The 1960’s – Focus Fashion: Fashion in Rock Music Through the Decades

Written by on April 18, 2023

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FASHION OF THE 1960’s – The 1960’s started with fashion that leaned on the conservative side. Boys were seen wearing sports coats and dress shoes with a crew cut, while girls wore knee-length dresses and button-down plaid shirts with a ponytail or bouffant. Then, in the mid-’60s, fashion took a turn. Since TV became a staple appliance in American households, many would tune in to watch their favorite music groups on screen. These artists inspired new trends. There was also a shift in cultural ideals- The youth were politically outspoken; standing up for civil rights, women’s rights, or protesting the Vietnam War. Many were adopting the ideology of peace and love. As a result, fashion became much more relaxed. Crew cuts were traded for longer hair with beards, mustaches, and sideburns. In the African American community, afros became increasingly popular among both genders.

The British Invasion

Television programs like the Ed Sullivan Show hosted many bands, specifically those from the UK. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Dave Clark Five, Dusty Springfield, and Petula Clark all performed on the show, propelling the British Invasion of the American music industry. The Beatles had their first televised performance on the show in 1964, where the members wore tight trousers, pointed boots, and shaggy hair. This look quickly took the nation by storm.


Artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and many others contributed to the popular hippie style. Many of these artists encouraged new mindsets, such as promoting peace and love, or opposing the Vietnam War. The Grateful Dead were one of the most famous bands to adopt this ideology. The band’s style included the iconic jean jacket, vibrant tie-dye and colorful imagery on shirts, hoodies, and baseball tees. Many at the time would walk barefoot or in sandals as a testament to their defiance against societal norms. Hair was usually left untreated and natural. A unisex style became more popular with bell-bottom jeans, embroidered shirts, and love beads. Motifs like flowers, bright colors, paisley and psychedelic influences were also common. By the end of the 60’s, hippie culture was all the rage.

American Rock

Rock Bands in the U.S. had a peculiar taste in fashion. The most recognizable styles are from The Beach Boys and The Monkees. The Beach Boys’ attire is based on the “surfs up” style, with Pendleton Shirts worn with khakis and plain white tee shirts. This style is recognized as the famous surf uniform in the USA even to this day.

The Monkees can be considered the classic “boyband” of the sixties. Their fashion sense was especially influential due to the fact that the band were also actors in a show named “The Monkees.” Band member Mike Nesmith popularized Moccasins, known as one of the most comfortable slippers and casual attire. Elvis Presley had a great sense of style off and on stage. His clothes were classy, sometimes flashy, and always effortlessly cool. His off-stage attire included Cuban collars and penny loafers (often designed by Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren). However, his on-stage outfits are what made Elvis an icon. Everyone knew him for his heavily sequined white jumpsuits, lots of leather, popped collars and double denim. Throughout all this, you never saw him go through a bad hair day.

1960’s section written by Luke Adair, Emma Deroian and Kimberly Martinez.



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