What Kinds of Clothes Did They Wear in the '60s?

Updated April 17, 2017

Women led the way in 1960s fashion trends with controversial designs like the miniskirt and leg-hugging Capris. Moving away from the full skirts and tight sweaters of the '50s era, women of the '60s announced their growing independence in free-spirited fashions that ranged from the androgynous dresses popularised by Twiggy to the sexy, calf-high boots Jane Fonda wore as Barbarella.


Mini-skirts made their debut in the '60s, but didn't hit the mainstream until after 1966. Credit goes to Mary Quant for bringing the miniskirt to the general public with hemlines a full 6 to 7 inches above the knee. Youthful and fun, the miniskirt was typically paired with go-go boots to accentuate the leg.

Day Dresses

Simple sheath dresses substituted narrowed skirts for the full-skirted '50s styles. Typically falling just above the knee, the day dress predated the miniskirt and remained popular throughout the '60s. Variations included changes in collar styles, pleating, colours, designs and accessories such as belts and jewellery. Other popular designs included sleeveless boat-necks and dresses with Peter Pan collars.

Trousers and Shorts

A common theme of 1960s fashion was showing off the legs. Like the miniskirt, short trousers bared more leg, but even long trousers accentuated the legs with tight, tapered-leg styles. Plain or print, these trousers were paired with button-down cropped blouses and sometimes were accessorised with wide belts. While some celebrities sported hot trousers during the late '60s, these short shorts didn't go mainstream until the '70s.

Hippie Fashion

A strong counter-culture influence of the '60s, hippie culture brought with it an "anything goes" attitude in youth fashion. Unisex fashions like ripped jeans and tie-dyed shirts competed with more feminine floral-print maxi dresses and bold psychedelic designs. Love beads, headbands and peace symbols provided the perfect accents for either style.

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About the Author

Based in Cape Coral, Fla., Jennifer Groepl began writing career-related articles in 2010. She also runs her own medical transcription service. Certified in secondary education, Groepl holds a Bachelor of Science in social sciences from Florida State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State University.