How to Recreate Decades of Fashion: 1960s

When we think of the 1960s, we think of The Help, Mad Men, and The Brady Bunch. However, fashion in the 60s was much more than the wholesome, rich beauty of PTA moms in middle class neighborhoods. It was diverse, rebellious, and sexy.

The 1960s was a revolutionary decade for the fashion industry. There was arguably more change in fashion in just the 1960s than all the modern eras (the 1920s to today) combined. Current fashion literally revamps trends from the 1960s over and over; they’re just really sneaky about it (you’ll see what I mean)!

Fashion in the 1960s was defined by extreme flair, overflowing with attitude from beginning to end.  In the early 60s, all eyes were on fashion icon Jackie Kennedy, wife of our gorgeous former President John F. Kennedy (*heart eyes emoji*), with her snow white pearls and perfectly tailored dresses.

Twiggy was the most popular fashion model of the era. She was known for her "pixie look", which included shift dresses, ballet flats, cigarette pants, and an extremely cropped haircut.

Brigitte Bardot embodied the ultimate sexy pin-up girl—she popularized the Bardot neckline (a wide, open neck, exposing your shoulders). She was also ground-breakingly famous for wearing a bikini, a gingham print wedding dress with lace trim, and a beehive-inspired hairstyle.

The 1960’s was marked mainly by an idea of a “return to youth” for women—oversized collars, trim and shapeless dresses made women appear smaller and de-emphasized their natural forms. With the majority of the population being under 25 from the previous baby boom, it’s no surprise that older women wanted to also appear younger. Kitten heel pumps, Mary Jane’s strap shoes, and flat sneakers were all childhood favorites returned to the the 60s youth quake culture.

1960s fashion went from zero-to-sixty, from modest to “there’s no such thing as too short.” In many ways, this era was like the 1920s flapper revolution but on steroids. Necklines and hemlines move fashion to new highs and lows (get it?), and the British Invasion takes fashion to modern places.

Here’s how you can get all of the classic 60s looks, from beginning of the decade to the end!

The Audrey—Early 60s

We all know the beautiful Audrey Hepburn for her iconic role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (and that elegant picture of her in the classic LBD with the long cigarette holder), but she is also known for bridging the gap between 50s and 60s style. Audrey’s style was consistent and simple, with an emphasis on high quality. She could almost always be found in an elegant dress or sleek trousers and an adorable blouse, much like women wore in the 50’s, but with her own modern twist.

1. The Dress

Audrey’s favorite neckline was the boat neck because it “hid her collarbones and emphasized her strong shoulders. The boat neck, coincidentally, is back in style right now! The boat neck paired with a fuller skirt makes your waist look super thin. Try this elegant number from ASOS for your next dressed-up event, or dress it down with a denim jacket—so versatile. They also sell dresses in this silhouette at H&M and ModCloth.

 

2. The Shoes

Our fair lady Audrey absolutely loved flats—her favorite was a staple black flat. Every girl should have a pair of black flats in her closet. You can go classic and simple with these from Target, or you can make this look your own with a different style (pointy toe, studded, bright color, you name it)!

3. The Finishing Touches

Audrey’s signature hairdo was a sweet baby side bang with a ponytail or bun. For your makeup, go for a bold pinky-red lip and killer filled-in eyebrows like our girl’s here.

 

The Jackie O—Early to Mid 60s

Before Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron, there was Jackie Onassis. The original fashionable First Lady managed to maintain her impeccable style throughout her time in the White House, even as she lived through tragedy. Jackie's prim matching skirt suits, pillbox hats, bright color choices, and super-sized dark glasses made her the style inspiration for women across America. She is still the inspiration for fashion today—as her go-to combos of “matching separates” are becoming super popular in many different styles.

1. The Outfit

Matching separates have become super duper popular over the last couple years (@Taylor Swift). Whether you choose shorts, pants, or a skirt, you’re sure to wow when you’re matching like this. The beauty of matching separates is that they can be casual or dressy, and you can always wear one piece without the other another time (and nobody will notice). Try this lemony zinger from Forever 21 for this summer! You can also find matching separates at H&M and ASOS.

 

2. The Shoes

Jackie was almost always wearing pointy toe pumps with all of her outfits. With the adorable yellow outfit above, the possibilities are absolutely endless! You could go for a pop of pattern and color with these watercolor cuties from DSW, or you can go simple with a solid color like blue, white, or even nude.

 

3. The Finishing Touches

Jackie loved her bubblegum pink lip! You can complete this look with a double strand pearl necklace, earrings, and delicate watch.

 

The Brigitte—Mid 60s

Brigitte Bardot was a world-famous French bombshell. Her style was unabashedly sexy, and every girl wanted some of her signature confidence. She made messy, piled-high up-dos the hair of choice, and she championed the sexy menswear look of that part of the decade. She popularized the Bardot neckline (a wide open neck, exposing your shoulders), was the first woman to shamelessly flaunt a bikini, and wore a gingham print wedding dress with lace trim to her wedding

1. The Top

Right now, the Bardot neckline (or as my mom would call it, the cold shoulder top) is super in. Try this one from ASOS, or if you’re not into baring-it-all, a plain white tank or tee is fine too.

 

2. The Patterned Pant

Brigitte made every woman want to wear gingham, so for this look we went with a really cute gingham cigarette pant from Old Navy to bring some sweet balance to the sassy/sexiness of the tank. You can also find similar pants at Gap or JCrew!

 

3. The Shoes

In the picture above, Brigitte is wearing a simple pair of flats. Another shoe you can wear is a pair of white Keds. Just about every girl in the 60s owned and frequently wore white Keds, especially with cropped pants or even skirts. I absolutely love Keds (I have like 20 pairs TBQH) because they dress down just about any outfit, give sexy pieces some added sweetness. They’re a great buy, you’ll wear these every day.

 

4. The Finishing Touches

Our girl Brigitte always had her eyes charcoal-y and sexy. To get her look, line your eyes all around at the waterline and then line them like you normally would, but ten times darker and with a neat flick for a wing. Swipe on some pinky nude lipstick, pile on the mascara, and tease up the back of your beachy waved hair with a cute headband—perfect for you collegiettes with long hair!

 

The Jean Shrimpton—Mid 60s

In 1960, Jean Shrimpton brought the fashion world to a halt. Unlike the more voluptuous models of the 1950’s that came packaged with stiff aristocratic poses, this leggy British brunette broke the modeling mold entirely with her super slender frame. Jean paved the way for fellow willowy models such as Twiggy and Penelope Tree. They’re the reason why we used to be so obsessed with so-skinny-they-might-snap-in-half models (but we’re beyond that now, right?). She was known for wearing culottes in vogue magazines, a style that’s incredibly on-trend today.

1. The Culottes

Culottes were popular in the 1960s because they gave the appearance of wearing a full skirt without actually being a skirt—and that’s exactly how you have to wear them. Culottes are everywhere, from Anne Taylor to ASOS, so you won’t have any trouble finding them, and you’ll have tons to choose from. For spring, go with a light color or a cute pattern if you’re feeling daring. These are from Forever 21, are a great color, and go with everything.

 

2. The Top

Now before you freak out and say “What the heck, Zoe, I don’t know what to wear with culottes!” let me help you out. People think that because you’re wearing an elegant pant, you have to be all dressy on top. NOT TRUE. You can be dressy if you want and wear a cute chiffon top. BUT they look just as cute (if not cuter) with a basic tee or tank. Try this mock neck tank from Anthro for an effortlessly 60s look like Jean's.

 

3. The Shoes

This look could not be more perfect with d’orsay flats. One of Jean’s shoes of choice, they bring a "menswear-meets-womenswear" elegance to every outfit. Try these from Nordstrom Rack, but they can be found pretty much everywhere because they’re so in style.

4. The Finishing Touches

Jeannie always had a subtle smoky-eye look going on. To mimic her look, place a smoky dark brown shadow in your crease and blend into a light matte cream on the lid. Then, load up on the mascara (especially on the bottom) and define your eyebrows. To top off your look, throw on a chunky beaded necklace. 

 

The Twiggy—Mid to Late 60s

BRITISH INVASION! After Jean Shrimpton, one of the greatest beauty muses ever, Twiggy, rose to supermodel fame thanks to her paint 'em on thick eyelashes and boyish pixie haircut. Almost overnight she became the face of the decade—a cute little beauty who took the mod trend by storm. She was best known for her brightly colored shift and tent dresses paired with baby ballet flats. Her face is still incredibly recognizable, and she even judged a few seasons of America’s Next Top Model!

1. The Dress

Right now, A-line and tent-like dresses seem to be all the rage. They’re dresses made out of a lot material so they sort of flare out at the bottom and hide your figure—a trait women in the 60s loved because it made them look more youthful. Try this A-line tank dress from Gap to recreate the Twiggy look above.

 

2. The Shoes

Ballet flats with a strap were common among women who wanted to look younger and more baby-esque. Try these cutout oxford flats from DSW for an updated take on the trend.

 

3. The Finishing Touches

To get Twiggy’s makeup, wear a ton of mascara with a dark shadow in the crease. If you don’t have her super short cut, put your hair in a tight bun or TWO buns! Finish off this look with big, dangly earrings, and you’ll have an adorable Twiggy-inspired look.

 

The 1960s is arguably my all-time favorite decade. The styles were unique and revolutionary—there was something for everyone, and it was all so good that it has stuck with our culture for more than half a century. If you want to see more from these beautiful ladies, and others from the decade, I highly recommend Googling. There are just so many strikingly beautiful images, you’re sure to be just as mesmerized as I am.

If you missed last week’s article about the 1950s, click here!