1960s Costume Ideas

1960s Fashion

The 1960s continues to be a popular theme for fancy dress parties. Some people will choose to link it to the 1970s as there is an element of cross-over between the fashions of the two decades.

This is also true between the 1950s and 1960s. At the start of the decade America was still heavily influencing the music charts, with stars such as Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Hayley (and his Comets) dominating. So at every 60s theme night, there will be a slight blurring at the edges towards the 50s (Teddy Boys) and 70s (glam rock).

This page will give you some costume inspiration by looking at various influences throughout the 60s decade including music, film, television and trends.

Props & Frocks, established since 1998, provides not only fancy dress from it's retail base in Essex, England, and on line, but also FREE advice on costume themes and fancy dress for every theme you could think of. So, whatever your costuming needs, Props & Frocks - THE fancy dress experts will be able to help. Take a look at our website where you will find a large area dedicated to giving you as much costume advice as we can. This is a new section and is being added to on a weekly basis, so if you do not find exactly what you are looking for drop us a line & we'll help you.

Costumes For The Fab Four!
Costumes For The Fab Four!

The early-mid 1960s saw the rise of British Pop Music, with the 'Merseybeat' sound of artists such as the 'Beatles', Gerry & The Pacemakers' and Freddie & the Dreamers contrasting with the 'London' sound of artists such as The 'Dave Clark Five' & the 'Manchester' sound of The Hollies. From a costume point of view most of these groups tended to look the same. Costumes for the Beatles are available and come in a range of budgets - see image.

Black & white 60s Dress
Black & white 60s Dress

Mods & Rockers

We would recommend that the 60s theme is not reduced even more by naming the party 'mods & rockers'. It may seem like a good idea, but the theme is very restricting and there are not many costumes available to purchase on the market. A true male mod look would consist of an Italian designer suit and duffle coats (complete with a bulls-eye on the back). Ladies costumes are more widely available to purchase. A true female mod would have worn black and white patterned A-Line dresses (as favoured by Mary Quant). Rockers would have worn leather jackets and trousers, chains, studs and heavy boots (in keeping with their association with motor bikes, as opposed to the Mods' scooters).

The fashions we associate with the 60s started with the advent of the Mini-skirt. Although there are arguments over who actually 'invented' it, designer Mary Quant undoubtedly helped promote it: Through a boutique called 'Bazaar' she offered girls a whole range of accessories to go with the look. These ranged from tights (plain and multi-coloured - if you were revealing your legs, you might as well show them off to best advantage) - to cosmetics in funky colours - make-up, especially with emphasis on the eyes was big in the 60s.

With girls' legs now 'revealed' with the shorter skirts, tights became fashionable, so did boots, helped by Jane Fonda in the film 'Barbarella' in which she played a scantily-clad space heroine.

Yeah baby, Yeah!!!
Yeah baby, Yeah!!!

The first 'Austin Powers' film was set in the Britain of the late Swinging Sixties and although a slight parody of 'the scene' provides a great place to get your 60s inspiration. Men were wearing velvet suits, ladies, (very short) mini dresses and both were wearing brightly coloured, psychedelic patterned clothing.

Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington were leading characters from the first film, whilst the second gave us Felicity Shagwell - all very popular costume choices for the 1960s theme.

1967 was known as the 'Summer of Love' and was seen as many as the epitome of what the 60s was all about. Woodstock, the hippy movement and 'Flower Power' dominating the scene. 1967 was also the year 'Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club' was released.

Towards the end of the decade, hippy fashions were contrasting with the geometric mod designs and in 1969, the full length 'maxi skirt' was introduced much to the relief of most women!

Fred Flintstone
Fred Flintstone

Popular 60s Television Programmes

  • Batman
  • Flintstones
  • Pink Panther Cartoon Show
  • Star Trek
  • Addams Family
  • The Munsters
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Thunderbirds
  • Passage to India
  • The Prisoner
  • Dad's Army

Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia

Popular 60s Films

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Spartacus
  • West Side Story
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • My Fair Lady
  • Bonnie & Clyde
  • Barbarella
  • Cleopatra
  • 101 Dalmations
  • Austin Powers (not a film made in the 60s, but set in '69)

marilyn Costume
marilyn Costume

Other 60s Costume Suggestions

  • Marilyn Monroe (she died in this decade)
  • Astronaut (first moon landing in 1969)
  • Star Trek (first shown)
  • Frank Sinatra (just pop on your dinner jacket)
  • Elvis Presley (yes, he did wear the white jumpsuit in the 60's)
  • Elizabeth Taylor gave us a definitive version of the Cleopatra character in 1963, whilst Richard Burton starred opposite her as Mark Antony.
  • Pop Art. Although they may take a little more preparation time and effort, outfits based on the Pop Art style of 60s artists such as Roy Lichtenstein can be an interesting angle on the decade.

Hippy Lady
Hippy Lady

Have you ever been to a 60s fancy dress party?

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Would You purchase a fancy dress costume online?

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If you answered 'No' to the last question, can you give a reason?

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Why do you think the 60s is such a popular fancy dress theme?

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Comments 21 comments

lala #11 4 years ago

I just really want something cool to wear for our 60s 70s and 80s theme at school!!!!!!


Alan 5 years ago

I love the 1960s costumes. What a fun time in history.

Alan @ thestageplace.com


Alan 5 years ago

Interesting fashions in the 1960s. Can be fun for Halloween, a costume party or a period play.


outlawbybirth profile image

outlawbybirth 6 years ago from Lycraville, Florida

The Marilyn costume is my favorite. We attend Halloween Costume parties every year, but I wore this one to Daytona Bike Week with pantyhose and spikes. It definitely got a ton of attention and pictures!


ellyse 6 years ago

i think that you guys are crazy


Jillik 6 years ago

Woww!! I ? THOSE FASHIONS


Kdog505 7 years ago

My class is having a decade dress up day on the 26, but I don’t know if I should do the 60’s or the 50’s or the 70’s? Can you help me? email me at kristinascott@cox.net not com. THANK YOU!


Elsa is Elsa profile image

Elsa is Elsa 8 years ago from Anywhere - Canada most of all

So many memories. And yet, so different, when these are costumes - and when these were NOW clothes.


Robert Huizenga profile image

Robert Huizenga 8 years ago from Muskegon, Michigan

Gotta love the 60's. Great hub!


Party Girl profile image

Party Girl 8 years ago Author

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I am sure you looked great in your 'hippy lady' outfit 'Nightcats'!

-Adele


Ask Sandra profile image

Ask Sandra 8 years ago

I love this costume ideas! Cosutmes from the 60's are my favorite costumes, so I especially appreciate you creating this page. I love the mixture of elements that happened in that era- the sudden change of mindset from the 50's (sinatra and M. Monroe) to the mindset of the 60's (free speech, long hair, etc.) Thanks so much for this mod trip!


nightcats profile image

nightcats 8 years ago from North Vancouver

I'm embarrassed to admit I actually had an outfit similar to your Hippy Lady costume. I thought I looked very smart.


Sting-Ray profile image

Sting-Ray 8 years ago from Tx

I like this hub im just glad i wasn't born back in the 60s.


Music Lady profile image

Music Lady 8 years ago from Los Angeles

How fun! I remember the old bell bottom jeans. Those were popular back in those days too. How time flies!


Jana67 profile image

Jana67 8 years ago from Waves, NC

Hey this is great, make sure to invite me to your next costume party, I'll be the "Hippy Lady"....


aquariancore profile image

aquariancore 8 years ago

Well I thought that was a fun walk down nostaligia's lane. I wonder what I have hanging in my closet from the sixties.


JeanneGrazier 8 years ago

I seem to recall bell bottom jeans with a 2 inch leather belt and a neon psychedelic shirt. I was in a rock band when the Beatles came out. We were so cool. We had our own hearse for the equipment.

Jeanne


Univiz 8 years ago

Excellent and informative hub - and a good trip down memory lane! I used to have a Mary Quant style black and white dress just like the one featured and with the white boots! Oops I'm giving my age away.


suptjim profile image

suptjim 8 years ago from Kuttawa, KY

We really knew how to dress back in the sixties! Sometimes I look back and can't believe it! Thanks for the memories!

Jim


artstudio profile image

artstudio 8 years ago from Toronto

I wish I were at a party in your 1960s costume.

Thanks for great moments to dream


Party Girl profile image

Party Girl 8 years ago Author

Hi everyone.

If you need any further information regarding 1960s costumes, contact me at the following email adele@props-n-frocks.co.uk . We have a great range of costumes to buy and if you are local to us, in Essex, UK, we have a huge range of quality costumes to hire.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this hub.

-Adele

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