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What Are the Different Types of '60s Vintage Clothing?

By S. Reynolds
Updated May 21, 2024
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Popular '60s vintage clothing includes iconic items such as desert boots, bowling shoes, sleeveless dresses, and circle skirts. These fashions were influenced by the Beat Generation and the hippie trend of the late 1960s and early '70s. We call these vintage clothes today, but they were at the height of fashion many years ago. Thousands of people still wear these vintage items, and one can find many stores exclusively devoted to '60s vintage clothing.

Desert boots were popular with men in the 1960s, and they can be worn with either jeans or suits. The style of the desert boot took its influence from military boots, but they only became popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Another popular footwear style was the bowling shoe, made from leather or suede in all colors, including white, black, red, and blue. Either type of shoe can be a great addition to look put together from '60s vintage clothing.

No collection of '60s vintage clothing is complete without some type of hat, and men wore pork pie and Trilby hats on a daily basis in the early 1960s. Made from felt, these stylish hats had flat tops and curved sides. These hats were usually manufactured in dark colors, like black and grey. Women wore hats as well in the early '60s; the pillbox hat, popularized by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was available in many colors and has straight sides and a flat top.

Stylish women often wore sleeveless dresses and circle skirts in the early 1960s. These day dresses were also called sheath dresses, as they fitted close to the body without buttons or pleats. Dresses might have colorful patterns and varying colors. Circle skirts, popular in the 1950s, gave way to the mini skirt in the late 1960s. Women sometimes paired these short skirts with go-go boots.

The box jacket is another common piece of '60s vintage clothing. Ladies wore box jackets with 3/4 sleeves and round or flat collars. The jackets hung straight down without any curves; cropped box jackets hit the waist, while regular ones hung down to the hip bones or longer. Jackie Kennedy Onassis wore many box jackets during her role as First Lady early in the decade.

Hippie fashion started to emerge in the late 1960s, so vintage fashions from this time period tend to have a very different look from those earlier in the decade. Psychedelic patterns, love beads, bell bottom jeans, and tie dye became very popular with young people. Both men and women wore ripped jeans paired with colorful shirts. Accessories like headbands and peace symbols were worn with every outfit.

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Discussion Comments

By Wisedly33 — On Nov 13, 2014

I wore my older sister's go-go boots to school when she outgrew them. I thought I was something else when I wore them!

Early 60s fashions were very tailored and attractive. Jackie Kennedy really set the bar for looking "put together," no matter what she wore.

Fitted sheath dresses looked good, but you had to have the right figure for them. I also remember seeing my aunt's wedding photos. She married in 1966. She had a pillbox hat with a veil attached and an empire-waist dress. Empire waists are just not attractive. Most women look pregnant in them. But they were popular!

By Scrbblchick — On Nov 12, 2014

I remember teens wearing miniskirts with blouses, a' la Marcia Brady. I also remember the brightly colored sheath dresses with really wild patterns -- the "mod" look.

Go-go boots were huge, too. These were the patent leather boots that hit between the ankle and the bottom of the calf. The tops were not usually fitted, and you saw them everywhere. Even majorettes and flag corps members wore them! You'll see fitted knee boots called go-go boots, but they really aren't. The real versions were not fitted.

I also remember the resurgence of 20s fashions, in that you started seeing women wearing cloche style hats, along with long beads, and fringed dresses, like the “sheilas” wore.

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