Men’s fashion in the 1960s was marked by a rebellious spirit that led to an explosion of new subcultures and trends. Men’s fashion in the 1960s was characterized by its sharp contrasts, as different styles coexisted side-by-side. On one hand, there were the greaser and rocker subcultures who championed unkempt hair, leather jackets, and skinny jeans. On the other hand, these styles existed in direct contrast to the more conservative formal menswear that would be worn to work or school every day. We look at some of the most popular men’s fashion trends from this exciting decade – from vintage style suits with skinny lapels, retro cardigans and vests, slimming double-breasted coats and cool 1930s-inspired argyle socks for everyday wear.
The Greaser and Rocker Subcultures
The 1960s were a time of great social change and upheaval, and the world of men’s fashion reflected this. This was the decade that saw the rise of the greaser and rocker subcultures. The greasers could be identified by their slicked-back hair, narrow ties, and often a leather jacket. They took their inspiration from the T-Birds in the film Grease, and their look was very much an unapologetic throwback to the 1940s. Greasers were typically working-class youth, who were attracted to this retro subculture to differentiate themselves from the middle-class and the senior generation. On the other hand, the rockers were more middle-class and collegiate, emulating the rock ‘n’ roll stars of their time, such as Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. The rocker look included unkempt hair, jeans, and a black leather jacket.
Skinny Ties and Lapeled Suits
One of the most popular men’s fashion trends of the 1960s was skinny ties and lapeled suits. Skinny ties were introduced by John E. Kilroy, who co-founded the company Dobbs in 1964. His idea was to produce ties that would work with slim-cut suits, and not be too wide and overpowering. People who preferred wider ties could just as easily wear wider ties with their lapel suits. However, the majority of men who wore suits during this era opted for the skinny tie lapel suit. The rise of the skinny tie lapel suit also meant that men who wanted to wear a buttoned-up, three-piece suit had to make some changes to their wardrobe. Typically, they would have to make the transition from a double-breasted jacket to a single-breasted jacket.
Men’s fashion in the 1960s was a time when a lot of different clothing subcultures and trends coexisted. One such example was the rise of the camping clothing trend. Men started wearing hiking boots, button-down shirts, and jeans. They also began wearing parkas and other types of parka-style outerwear. In the 1960s, the Casual Friday trend of wearing more relaxed clothing to the office on Fridays also emerged.
Retro Cardigans and Vests
Men’s fashion in the 1960s was also characterized by the rise of cardigans, vests, and sweaters. Casual clothing such as cardigans, sweaters, and vests were originally designed as indoor garments. However, the rise of the casual clothing subculture meant that men were now wearing these garments as their everyday attire. Cardigans and vests were particularly popular with young men, as they were seen as a very cool, trendy form of clothing. This clothing trend also led to a rise in the popularity of knitting, as many knitters cashed in on the demand for cardigans and vests.
Double-breasted coats were very much in vogue during the 1960s. They were introduced by the British navy in the 19th century, and have been a staple of men’s fashion ever since. Men’s fashion in the 1960s saw the double-breasted coat reach a peak in popularity. The double-breasted coat was naturally a more formal style of garment, and was often worn to work, school, or while going out on the town.
Socks: Argyle and More
The 1960s also saw a rise in novelty socks, particularly argyle socks. Argyle socks have been around for a long time, dating as far back as the 14th century. It wasn’t until the 1960s that they became a very popular form of novelty sock. Argyle socks became so popular that during the early 1960s, it was estimated that 48 million pairs of argyle socks were sold each year.
The 1960s was a decade of great change in the world of men’s fashion. It was characterized by sharp contrasts, as different styles coexisted side by side. On one hand, there were the greaser and rocker subcultures who championed unkempt hair, leather jackets, and skinny jeans. On the other hand, these styles existed in direct contrast to more conservative formal menswear that would be worn to work or school every day. This decade saw the rise of the greaser and rocker subcultures, which saw men take inspiration from the 1940s and the 1920s respectively. It was also the decade that saw the creation of the modern-day suit, with the introduction of the skinny tie lapel suit.