60s Fashion For Women Explained by Project Runway Sandhya Garg

60s Fashion For Women

60s Fashion women

60s Fashion and Style

60s Fashion women

Women’s 1960s fashion was an extreme style and attitude from the start of the decade to the end. There’s no denying that the ’60s were one of the most impactful eras in fashion. Setting the tone for modern style, the decade revolutionized womenswear with bold colors, striking cuts and a rebelliously youthful attitude. So, it comes as no surprise that 50 years on, key trends from the time continue to influence designers, stylists and fashion-lovers the world over. To channel the era’s unforgettable aesthetic for yourself, take a look at our guide to ’60s fashion for women. In the early years, the fashion idol was Jackie Kennedy with her perfect white pearls and tailored suit dresses. By the middle of the decade, supermodel Twiggy had women freeing their minds and bodies into clothing that didn’t require any extra thought or effort. From modest to “there is no such thing as too short,” 1960s fashion was in many ways like the 1920s flapper revolution. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Women’s 1960s Fashion Summary

  • Jackie Kennedy, Brigitte Bardot, Mary Quant were fashion icons.
  • The Youthquake movement created “Babydoll” clothing.
  • Short, shapeless shift dresses in bright colors and psychedelic swirls became a staple of the Mod look.
  • Button-down shirts, turtlenecks, chunky knit sweaters made up casual outfits.
  • Mini skirts or pencil skirts in plaid.
  • Jax pants, stirrup pants, bell bottoms, pantsuits.
  • Low heels flats, boots and shoes made of vinyl.
  • Stockings or tall socks in all colors.
  • Pop Art Jewelry.
  • Short bobbed hair or long straight hairstyles.
  • Hippie fashion – Blue jeans, ethnic clothing.


Jackie Kennedy’s style was clean, simple, well fitted, with perfectly matched accessories. She wore dresses without collars and jackets that buttoned only with one large top button. She wore sensible low heeled shoes (although many women still preferred high heels). She was the last woman to wear hats, a pillbox hat, as a necessary fashion. Jackie O’ put a lot of care into her look, and women in the USA and abroad copied her style with enthusiasm.

Brigitte Bardot was that woman. She was Jackie’s opposite. Jackie was put together, simple and modest. Brigitte was tacky, cheap, bold, and even silly. Her 1959 pink gingham wedding dress with white lace trim was so unexpected that gingham and lace quickly became a new trend.

Mary Quant was another 1960s fashion influence. Her style moved away from “grown-up fashion” to playful “youth” driven clothing. Her shift dresses were short, very short, and her prints were bold and colorful “mod” prints. Her fashion, her personality, set the tone for the rest of the 1960s as “fashion-is-fun.”

It was the whole idea of a return to childhood that drove most of the fashion in the 1960s. Oversized collars, bows, and delicate trim miniaturized women and made them appear smaller.  Shapeless mini dresses de-emphasized a woman’s natural form. The flat and boxy look took away women’s curves and made them little girls once more.

Kitten heel pumps, Mary Jane strap shoes, and flat sneakers were all childhood shoes returned to the ’60s youth quake culture. It was no coincidence that a young culture had a lot to do with half the American population being under 25 and with European countries having a similarly large youth population, too. After growing up in the ’50s as “little adults,” the youth embraced their fond early childhood memories and fashions. By children’s fashion, we mean babies and toddlers. The “babydoll” look was incorporated into dress, hair, and makeup.


The full skirt and tight bodice of the ‘50s swing dress continued in the early ’60s, with a slightly above or at the knee hemline. Colors and patterns were bigger, brighter and streamlined with plain modest necklines and short cap sleeves. This full-skirted look didn’t leave fashion in the 1960s, instead, it carried through to the 1970s in a paired down, less fluffy form.
The other style of early 60s dresses was the contoured sheath dress. Like the 50s version, it was knee-length, modest, and simple but tailored to the hourglass curve of the body. By 1963, the sheath was losing its tight curves (a welcome relief) and relaxing into the shift dress.

1960 sheath dresses- form fitted pencil dresses

The shift dress lacked any sort of tailored waistline but did pinch in slightly around the ribs and skimmed over the hips to just above the knee. This loose but narrow looking dress was very comfortable and easy to wear. It became the primary women’s dress style of the 1960s.

Skimmer dresses were a cousin of the shift dress. They fit straight on the body with a high neckline and usually a belt to define the waist but not shape it.  They “skimmed” the body without touching the skin. They also hovered above the knee.

The drop waist dress was a 1920s throwback where the skirt circled the low hip and dropped to the knee. It was a bit more fitted than the shift dress with a gathered or pleated skirt. It seems to have been favored by mature women who were more used to a tailored fit.

1960s dresses became shorter and shorter. Anything above the knee was a “mini skirt.” How short a woman’s dress became a sign of how confident she was, not necessarily that she had great legs. Hem length was directly proportional to how women felt about their own sexual liberation. Short skirts were not meant to attract men for the sake of sexual interest, but instead were a way to attract attention so that a WOMAN could be the one to decide if his attention was wanted. Sexual power through fashion.

The jumper dress was a Mary Quant invention that captured the youthful, playful, side of 1960s fashion. That style immediately made a 20-year-old look 10, a welcome change from the ’50s mature fashion. Big bows, large round collars, pastels, and polka dots were all dress details that made women look like a little girl’s dolls. The more innocent, the better.
Colors and prints were at first inspired by the pop art and modern art movements, AKA “Mod” culture. Checkerboard, horizontal stripes, windowpane, polka dots, color block, honeycomb, and Campbell’s soup cans were all placed on short shift dresses with contrasting white cuffs and collars. Black and white was especially MOD.
Psychedelic swirls and prints introduced a trippy edge to clothing that was picked up by the hippies around 1966-1968. Being over the top was never too much. Large paisley swirls, neon flower daisies, and tropical beach prints all made an appearance. Bright yellow, orange, hot pink, lime green were the favorites. These bold colors and loud patterns were seen on dresses, skirts, tops, and pants.
There was also a trend of earth tone colors, especially as the decade moved toward the hippie movement. Moss green, earthy browns, mustard yellow, and burnt orange were common colors  year-round.

resort wear for women

Sandhya Garg is a Project Runway fashion dSandhya Garg resort wear dress project runway esigner. She studied and specialized in women's fashion at London College of Fashion, UK and has worked at Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Liberty London, Alice Temperley to name a few. She has her own successful resort dresses, special occasion dresses, wedding guest looks, swim coverups label. While on Project Runway Season 13, she won 2 challenges and was fortunate to show her collection at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. The brand has been featured in Marie Claire US, Ftv.com, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Vogue online to name a few. 

She designs limited edition high end printed spring dresses, wearable art clothing and swim coverups. Beautiful prints are inspired from around the world to be worn during travel, resort stay or cruise holidays.

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