Children's Fancy Dress Styles in the '60s

Written by elle evette
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Children's Fancy Dress Styles in the '60s
The Kennedy family inspired children's 1960s fancy dress (National Archives/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Children's fancy dress in the 1960s took advantage of new technologies in fabric and fibre. Most notably polyester, nylon and spandex. The baby boom meant that children's fashion was in more demand as compared to previous decades. With the popularity of television, children's dress styles became increasing monolithic. Parents were able to see what famous children such as "John John" Kennedy wore, and imitated those styles with their own children.

The Evolution of Children's Clothing

The 1960s continued the modern tradition of gendering children's clothing. Before the 1940s, children's clothing was mostly genderless. Both boys and girls wore dresses well into childhood. By the 1950s, it was no longer common to see little boys in dresses.

Fancy dress in the '60s exaggerated the differences between boys and girls even more. Boys wore small suits while girls wore very feminine dresses. Children's clothing reflected the styles of adult men and women.

Boys' Fancy Dress

A popular dress style for small boys in the 1960s were shortalls. These were made popular by John Kennedy Jr., known at the time as "John John." Shortalls were one-piece short pants suits paired with peter pan-collared dress shirts. Some shortalls included sleeves. These were typically worn by boys between the ages of 2 to 7 years old.

Another popular dress style for young boys in the '60s were Eton suits. Eton suits were originally a British style of uniform worn by boys at the Eton boarding school. A derivative of the uniform became popular in America. The American version was comprised of a short jacket without lapels worn with a peter pan-collared shirt and short trousers.

Children's Fancy Dress Styles in the '60s
JFK Jr. was a style icon for little boys in the 1960s. (National Archives/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Girls' Fancy Dress

Fancy dress styles for little girls consisted of ladylike fashions. Dresses for special occasions included puff sleeves, wide skirts with crinolines worn underneath, fitted bodices and ruffles worn at the neck and hem.

Toward the end of the decade, mod styles influenced the clothing of girls as well as women. Bold colours such as bright pinks, greens and yellows were seen on girls' dresses. Tights became a popular pairing with bold-patterned dresses.

Occasions for Children's Fancy Dress

With more and more families moving to the suburbs in the 1960s, casual dress styles became more popular. Fancy dress styles were reserved for special occasions, such as Sunday church service, weddings, parties and holiday gatherings.

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