As I write my next novel I’ve been researching fashions of the early 1960s – the setting for my forthcoming book. Many readers jump to the conclusion that when you say 1960s, you mean bell bottoms, hippie styles, long hair for men, etc. A good number of fashion history websites make the same mistake – characterizing the period between 1960 and 1969 as homogenous when it comes to fashion. Not so! The early sixties and late sixties were like two different decades.
The early sixties was largely an extension of the late fifties. Lots of full skirts and fitted bodices for women and conservative clothing for men. The mid to late sixties is when those giant bell bottoms and long hair became the epitome of cool.
The picture above could be late fifties or early sixties. Skinny ties came in during the late fifties and hung around for several years. (pun intended.)
And it’s hard to tell whether the McCall’s pattern below is from the fifties or sixties. The tip-off is the more modern hairstyle. It’s a vintage 1962 pattern.
In the early sixties slim pants were popular for young men and young women.
For women, pedal pushers were big, especially for housework and yard work. Despite what the ads of the time depicted, women did NOT clean house wearing dresses and heels. Women’s hair often looked much like 1950s hair, although teased and sprayed bouffant hairdos became more popular in the early to mid-sixties, as well as the iconic beehive. As for hairstyles of young men and teenage boys, Brylcreem’s “a little dab’ll do ya” prevailed with combed back styles until Beatlemania swept the United States beginning in January of 1964 with their first U.S. hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Then the mop top became THE look for many young men.
I’m having fun with my research into the culture and styles of the era and I’m excited about my forthcoming novel.
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