Fashion for children in the 1960s

Written by simon fuller
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Fashion for children in the 1960s
Children wore combinations of the traditional and the new, such as shortalls. (D Peacock/Valueline/Getty Images)

The 1960s marked a change in fashions adopted by many people, thanks to altering social habits and the abundance of new materials. While many who adopted new fashions were teenagers, children's fashions also changed with many youngsters rejecting the conservative clothes of the past in favour of bright, new styles.

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Thanks to advances in technology at the start of the decade, 1960s children had access to clothes made of new materials, mainly synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon. These materials made clothes easier to clean and maintain, and tended to age less, even after frequent washes.

Boys' clothes

Shorts became a popular choice among 1960s boys for wearing around the house or for playing outside. These were made from resin-finished cotton or polyester and cotton, and included the camp short style, complete with bigger pockets, and cut-offs, which were often created by removing the ends of a pair of worn trousers. During the 1960s, many boys were allowed to wear their hair longer than their predecessors in earlier decades.

Despite this, boys still retained a sense of the traditional when it came to their dress clothes. These might be worn for church or at family parties, and often included long pants suits, made from fabrics such as seersucker. Boys also wore shortalls, influenced by the fashions of the younger members of the Kennedy clan, which were typically combined with sandals.

Girls' clothes

Fashion in the 1960s for girls often meant a blouse and a skirt; these came in bright or pastel colours, such as pastel pinks and yellows, were off-white, or featured pattern prints such as polka dots and houndstooth. Skirts were typically shorter than those worn by adult women, as described by Fashion Era website. Dressing up might involve wearing a poodle skirt, which came to about the knee, or a dress; popular dress styles included those imprinted with patterns or embroidered with animals such as birds. Accessories might include a belt with an anchor clasp, for instance.


Boys often wore closed-toe sandals; these were typically worn with white tennis socks and were another result of the influence of John F. Kennedy Jr., who sported this footwear look almost until his teens. Chunky shoes, from brands such as Buster Brown, were popular for young girls, while another trend saw girls wearing saddle shoes, which were white, with a streak of black in the middle.

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