What Did Men Wear In The 1960s

The 1960s marked an era where fashion underwent a dramatic revolution, mirroring the social upheaval and cultural shifts of the decade. It was the epoch of the Beatles, man’s first moonwalk, and the civil rights movement. Menswear, in particular, saw a departure from the conservative styles of the previous decades, embracing color, new materials, and unconventional cuts. Tailored suits were no longer the singular uniform of the day – floral shirts, denim jeans, and leather jackets began to symbolize individuality and non-conformity, as men’s clothing became a canvas for self-expression and rebellion against the status quo.

As we delve deeper into the key takeaways of men’s fashion in the 1960s, we open the wardrobe to a time capsule of iconic styles. We’ll explore how the mods and rockers defined their identities through their distinct clothing choices, the influence of pop culture icons on the adoption of trends like the Nehru jacket and the rise of casual, carefree clothing that characterized the hippie movement towards the latter part of the decade. Stay with us as we stitch together the intricate patterns of 1960s menswear – from the sharp Italian cuts to the psychedelic prints that turned the fashion world on its head, these sartorial shifts not only changed the fabric of men’s clothing but also weaved a new thread in the social fabric of the time.

What you should know

1. Men’s fashion in the 1960s was characterized by a mix of conservative clothing and the introduction of bold, innovative styles. The early part of the decade saw a continuation of the 1950s preppy look, with fitted suits, shorter hair, and hats being the norm. However, as the decade progressed, men began embracing more colorful and diverse apparel, influenced by social changes and the counterculture movement.

2. The mid-60s marked the emergence of Mod fashion, originating from London. This style was associated with tailored suits, slim-fitting trousers, and pointed shoes known as winklepickers. Accessories like the tie clip and pocket square were staples among Mod enthusiasts, while shirts often featured distinctive collars such as the spread or tab style.

3. Towards the late 1960s, the Hippie movement had a significant impact on men’s fashion, leading to a more casual and relaxed dress code that included jeans, tie-dye shirts, peasant blouses, and an overall embrace of ethnic influences. This period also saw the popularization of bell-bottom jeans and the Nehru jacket, which was an Indian-style stand-up collar jacket.

4. Influential music bands and celebrities played a major role in shaping men’s fashion trends during the 1960s. Icons like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones influenced men’s hairstyles and clothing choices, often dictating trends such as the mop-top haircut and the use of psychedelic patterns in clothing.

5. Footwear in the 1960s varied widely, with styles ranging from the conservative to the radical. Loafers and brogues were popular in the early years for a dressier look, while Chelsea boots and Beatle boots became fashionable due to their association with the British music scene. In the latter part of the decade, men frequently donned sandals or went barefoot as part of the Hippie expression of freedom and non-conformity.

Exploring the Attire of 1960s Men

What were the typical clothing styles for men during the 1960s? The decade was a time of significant change, and this was reflected in men’s fashion. **Men’s attire in the 1960s ranged from conservative, tailored suits to more casual and colorful clothing inspired by the counterculture movements.** The early part of the decade saw a continuation of the 1950s style with slim-fitting suits, known as the Continental Look. However, as the decade progressed, men’s fashion became more diverse, with the emergence of mod fashion, which included tailored suits with narrow lapels, thin ties, and button-down collared shirts.

By the mid-1960s, the Peacock Revolution had begun, and men’s fashion took a turn for the more flamboyant with the introduction of bolder patterns, brighter colors, and more experimental fabrics. This era saw the rise of the Nehru jacket, a hip-length tailored coat with a mandarin collar, which became a popular alternative to traditional Western-style suits. Additionally, casual wear became more acceptable in various settings, with items like polo shirts, chinos, and denim jeans becoming staples in a man’s wardrobe.

The late 1960s also witnessed the influence of the hippie movement on men’s fashion. Clothing became a form of expression, with psychedelic prints, tie-dye patterns, and ethnic-inspired garments. Bell-bottom trousers, fringed vests, and headbands were commonly worn by those embracing the hippie aesthetic. Leather jackets and boots were also popular among men, often associated with the rebellious image of rock stars and bikers.

Formal Attire in the 1960s

The 1960s were a transformative period for formal wear among men. In the early years, the Rat Pack style was in vogue, characterized by slim-fitting suits, skinny ties, and fedora hats. Men often wore dark, conservative suits for business and formal events, with a preference for charcoal, navy, or black colors. The suits were typically single-breasted with narrow lapels and a slight taper at the waist to emphasize a trim figure.

As the decade progressed, formal wear began to reflect the social changes of the time. The mod subculture introduced a sharper, more tailored look with suits that featured bolder patterns and brighter colors. Double-breasted suits also made a comeback, often paired with wide ties and pocket squares for a touch of elegance. The tuxedo remained a staple for black-tie events, but with a modern twist, such as shawl collars or velvet dinner jackets in rich colors like burgundy or midnight blue.

By the end of the 1960s, formal attire had become more diverse, with some men opting for less traditional styles. Turtlenecks worn under blazers became an acceptable alternative to the shirt-and-tie combination. Additionally, the emergence of unisex fashion blurred the lines between men’s and women’s clothing, with some men daring to wear ruffled shirts or ascots for a more flamboyant look.

Casual Wear and Youth Culture

The casual wear of the 1960s was heavily influenced by the youth culture and the desire for comfort and self-expression. The Ivy League look was popular among young men, consisting of chino pants, button-down Oxford shirts, and crew-neck sweaters. This preppy style was often completed with penny loafers or brogues and was seen as a clean-cut and collegiate look.

The British Invasion, led by bands like The Beatles, also had a significant impact on casual men’s fashion. The mod look, which originated in London, featured fitted polo shirts, slim-cut trousers, and Chelsea boots. Parkas and military-style jackets became popular outerwear choices, especially among the scooter-riding mods. The use of bold geometric patterns and color-blocking was common in casual shirts and knitwear.

Towards the latter part of the decade, the casual wear of men became more eclectic and relaxed, mirroring the ethos of the hippie movement. Denim became a symbol of the counterculture, with jeans evolving from a workwear staple to a fashion statement. Men wore bell-bottoms, tie-dyed shirts, and peasant blouses, often accessorized with beaded necklaces and bandanas. The influence of non-Western cultures was evident in the adoption of items like dashikis and sandals, reflecting a growing interest in global aesthetics and peace.

Accessories and Footwear

Accessories played a crucial role in completing the 1960s men’s fashion look. Hats, which were once a mandatory part of a man’s outfit, began to decline in popularity, but styles like the fedora, trilby, and newsboy cap were still worn by some. Sunglasses became a fashion statement, with iconic styles like the wayfarer and aviator gaining popularity. Men’s jewelry also became more acceptable, with items like cufflinks, tie bars, and wristwatches serving as subtle accents to a well-dressed man’s ensemble.

Footwear in the 1960s varied widely, from the conservative to the bold. Dress shoes like Oxfords and brogues remained staples for formal occasions, while loafers and moccasins were the go-to choices for casual wear. The mod culture popularized the Chelsea boot, a close-fitting, ankle-high boot with an elastic side panel. For those embracing the hippie lifestyle, sandals and moccasin-style boots were preferred for their natural and earthy look.

In terms of alternative footwear, the 1960s saw the rise of sneakers as everyday wear. Brands like Converse and Adidas became popular, especially among the younger generation. These sneakers were not only comfortable but also versatile, pairing well with both casual and semi-casual outfits. The decade also introduced the Cuban heel, a slightly raised heel found on men’s boots, which added a touch of flair to the footwear of the time.

What Were the Key Features of Men’s Fashion in the 1960s?

The 1960s was a decade of significant change, and this was reflected in men’s fashion with the emergence of new styles and silhouettes. Key features of the era included slim-fitting suits, often with narrow lapels and trousers that were cut closer to the body. The Mod subculture had a considerable influence, popularizing the use of bold colors, geometric patterns, and innovative materials like PVC. Casual wear also saw a transformation with the introduction of items such as the polo shirt, chinos, and denim jeans becoming more mainstream.

Another characteristic of the 1960s men’s fashion was the experimentation with length and fit. Jackets became shorter, and the ‘Beatle boot’ and Chelsea boot gained popularity. Towards the end of the decade, the Hippie movement brought about a more relaxed and eclectic style, with tie-dye shirts, headbands, and bell-bottom trousers becoming common. The 1960s also saw the rise of the peacock revolution, where men’s fashion became more flamboyant and expressive, challenging traditional norms.

How Did Social Movements Influence Men’s Clothing in the 1960s?

Social movements had a profound impact on men’s clothing in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Movement, for example, saw African American men dressing in sharp suits as a form of empowerment and protest, often associated with figures like Malcolm X. The Mod movement, which started in Britain, was another significant influence, promoting a sleek, tailored look that was both modern and stylish. This movement was closely tied to the music scene, with bands like The Who and The Small Faces embodying the Mod style.

The Hippie movement later in the decade was a stark contrast to the Mods, with its emphasis on anti-establishment values and freedom of expression. This was reflected in men’s fashion through the use of psychedelic patterns, ethnic-inspired garments, and a general sense of sartorial rebellion. The anti-war sentiment was also expressed through clothing, with peace symbols and other protest imagery becoming common motifs on shirts, jackets, and accessories.

What Types of Suits Were Popular for Men in the 1960s?

In the 1960s, men’s suits underwent a transformation from the more conservative styles of the previous decade. The early 1960s saw the continuation of the slim-fitting, single-breasted suit with narrow lapels, often referred to as the ‘Mod suit.’ This was popularized by British tailors on Savile Row and by celebrities like The Beatles. As the decade progressed, the Italian cut became fashionable, characterized by its more structured shoulders and a slightly more relaxed fit.

By the mid to late 1960s, the influence of the Hippie and Psychedelic movements began to be felt in suiting as well. Some men started to experiment with bolder patterns, wider lapels, and flared trousers. Double-breasted suits also saw a resurgence, and there was a growing trend for mismatched separates, such as pairing a blazer with different colored trousers. The late ’60s also introduced the Nehru jacket, a stand-up collar style that became a brief but iconic trend.

What Role Did Music and Film Stars Play in Shaping Men’s Fashion in the 1960s?

Music and film stars played a pivotal role in shaping men’s fashion during the 1960s. Icons like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix were not just musical trendsetters but also fashion influencers. The Beatles, for instance, popularized the Mod look early in the decade and later on, the more eclectic styles associated with the Psychedelic era. Their influence was so significant that they even inspired a specific type of collar, the ‘Beatle collar,’ on men’s shirts.

Film stars like Steve McQueen and Sean Connery (as James Bond) also set trends, with McQueen’s effortless cool and Connery’s sharp suits becoming the epitome of masculine style. These celebrities’ choices in clothing, hairstyles, and accessories were closely watched and emulated by the public, making them instrumental in the dissemination of 1960s fashion trends.

Were There Any Regional Differences in Men’s Fashion During the 1960s?

Yes, there were regional differences in men’s fashion during the 1960s. In the United States, the Ivy League style was prevalent on the East Coast, characterized by preppy elements like button-down shirts, crew neck sweaters, and penny loafers. The West Coast, influenced by the surf culture, had a more laid-back approach to fashion, with Hawaiian shirts, board shorts, and sandals being popular among young men.

In Europe, particularly in Britain, the Mod fashion was dominant, with its sharp tailoring and modernist influences. Italian men’s fashion was also influential, with its sophisticated, well-cut suits and emphasis on quality materials. Meanwhile, in countries experiencing political and social upheaval, such as France during the May 1968 protests, fashion became a form of political expression, with students and young people adopting a more utilitarian and anti-establishment style.

How Did Accessories Complement Men’s Outfits in the 1960s?

Accessories were an essential part of men’s outfits in the 1960s and were used to complement and complete a look. For the dapper Mod-influenced dresser, accessories included skinny ties, tie clips, and cufflinks. The use of pocket squares and lapel pins added a touch of sophistication to suits. Sunglasses, like the iconic Wayfarers, became popular not just for their functionality but also as a style statement.

On the more casual end of the spectrum, leather belts, wristwatches, and simple jewelry like chain necklaces or rings were common. The Hippie movement introduced a range of eclectic accessories such as beaded necklaces, headbands, and bracelets. Footwear also played a significant role, with Chelsea boots, loafers, and later on, platform shoes becoming part of the fashionable man’s wardrobe.

What Was the Impact of the Mod Subculture on Men’s Fashion?

The Mod subculture had a significant impact on men’s fashion in the 1960s. Originating from London, Mods were known for their love of modern jazz, scooters, and a distinctive style that emphasized clean lines, sharp tailoring, and a smart appearance. The Mod look included fitted suits, slim ties, button-down collared shirts, and the iconic parka jacket. This subculture also embraced bold patterns, such as checks and stripes, and was not afraid to experiment with color.

Mods also placed a high value on their appearance and grooming, influencing the popularity of hairstyles like the French crop and the use of hair products to achieve a sleek, polished look. The Mod style was not just about clothing; it was a complete lifestyle choice that influenced music, art, and attitudes towards fashion. The legacy of the Mod subculture is still evident today, with many of its fashion elements remaining stylish and influential.

What Role Did Tailoring Play in 1960s Men’s Fashion?

Tailoring played a crucial role in 1960s men’s fashion, as the decade was marked by a move towards more fitted and streamlined silhouettes. The early part of the decade continued the trend of the 1950s with a focus on bespoke tailoring and made-to-measure suits. Savile Row in London remained the epicenter of traditional men’s tailoring, producing high-quality suits that emphasized a clean and modern cut.

As the decade progressed, ready-to-wear suits became more popular due to their affordability and availability. This shift allowed a wider range of men to access fashionable clothing and follow the trends set by celebrities and style icons. Despite the rise of casual wear, tailoring remained important for formal occasions and the workplace, with the suit symbolizing professionalism and sophistication.

How Did Casual Wear Evolve for Men During the 1960s?

Casual wear for men saw significant evolution during the 1960s. The decade began with a continuation of the preppy look from the 1950s, with items like polo shirts, chinos, and loafers being popular for casual settings. However, as the decade moved forward, there was a shift towards more relaxed and diverse styles. The influence of youth culture and the Hippie movement meant that jeans became a staple for casual wear, often paired with t-shirts that featured band logos or protest messages.

The mid to late 1960s also saw the introduction of more ethnic and eclectic influences in casual wear, such as the adoption of the Mexican Baja jacket, African dashikis, and Indian Nehru shirts. The rise of counterculture movements encouraged a DIY approach to fashion, with individuals customizing their clothing with patches, embroidery, and tie-dye techniques. Casual footwear also diversified, with sneakers, sandals, and boots becoming part of everyday attire.

What Were the Popular Hairstyles for Men in the 1960s?

Popular hairstyles for men in the 1960s varied greatly, reflecting the diversity of the decade’s fashion. Early in the decade, the crew cut and Ivy League styles were still in vogue, representing a clean-cut and conservative appearance. However, as the influence of the Mod subculture grew, hairstyles like the French crop and side-parted styles became fashionable, often accompanied by the use of hair products to maintain a sleek look.

By the mid to late 1960s, influenced by the Hippie movement and rock musicians, men’s hair grew longer and more natural. The mop-top hairstyle, made famous by The Beatles, was a trendsetter. Towards the end of the decade, even longer hairstyles and the use of headbands became common, with some men embracing the Afro hairstyle as a symbol of cultural identity and political statement. The diversity in hairstyles during the 1960s was a clear indicator of the changing social norms and the increasing freedom of personal expression.