The 1960s was often referred to as the “Swinging Sixties”. It was noted as one of the most defining eras in men’s fashion. Changes in 1960s men’s fashion were just as drastic as they were for women. During this time, formality was out and casual was in. From the relaxed yet conservative fashion of the 1950s, men’s fashion took on a sharp turn into bolder and more fashionable clothing during this decade. It brought a sense of refinement to men’s styles.
1960s men’s fashion marked the replacement of ill fitted and outdated trends. It was during this decade when men’s clothing underwent a complete transformation. Men’s fashion took a departure from simple, crisp looks of the past decade and embraced a sense of refinement and elegance. It was indeed a revolution of style.
To give you a good idea about what men wore in the 60s, we browsed the web.
Sweat shirts and turtle necks
As compared to the previous decades, people preferred a more casual lifestyle in the 60s. Sweaters and turtle necks became so popular because these pieces of clothing allowed them to be neatly dressed while still looking casual. They became an everyday feature in 1960s men’s fashion. Everybody had at least one turtle neck back in the 60s.
Turtle necks were the norm for casual wear. They were very flattering on both tall and skinny men. Because of this, men begun pairing this up with almost everything. Often, you’d find men wearing them with vests, under blazers, with jeans or bell bottom trousers. Due to its popularity, manufacturers stared offering them in a variety of fabrics and almost every color imaginable.
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If fashion of the previous decades were all about formality, as well as dull and boring colors, 1960s men’s fashion is far from it. In fact, it was in this decade when men started wearing clothing in vivid colors and wide prints.
The Hippie Movement began in the 60s. It was considered a mark of rebellion, and became incredibly popular among youths. It altered fashion in a manifold way. Clothings were more rugged in nature. It was also the first time in fashion history that men wore t-shirts. Due to the popularity of the hippie shirt, designers started making bright-colored pants, jewelry, headbands, and belts. Men gravitated towards vibrant colors and obnoxious prints such as polka dots, floral, and paisley.
The Ivy League look
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The Ivy League clothing was considered desirable mainstream apparel for middle class men in the 50s and 60s. It was said to have originated on college campuses. Many young men adopted the look due to its association with the upper classes.
The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, looked incredible in the Ivy League menswear staples. If there is one thing he could do with aplomb was laidback sophistication. Often, when politicians try to dress down to appeal to the masses, they look awkward and forced. However, the look suited JFK very well. In fact, he became one of the poster boys of the Ivy League look. People found it refreshing to see a political leader looking so effortlessly stylish.
Despite being introduced in the 50s, the Ivy League look remained and became a fashion trend until the middle of the 1960s. The Ivy League look still looks on trend today. This only proves that fashion never goes out of style.
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Despite the popularity of casual clothing, men were still dressing conservatively in the 60s. They dressed formally when the situation demanded, especially in the office, business meetings or formal occasion. In fact, men wore slimmer, tailored suits with a clean, straight cut. It was all about clean, sophisticated lines. The entire ensemble gives a sleek silhouette from head to toe that can make any man look smart and sophisticated.
Towards the end of the decade, however, the conservative men’s suit took on a more relaxed styling. It came with bold prints and some geometric designs and flared slacks. Unlike the previous decades, bold colors and loud prints took men by awe. They became more conscious about fashion. Instead of solid-colored suits, they opted for checkered suits with dark vertical and horizontal lines paired with bright-colored ties. Also, men started wearing turtle neck tops in exchange of dress shirts.
Bell bottom pants
The bell-bottom became all the rage in the 1960s. It was extremely popular that the trend continued until the end of the decade. These pants flared out from the bottom of the calf. They were often worn skin-tight to the knee and then flared out in a wide, soft drape. Originally, these pants were worn by those who worked on boats. It was a functional design as it makes it easier for them to roll up their pants while washing the decks.
Despite the introduction of tailored and sophisticated clothing, younger men didn’t like the idea of buying expensive clothing. As such, they shopped at second hand stores and developed a new fashion trend; hence, the introduction of bell bottom pants. The clothing of this new fashion was extremely casual and inexpensive. Eventually, the bell bottom pants became an everyday fashion item and became extremely popular among younger men.
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The 1960s marks the period of transition from conservative to liberal. Men’s hairstyles also underwent a huge transformation during the 60s.
During the 60s, men were categorized into 2 groups – those who stick with the status quo and those who are rebelling against the conservative clothing rules.
The Beatles were one of the fashion idols of the 60s. People have watched them transform from a clean-cut boy band into a paisley-plastered psychedelic rock group. Those who didn’t wish to conform to the strict, conservative clothing rules followed suit. Men started growing their hair as a sign of rebellion. Some would cut their hair short at the back, and then keep it longer in front. Then, they would apply oil or gel on the front pieces and sweep them up and away from the face.