Women's clothing evolved drastically in the 1960s. In the beginning of the decade ladies wore conservative streamlined suits but donned wild unmatched clothes by the end. First lady Jackie Kennedy inspired women to wear simple styles but youth culture soon influenced designers. After a decade of clothing fads, at the end of the 1960s women wore a mix of styles from different cultures and eras.
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Geometric Simplicity and Jackie Kennedy
One of the biggest influences on early 1960s women's fashion was US first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. While 1950s dresses featured very full skirts and highlighted the feminine figure, her suits were boxy and simple. Big buttons, round collars and straight skirts were common features. Fashionable ladies completed this conservative look with gloves and a hat.
In 1964 and 1963 youth culture began to influence women's fashion. Films like Francois Truffaut's "Jules et Jim" and the supermodel Twiggy influenced the waiflike "gamine look". Women imitated this by wearing very short hair and pastel mini dresses. Patterns became less conservative and soon became big and daring. In 1965 British fads influenced Americans with the "mod" look. These simple geometric designs had simple but bold black-and-white patterns. The "space" look was a fad in 1966 and women wore lots of silver and plastic chain mail.
The Miniskirt and Pantyhose
Short skirts were around beginning in the early 1960s but not common until 1967. In 1965 designer Mary Quant took an earlier designer's idea of a short skirt and made it more popular. Young people loved the controversy and very short skirts quickly became a fad. The emergence of pantyhose, which were more like tights in the 1960s, complemented the miniskirt fashion. Women loved fancy pantyhose in patterns like fishnet, diamonds or circles.
The Hippie Look
In 1967 and 1968 fashionable women began wearing the "new romantic" look embraced by hippies. This mix of styles took influences from different countries and eras. Designers blended Indian prints with velvet. Fringes, paisley prints and ruffles were all popular. Regency-style gowns had long flowing sleeves. Some clothing emphasised a woman's sexuality with low-cut tops or big belts encircling the hips. Other styles were unisex. By 1969 skirt fads relaxed and women were free to wear either very long or very short skirts.
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