Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Continuing Influence of 1960s Fashion

From mini skirts to maxi dresses: the 1960s changed fashion

What comes to mind when you think of 1960s fashion?  Mini skirts?  Flower child paisley prints?  Jackie Kennedy's pink suit and pill box hat?  While every decade of the 20th century has left a mark on design, the 1960s continue to influence our style choices...

We have the 1960s to thank for everything from boho chic to this year's low block heel pumps.  All those cute little pompom accessories trending now?  They started out in the 60s.  Black and white striped shirts with skinny pants?  Audrey Hepburn made them famous in the early 60s.  Maxi dresses, peasant tops, opaque tights ... 60s, 60s, 60s!

I think the main reason the many styles of the 1960s still seem so relevant is because they were designed for young people.  In prior decades, designers created fashion for mature, wealthy members of society.  Ordinary folks chose clothing created for hard work and utility.  Regardless of your age, at some point in early adulthood you were expected to basically put on your big girl suit.  The 1960s broke with buttoned-up style tradition of the past and catered to a new sense of personal freedom and expression as well as youthful enthusiasm.  We never looked back.

For my fellow fashion book lovers, I really enjoyed the book Sixties Fashion: From Less is More to Youthquake by Jonathan Walford.  It is a richly illustrated source book for 1960s design, and a great analysis of how fashion mirrors social and political trends.

For a great overview of the many (many!) ways the 1960s influenced fashion, check out Philip Johnson's fantastic piece here.

Here are a few of the "new" styles of Fall 2016 that trace their roots back to the 1960s:

Oversized sunglasses:

Low block heel pumps:



I can see Jane Birkin, Twiggy and Catherine Deneuve wearing all of these "new" trends!

Be sure to watch the great short video on how the 1960s changed fashion at the top of this post.

How are you going to wear the "latest" 1960s trends?

Want to leave a comment?  Head over to the Chic Contraire Community Forum and start a conversation!

Video by The Sedgewick.
Historic 1960s photos by Getty Images