There were about 70 million teenagers in the U.S. in the 1960s and "youth culture" became a dominant influence in all aspects of society. Baby boomers engaged in serious protest of the Vietnam War in the '60s and early '70s. They also engaged in streaking -- running nude in public places -- and buying pet rocks in the '70s. Hemlines rose and fell in the '60s and '70s and men's hair got longer. Fashion fads reflected changing tastes and social attitudes throughout these two decades dominated by youth.
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The Early '60s
In the early '60s, women wore bouffant hairdos and skirts that grazed the knee; men wore crew cuts and plaid shirts. Jackie Kennedy was a fashion trendsetter in her pillbox hats, slim sheath dresses, and tailored pastel suits. Kick pleats -- inverted pleats in the front and back of straight skirts -- and kitten heels were also popular. In the early '60s, men began to wear their hair longer, but slicked back, and more form-fitting Italian suits with narrow ties hit the men's wear market.
The Mid- to Late '60s
Mini-skirts were the trend in the mid- to late '60s, and women paired diamond-patterned or fishnet tights and calf-high white go-go boots with them. The model Twiggy became a sensation in the mid-60s, and her dramatic eye make-up, achieved by lining the eye socket, was imitated. Black and white "op-art" shift dresses reflected the British look, and tent-shaped baby doll dresses appeared. Males and females wore black turtlenecks, copying a look that the Beatles had made popular. Unisex bell-bottomed jeans and love beads were style options for both men and women by the end of the 60s.
The Early '70s
By 1970, women could choose mini, midi and maxi dress lengths. Hot trousers and halter neck tops were in style. The Louisiana House of Representatives changed its dress code in 1972, requiring women to wear skirts or dresses because an employee arrived to work wearing hot trousers.
Platform shoes were another hot item. "Seventeen" magazine for girls may have featured platform shoes first in a 1970 issue, but platforms were worn by males as well in the '70s. Shoulder-length hair on men gained popularity as women donned floor-length, high-necked granny dresses. In the early '70s, women sometimes wore white highlighter on the brow and eyeshadow around the eye rather than eyeliner.
The Mid- to Late '70s
In 1976, Yves St. Laurent's peasant look -- tiered skirts and dropped-shouldered blouses -- became available. The hit film "Saturday Night Fever" (1977) inspired the disco craze, and clingy clothing in stretch Lycra called attention to the dancer's body. Men's suits featured wide lapels and wide ties, shirts with long, pointed collars and flared trousers in a variety of colours. The zippered jumpsuit was worn by both men and women in the late '70s, but disco-inspired fashion would lose its followers by 1980.
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