underneath the chin.


Cotton was the common fabric choice for beach head scarves in the 1960s. It was lightweight and absorbent for ample moisture protection. Socialites were able to afford quality silk head scarves for their attire. Silk head scarves offered additional moisturising benefits for women's hair that was not found with the cotton blend.

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