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Out of all of the generations that continue to have a strong influence on today's culture, very few eras can match the impact of the 1960s. If the 1950s were the time where youth culture developed, the 1960s were the time where teenagers flexed their muscle. Best known for being a time of serious political activity, the 1960s didn't just change the country's political and cultural landscape, it also strongly influenced the way we dress today.
1960's fashion was an extremely varied time that went through many different stylistic changes. Impressionable to popular culture of the time, 60's fashion represented a startling number of subcultures. Although most people think of 60's fashion as being hippie fashion, 60's fashion was actually much more complicated and varied.
In the beginning of the decade, 60's fashion was heavily influenced by the beach themed movies of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. This new focus on surf culture was reflected in the popularity of bikinis and surf t-shirts. This shift in popular fashion to a more risquire look led to the invention of the mini-skirt by Mary Quant that would become incredibly popular in the late 1960s and continues to have an enduring popularity.
While teenagers were enamored by the beach look in early 60s fashion, popular culture would change drastically when The Beatles emerged as a worldwide sensation. The spread of Beatlemania has been well documented and took its place in 60s fashion with the popularity of Nehru jackets. The early buttoned down look of The Beatles combined with their mop top hair changed the way that people dressed in the 1960s. However, much like The Beatles, 60s fashion would continue to evolve.
The 1960s were a time when rock and roll became extremely popular and 60s fashion would change to reflect the look of these new bands. Psychedelic rock bands from San Francisco would become extremely influential. Combined with their anti-war sentiment and their belief in creating a utopian society, the hippy look would develop and become a staple of 60s fashion. The popularity of bell-bottom jeans, tie-dyed shirts, and paisley printed clothing would become the norm in late 60s fashion. This look continues to be popular today and is a staple among the jam band fashion scene.
While hippie fashion would contribute to long hair among men and women, in the African American community, 60s fashion can be defined by the popularity of the Afro hair style. For women, 60s fashion doesn't mean an end to sophistication as many women drew inspiration from the classy look of Jacqueline Kennedy. Particularly popular for women in 60s fashion was the emergence of the pillbox hat.
The 1960s are a time that continue to have a deep impact in today's society. A time of protests against the Vietnam War and against the country's segregation laws, the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s endures in the continued popularity of 60s fashion!