The style of the 1950s and 1960s is distinct and memorable. Some of the trends of the 1950s trickled into the early 1960s before changing to fit more of the hippie styles that the 1960s made popular. Fashions of decades past are always interesting to study since many trends come back and gain new popularilty.
Empire cut dresses,often referred to as the “baby-doll” style, became popular especially among teenagers. Also during these decades the A-Line cut in dresses became more common. The dresses accentuated a slim waist and showed off a woman’s curves. By the early 1960s knit dresses with cowl necks were the next fashion trend, usually made in Lambswool. Double-breasted jackets, often in a trench coat style, became popular for both men and women. Men typically wore fitted suit jackets with narrow lapels.
Women of the 1950s and 1960s wore tailored blouses or tunics. Women sometimes wore a matching suit blazer if they were wearing trousers. A huge trend for men, especially in the 1960s, was the turtleneck. This shirt was a diverse option as men wore it under blazers, sweaters, vests or by itself. Men commonly wore business attire even on the weekends. To make it more casual, they would forgo the tie and maybe slip a handkerchief into the front, side pocket.
You can’t think of the 1950s and 1960s without remembering the skirts women wore. In the 1950s, poodle skirts were all the rage. Teens and women alike wore this style where the skirts were fitted at the waist and then poofed out, and the hem falling a little below knee length. Women usually wore peep toe shoes or strappy sandals with thin heels. By the 1960s skirts changed to be more fitting and also came in a shorter length, hence the name mini-skirts. Women often wore skirts with kitten heels or high, flat boots.
When women were not wearing skirts or jeans, but still wanted a formal look, they sported trousers. It was more common for women to dress up than to dress casually. By the 1960s sleek, tailored trousers were even more commonplace. Men wore fitted trousers, which was a fashion first from prior to this. Suit pants were loose.
In the early 1950s, the ponytail took over. Women wore their hair slicked back into a high ponytail, often with their hair hanging in curls. Another popular haircut was known as the “poodle” look. This was short and styled with tight curls. Girls achieved these curls by pinning and rolling, sometimes the night before, and spraying to hold the look. By the end of the decade, big hair was becoming more predominant. The “beehive” look, which created maximum volume in the front, carried over to the 1960s. Women kept the smooth, high style in place with hairspray, which became a popular product in and out of salons. In the 1950s, men wore their hair short and combed back. By the 1960s, they started to wear hair a little longer.
References and ResourcesFashion Era: 1950s Glamour
Fashion Era: The 1960s
Fifties Web: Fashion
Boomers Fifties Pinups: 1950s Mens Clothing