What Kind of Dress Shirts & Skirts Did Women Wear in the 60s?

Written by ebony haywood
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What Kind of Dress Shirts & Skirts Did Women Wear in the 60s?
Blouses were detailed and skirts were shortened in the '60s. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

In the 1960s, women's clothing reflected a cultural shift that was happening across the globe. Fashion became meaningful to identity; it defined subcultures and created a wider rift between adults and young people. Buttoned shirts and pencil skirts represented tradition, while miniskirts and boots represented independence. The hippie aesthetic infiltrated fashion as cocktail shirts began to sport fancy beads and paisley prints. For teenagers, shorter pleated skirts replaced the longer poodle skirts of the '50s.

Cocktail Blouse

Cocktail blouses come in a variety of designs. In the '60s, they appeared in glossy fabrics, such as satin and polyester. Colours included metallic silver and martini olive. Some had embroidered floral designs while others had bead trimming along the sides and neckline. Necklines scooped for a softer look. Some styles sported a plunging V-neckline for a tailored effect. Women matched their blouses with pedal pushers and ballet flats and accessorised them with charm bracelets and cocktail rings.

Long Sleeved Blouse

Women wore long-sleeved, buttoned blouses to business events. These blouses came in cotton and polyester fabrics, and they often had button cuffs and thick, fold over collars. The fancier blouses had a ruffled bib or panel on the front; some had snap-flap pockets. Popular prints included floral, plaid and solid tones. Dressy slacks, scarves, pencil skirts and heels completed the professional look.


The miniskirt is an iconic piece of '60s clothing. Miniskirts have about a 10cm hemline above the knee. In the 1960s, designers made them for slender women, who matched them with opaque pantyhose. Fashion designer Mary Quant receives most credit for inventing the miniskirt and making a significant contribution to the mod subculture; they indulged in fashion and sported crisp, tailored clothing. Miniskirts came in a variety of fabrics spanning from cotton gaberdines to polyvinyl chloride.

Pleated and Straight Skirts

Pencil skirts from the '50s were still common in the '60s. Women wore them with sweaters, cardigans and blouses. Some pencil skirts had front and back kick pleats that made moving around easier. Fully pleated skirts had a schoolgirl charm and usually came in heavier wool fabrics with plaid prints. A-Line skirts were also in vogue; they were straight skirts that fitted at the waist and gradually widened toward the hem. Like the pleated skirt, they came in wool and plaid prints.

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