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1960s fashion trends that we still adore today

These swinging looks are more relevant than ever

1960s fashion
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
Updated: July 12, 2023
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Our love for Swinging Sixties fashion trends looks knows no bounds. Moon landings and mods, sartorially speaking, is there a better decade?

The "Youthquake" movement, a phrase coined by Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland, blossomed - think Austin Powers in 4D. And when the contraceptive pill became readily available in 1967, this meant one thing: sexual liberation.

MORE: 1970s fashion trends that are having a major revival this season

READ: 50s fashion trends: the styles that ruled the decade and still influence us today

Twiggy in a checked dress holding a leaf © Getty
The decade had a certain revolutionary spirit

Fashion's cyclical nature means that what goes around comes around, and although the 1960s were more than 50 years ago now, we're still reaping the style benefits from the It-Girls of the day.

Some of the major trendsetters of the decade include actresses, singers and models, laden with je ne sais quoi that set them apart from the rest. Twiggy, with her famous doll-like eyelashes, for one, along with Jean Shrimpton and Dusty Springfield who favoured puffy babydolls and voluminous block fringes.

Wanting to give your current wardrobe a 1960s-themed overhaul? Keep scrolling…

How we chose the pieces:

After combing through the decade's photo archive, we pulled out the trends that are still utterly relevant today. We then scoured the internet's top fashion sites, taking into account style, price point and quality, to help you infuse your wardrobe with a splash of Swinging Sixties glamour.

Hello! Fashion shares the 1960s fashion trends that we still adore today:

Mini skirts

Brigitte Bardot wearing a green mini skirt with a yellow knit © Getty
Brigitte Bardot was partial to a mini

The modern minthusiast (rolls off the tongue, no?) owes much to the late designer Mary Quant. While she never claimed to be its inventor (that honour she always attributed to the London girls who wore them on the streets), she was one of its greatest champions and named the popular style after her beloved Mini Cooper car. 

As the mini skirt flourished, a shift in the cultural landscape was taking place - women were being allowed more sexual freedom. Its perfection lies in the proportion - with that much flesh on show, there’s a certain threshold of confidence involved. 

READ: 80s fashion for women: 6 incredible style moments we still love today

RELATED: 90s fashion trends that are making a comeback

Stepping out with higher hemlines was a radical move and the girls on the street made a major political statement by channelling such an effortless look. The wearer of the mini is spirited, sexy and most importantly, unaffected by British weather.

The party mini

Embellished cutout sequined tulle mini skirt - Nenski Dojaka
Embellished cutout sequined tulle mini skirt - Nenski Dojaka

Oozing disco glam, Nensi Dojaka's silver sequin mini skirt is the ultimate party piece. Cut from tulle, it features cool-girl cut-outs on both hips with heart-shaped detailing. Style yours with a sheer blouse and knee-high boots for a sense of unadulterated glam.

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Shift silhouette 

1960s models wearing colourful shift dresses © Getty
The straight shape was the silhouette du jour

A departure from the hourglass shape that dominated in the 1950s, the shift dress favoured the straight up-and-down look. Flattering on column body types, the shift is defined by fabric that hangs straight down from the shoulders, offering no waist definition. The style was often sleeveless, and coloured with block, poppy hues.

The geometric shift

Mira Mini - Free People
Mira Mini - Free People

Free People's Mira design is playful and cool, nodding to the 1960s both in its straight silhouette and its vibrant geometric pattern. The knitted piece would look cool styled over a voluminous sleeve blouse with glossy Mary Janes for maximum retro vibes.


Twiggy wearing a beret © Getty
Berets were one of the decade's hottest hat trends

A favourite along Beatniks, in the 1960s the beret was often teamed with a black turtleneck and a love of literature. The rise of French New Wave cinema also contributed to its popularity. Styling a beret is not a job for the fainthearted - the slouchy shape has to be carefully positioned on the head so that you don't end up looking ridiculous. 

The must-have beret

Embellished wool knit beret - Bruno Cucinelli
Embellished wool knit beret - Bruno Cucinelli

Crafted in Italy from 100% wool, this pastel blue beret by Bruno Cucinelli is not to everyone's tastes. But for die-hard accessory aficionados, it will come as a welcome wish list addition. With its hand-applied monili beads tip, it would look great alongside a cream polo neck and a dash of rebellious spirit.


1960s models wearing PVC clothes © Getty
PVC gave clothes a glossy effect

Designers pushed the boundaries with fabric in the 1960s, and Paco Rabanne was one of those who was ahead of the curve. Incorporating metal and plastic into his ensembles, the designer rejected convention and at around the same time, PVC entered the mix. Glossy finishes not only gave fibres man-made water-repellant properties, the wet-look was hugely fashionable.

The statement outerwear

Caitlin belted vinyl coat - HVN
Caitlin belted vinyl coat - HVN

Coats certainly needn't be boring, and this lime green vinyl piece by HVN is a case in point. Featuring a clear acetate ring at the centre of the belt, the coat is unapologetically loud, and would look great alongside a silk scarf tied at the neck and doll-like lashes. Twiggy would no doubt approve.


Crochet swimsuit© Getty
Crochet has woven itself back into the fashion landscape

Despite its humble origins, this trend is still absolutely everywhere - it's odd to believe that the craft was originally used as a cheap substitute for traditional lace back in early 19th century Europe.

The 1960s saw a huge boom for crochet, and judging by the number of bucket hats, crop tops and slip dresses that are currently on the market today, the trend is going absolutely nowhere.  

MORE: The 8 best crochet bags to shop right now

READ: Why a crochet bucket hat is still the must have accessory to shop this summer

With its design that embraces holes, crochet the perfect technique to wear during the warmer months. A stylish poolside moment would be incomplete without a sleeveless crochet maxi dress layered over a sleek one-piece.

The summery mini 

Psychedelic cotton-crochet mini dress - Staud
Psychedelic cotton-crochet mini dress - Staud

Staud's crochet mini hits the 1960s agenda on two key fronts: a shift silhouette and a swirly, psychedelic design. Team with a wide-brim hat and padded flatform sandals for a retro-inspired holiday moment.

Psychedelic prints

Raquel Welch wearing a yellow, pink and green psychedelic dress © Getty
Art and culture had a major influence on what people wore

The psychedelic art movement had a major effect on many areas of pop culture, namely music, literature, philosophy and, of course, clothing. The idea is that bright colours, distorted visuals and kaleidoscopic patterns are strongly reminiscent of the experience created by psychedelic substances. Some major artists of the time include Alex Grey, Rick Griffin and Wes Wilson. 

Plenty of today's fashion brands are still producing collections featuring prints heavily inspired by the movement, including cult brand House of Sunny with its covetable bodycon midi dresses, as well as Emilio Pucci, paying tribute to the brand's founder who was dubbed the 'Prince of Prints' for his esteemed geometrics.

The statement maxi 

Shalimar Psychedelic Maxi Dress - Natalie and Alanna
Shalimar Psychedelic Maxi Dress - Natalie and Alanna

Featuring a jazzy, statement print, this piece by Natalie and Alanna is guaranteed to make an impact. Created from polyester satin, the dress is trimmed with frothy marabou feathers and a plunging keyhole cut-out. Style with big hair, platform heels and a no-nonsense attitude. 

Knee-high boots  

1960s actress Ann Margret wearing black boots© Getty
Boots were hugely popular among young women

Paired with the classic mini skirt, knee-high boots ruled the 1960s footwear scene alongside go-go boots. Heels were not overly high, certainly not in comparison to some of the vertiginous styles we see today, but they still felt cool and chic. Go-gos were white and mid-calf in height, as defined by top designer of the moment, André Courrèges, and made for the perfect accompaniment to a Space Age ensemble.

RELATED: We’re obsessed with chunky platforms (again)

The classic go-gos 

Val white boots - Terry de Havilland
Val white boots - Terry de Havilland

Crafted from quality crocodile effect leather, these Terry de Havilland boots are the retro style seeker's idea of footwear heaven. Style yours with a sheer mini dress and feline flick eyeliner to bring the 60s It-girl look into the 21st century.


Jackie Collins wearing a tie-dye T-shirt © Getty
Tie-dye was favoured by non-conformists

This trend was embraced by free-spirited counterculturalists breaking away from the traditional social mould, and it came to symbolise all things peace-related. The idea of clothing as a form of protest gained traction, and many adopted a DIY approach, getting their hands dirty and creating their own tie-dye designs.

The shibori midi 

Philomena tie-dye silk midi dress - Altuzarra
Philomena tie-dye silk midi dress - Altuzarra

Tie-dye often has a hippyish, rustic feel, but Altuzarra's Philomena dress has an air of chic. Crafted from silk, the piece features flattering waist ties and a plunging neckline and would look great for the evening with minimalist heels and a sleek clutch.

Babydoll dresses

Babydoll Dress© Photo: Getty Images
The babydoll's origin is rooted in nightwear

The dress style began its life as a short nightgown, designed by Sylvia Pedlar in 1942 in response to wartime fabric rationing. Versions for children were then created – generally the style is defined by its empire line neckline and flowy skirt which made it easier mothers to change nappies. 

The cinematic release of Tennessee Williams' Babydoll, in which actress Carroll Baker wore a short-sleeved frill version, is thought to mark the origin of the dress style's name. In the 1960s, Twiggy paired hers with her now-iconic eye makeup look and T-bar Mary Janes, and thousands of others followed suit.

The romantic babydoll

Dream Scents Organza mini dress - Sister Jane
Dream Scents Organza mini dress - Sister Jane

With ruffle-lined seams, this saccharine pink mini by Sister Jane has a playful girlishness about it. Created from organza jacquard, the tiered shape is reminiscent of an antique fairy doll. Team with a padded headband and metallic platforms for an outdoor soirée.

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