The seismic sixties were a decade of large scale, impactful events that shook and shaped America – everything from the push for civil rights and the war in Vietnam to campus unrest and the assassination of JFK. No wonder peace, love and happiness was the hippie mantra.
Yet, despite all the gravity that hit the decade, it was also loaded with tons of memorable trends and fashions that helped lighten up the societal tension.
Before Backstreet Boys. Prior to N’sync. The Beatles were the original boy band craze to strike the hearts of teenage girls everywhere. Rocking those infamous mop top haircuts, Paul, John, George and Ringo would go on to not only be the biggest band of the decade but arguably the biggest band of all time.
By the mid 60s, women in dance clubs across America could be spotted rocking these knee-high boots while shimmying to the twist, the swim and the loco-motion.
What’s more far out than a lamp that can put you in a trance? These illuminated glass cylinder lamps, when fully heated, would send therapeutic globs of a colorful wax-like substance up and down the shaft of the lamp. It was mesmerizing, especially if you were under … well, you know.
The 60s were full of exploring psychedelic new perspectives on things. By adding a fluorescent purple haze-like light to a room, various colors would glow bright and neon. You could even leave secret notes on things that only a black light could reveal.
Tie Dye Clothing
If there was one thing that paired perfectly with the black light craze, it was tie dye t-shirts. Hippies took it to a whole new level by creating a wide variety of designs, from peace signs and hearts to smiley faces and more for the ultimate visual trip.
Thanks to a slew of beach party movies, like “Gidget” and bands like the Beach Boys, surfing took the nation by storm. Even if you were nowhere near the coast, you couldn’t help but long to wade out onto the ocean on your board and day dream of an endless summer.
In 1964, little nude dolls with crazy, colorful hair hit the toy market and popularity boomed –selling over a million trolls. And to think, the creator, Thomas Dam, created the doll because he couldn’t afford to buy her a birthday present.
Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. In the 60s, people wore their moods on their fingers. The famous black oval ring would change colors when the wearer’s mood changed, possibly an attempt to lighten the overall mood of the decade? That might be a stretch …
These notoriously wide-bottomed pants were established in the 60s and styled after Navy uniform pants. Once people’s favorite celebrities, including Elvis and Sonny and Cher started wearing them on live TV, they became a bonafide fashion statement, like many other trends and styles so often do.
Hairstyles – Pixie, Bouffant and Afro
Like every decade, the 60s had their own variety of popular hair styles. Among them was the short pixie cut for women, like Audrey Hepburn; the more buoyant and contoured bouffant style, worn by First Lady, Jackie Kennedy; and the cool as a cat afro, worn predominately by African Americans and made popular by groups like the Jackson 5.
If you look for them, a lot of the 60’s trends and fashions can still be seen today (Trolls the movie was released in 2016 and afros have made a loud and proud comeback)… while others, not so much, and for good reason. We’re looking at you bellbottoms. As a new decade gets closer to approaching, it will be interesting to see what the 2020s have to say about bringing some of these back from their groovy graves.