Five other ways to get a 60s look

Other than 'buy a minidress', that is. That's a great start, but all too often it's the end of things too.

The 1960s saw a massive diversification in styles, and even young people no longer all looked like one another (mods, rockers, hippies, you name it...). However, there are certain things that do help evoke a general 1960s look, so here are my five picks.

Simple knitwear
Yarn got thicker and knitwear got straighter, in keeping with the general straighter figure that was seen as ideal. Shapes also got much simpler, with sleeves being straight (no 30s playing with volume, 40s puff shoulders or 80s batwings), bodies either slightly boxy or following the natural shape of the body, and necklines round and high. For real 60s style, don't omit my second Way...

Match, match, match
A lady in a 1960s knitted skirt suitThe more I've looked at 1960s clothes, the more I've been amazed by how complete outfits are, whether they're worn by Jackie O, Jean Shrimpton or simply girls in photos taken on the street. I know earlier decades were co-ordinated, but somehow 60s matchy-matchy seems even matchier. I'm not sure why that should be – perhaps growing postwar affluence made it possible for more people to buy top-to-toe outfits all at once, whereas previously most ordinary people had needed to do more mixing and matching – but one thing that definitely struck me was just how very matchy-matchy things were. Match your headband to your blouse, or your socks/tights to your sweater. Match your jacket to your skirt, or coat to your dress. If one part of your outfit is patterned, make sure one of the colours is carried through in your plain garments. They may be called 'separates', but they're all parts of a whole look. Don't be afraid to match your eyeshadow to your outfits either.

Square-toed shoes and low heels
Square-toed shoes, especially with low heels were definitely A Thing, and very different from the 1950s stilettoes and courts. If you can't bear to go without a pointed toe or slender heel, a kitten heel has plenty of Ronnie Spector sass.

Embrace colour
Natural fibres often don't dye up as bright as synthetics – or if you can get the dye into them, they fade – so the rise of synthetic fabrics also led to brighter colours and pure white. Pink, lemon and pastel blue have 'ladies who lunch' appeal, while bolder scarlet, purple, apple green, egg yellow and cobalt were popular with the younger set. I'll probably never learn to love crimplene, but I do love the vibrant colours that came into fashion in the 1960s. Think of Emma Peel's 'emmapeeler' jumpsuits. A lot of attention was on the legs in the 1960s, so don't neglect colourful tights.

It's all about eyes
From Twiggy to Dusty Springfield to Liz Taylor as Cleopatra, all the icons of the era had the windows to their souls wide open. Dusty caused outrage by revealing she didn't wash her face for days at a time, so as not to disturb those carefully-achieved sooty peepers. If you're going for maximum eye-impact, tone down the lippie and go for a baby pink or nude shade.

Have I missed one of your favourite ways to achieve a 60s look? I'm guessing BIG hair will be one you pick up on. What else?

 (Not into the 1960s? Check out my posts on 10 ways to 1920s style! The bob, the cloche hat, the dropped waist, the knitwear, the bee-stung lip, the Louis-heeled shoe, the long necklace, the bandeau, the flesh-coloured stockings and the boxy coat.)


  1. The more I look at each decade the more diversity in fashions I discover, and the '60s is a great example of that. Very practical tips Mim, good stuff! Hope you and your husband are having a nice Valentine's day x

    1. It is an amazingly diverse decade, isn't it? No wonder people who were young at that time rave about it so; suddenly there are so many options for them.

      We don't really do Valentine's Day, but that's probably a good thing as the 13th was the first anniversary of my mother-in-law's death, so it's been quite a reflective time. Hmm. I wonder if her passing has made me look more at the 60s; she was so very much a person of that decade.

  2. Your beehive is spectacular! As you say, there were a huge range of styles going on in the Sixties, as in all decades really. I love all the aspects you have highlighted, and would add maxi length dresses and skirts as another to consider. Previously, floor-length clothing was for evening wear but at the end of the 1960s, maxis became more casual and everyday, which carried over into the early Seventies. And I do love them! Xxx

    1. I wish I could do one myself. I honestly have no idea how to do backcombing. I did buy a proper backcombing brush, but I think the kittens have nicked it and hidden it in one of their inaccessible stash-holes.

      Didn't Laura Ashley start doing her maxis in the late 60s? And, of course, there's Biba...

  3. Those are good tips-I'd forgotten about the square toes on shoes.

    My mother was the queen of head-to-toe in one colour (I mean, the *exact same shade* colour, plus accessories)and I suspect she even matched her undies. It is a good, streamlined look though, and very 60's.

    My only tip would be to add a frilly blouse beneath a sleeveless dress. There were a lot of ruffles floating around at that time underneath somewhat plain dresses. It helps stretch your wardrobe between seasons as well.

    1. Ah yes, frilly blouse and sleeveless dress! Makes me think of Cilla, for some reason.

  4. I love that photo!
    1965 -1969 is when, in my opinion, 1960s style was at its most fabulous as it was the era of the Psychedelic movement, messy hair, wild prints and long flowing dresses. xxx

  5. Hello Mim.
    You've got it all, here.
    The accent being "the match". Over here, 1960s were the times when folks finally got back on their feet, and even got more than mere minimum - meaning: had money to shop.
    And everything matched. Some would go as far as getting the entire living room just as pictured in an advertisement (as my grandma used to say "with book and all") :)
    Sixties were the times when your hat, bag and shoes had to match, not only in color, but preferably in style and material.
    Great post.


  6. The things you've mentioned here are exactly why the 60s is your era! One thing I always think of with the 60s (and you!) is the boxy handbag, especially patent ones. These are always a great way to complete a 60s outfit.

  7. I'm glad you mentioned matchy matchy, I always think of '60's dresses with a matching coat over the top. My Granny had a fine selection, which she didn't keep unfortunately. My Mum used to make scrapbooks as a teenager and they are full of fabulous and brightly coloured square toed shoes. Coloured tights came in then too so they are another styling trick I would use.

  8. I have two pairs of glorious snub toed shoes, one are kitten heeled faux pony slingbacks and the others are mock croc Mary Janes with a fabulous heel. The former look so good, but start out too tight, then loosen and fall off as you walk. The latter are all looks with no possibility of wearing these days as they are so tight I can't even get them on anymore and as the sole has split and the inside insole is coming away, a charity shop would bin them I believe.

  9. Empire or gentle A line cuts, and either floaty/busy OR stuffer/clean-lines. I swear by a short bob style and matte skin too.

  10. I have serious beehive envy!!! I do the 60s style, even though I tend to have more 50s patterns, I actually prefer the 60s for style.

  11. Too funny about Dusty Springfield. I can't imagine getting a smoky eye to last through the night! No matter how much I try to lie on my back I end up with my face smashed into the pillow.

    When I first started collecting (hoarding?) vintage in high school, 60s and 70s pieces were the most readily available. My dad and I went to estate sales every Saturday morning and while he looked for silver and furniture and what-not, I would go through the bedrooms looking for furs and double-knits. Oh and shoes! My friends used to tease me horribly for wearing "dead-lady shoes" but, God, I loved them. I have to admit, though, that looks from the sixties have never looked quite right on me. I'm much more suited to 30s/40s and 70s--a lot of that is the more muted color scheme.

  12. Oh wow! Look at your big magnificent hair! Fabulous. This is a great article. I love the 60s look. My mum had some great square toed shoes when we were kids, and some frocks actually. Wish she'd kept them. Xxx


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