Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Wednesday 24 July 2019
182,543 SUBSCRIBERS

Seasonal swingin': The most iconic sixties summertime trends

RATE THIS ARTICLE

Share This Article:

A rise in Instagram accounts dedicated to all things the sixties has shed new light on iconic historical moments often unseen to the social media generation, until now. 

And whether it’s candid shots from Woodstock or film stills, one thing is clear: the fashion of the sixties is iconic for a reason.  Here, our fashion editor Charlie explores some of the decade’s most memorable summertime trends 50 years on.  

Image credit: Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell via Wikimedia Commons

Life in Plastic

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 60's Fashion (@1960sfashion) on

Nowadays it seems we’ve finally caught on to the fact that synthetic materials are pretty much destroying the planet, but back in the sixties they were a novelty that was changing the shape (literally and figuratively) of fashion.  Outfits became easier to care for, and PVC, perspex, and spandex options opened up a new realm of style opportunity.  The British summer is known for its unwelcome showers, so a transparent raincoat was just the ticket to show off and protect your well-planned ensemble underneath.  

Flower Power

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sixties Daily (@sixtiesdaily) on

Perhaps the most emblematic trend of the sixties, flower power was as much a political statement as it was a sartorial one. Miranda Priestley may have sarcastically labelled florals for spring groundbreaking, but back in the sixties flowers- symbolising passive resistance and rooted in opposition to the Vietnam war- really did form part of the hippie counterculture. Even nowadays, no summertime festival is complete without a floral shirt or a flower crown, and we have our swingin’ ancestors to thank for that.    

 

Psychedelic Style

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 60's Fashion (@1960sfashion) on

Like flower power, psychedelic prints emerged towards the end of the sixties.  Characterised by distorted, almost surreal prints and bright colours, these patterns could be found on anything from mini dresses on the King’s Road to unbuttoned shirts on the field at Woodstock.  Although most commonly associated with drug-fuelled counterculture, psychedelic-esque prints were also the speciality of Italian designers Emilio Pucci, whose printed silks were a popular choice when the sun came out and brightened everything up- wardrobes included.

Crop ’Til You Drop

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 1960s (@60sgoodtimes) on

Less controversial than their counterculture counterpart, but certainly no less iconic, are the capri trousers which were favoured by the likes of Audrey Hepburn.  They rose to popularity during the 1950s and were a stalwart of the classic aesthetic in the early sixties, thanks in no small part to Mary Tyler Moore who insisted her onscreen character, housewife Laura Petrie, wore them.  Pedal pushers became one of the character’s trademarks, which helped raise a humble trouser to major style inspiration.  

Graphic Content 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 60's Fashion (@1960sfashion) on

Go on any fancy dress website, and under the “1960s costumes” section if there’s one trend that’s bound to appear in plentiful supply it’s the bold geometric prints of the sixties.  The clean lines of the era’s popular shift dress provided the perfect canvas for more detailed, eye-catching prints and they came in their droves. From trapeziums to hexagons, geometry left the textbooks and found a welcoming home on the pages of fashion magazines worldwide. Nothing pairs better with a jaunty hat and some statement sunglasses when the sun comes out.  

Less is More

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 1960s (@60sgoodtimes) on

We couldn’t possibly talk about summer in the sixties without mentioning the mini skirt.  When temperatures rise, for many it’s the perfect excuse to let their hemlines do the same, and André Courrèges and Mary Quant laid some fabulous foundations for us to do so.  Paired with everything from minimalist space-age boots to bohemian flowing locks, it seems every social sub-set found a way to incorporate high hemlines into their aesthetic, be it a structured tailored skirt or a lightweight smock dress.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sixties Daily (@sixtiesdaily) on


Brighter is Better

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 1960s (@60sgoodtimes) on

New materials and new silhouettes weren’t the only innovations of the sixties that changed summer style for good: there were also new colour palettes.  The rise of the self-serve boutique filled to the brim with London designers’ brightly-coloured confections that could be mixed and matched to your heart’s content had a huge influence on fashion both in the UK and abroad.  Swinging London was full of colour, vivid and intense; when it came to dressing, you could go hard or go home.  

So, this summer, whether or not you realise, you’ll probably sport a trend first popularised half a century ago by youth making the most of an age of invention.  Be it your shortest skirt, your floweriest frock, or your brightest bag, embrace the fashion of days gone by and let’s make this summer the most sartorial since 1969.  

For more summertime style, check out our guide to modest warm-weather wear here!

Lead image credit: Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell via Wikimedia Commons




© 2019 TheNationalStudent.com is a website of BigChoice Group Limited | 201 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1JA | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974