The 1960s was a time of free and bohemian living. Men and women rejected the uniform look of the previous decade and began to embrace their own personal style. People didn’t just dress differently, they began to live differently too. Women no longer felt tied to subservient roles in society but instead found freedom from the confines of a patriarchal society that had limited their independence for so long. They threw out the old rules and began to forge new ones that suited them better as individuals. It was an age where women were not afraid to show their independence and strength by flaunting their newfound liberation through different styles.
How Women Shifted Towards Trousers in the 1960s
The shift towards trousers for women started during the 1940s. During this time, women were very much a part of the wartime effort. They found themselves working in factories and other areas of production due to a shortage of men caused by the war. Women took on many roles in society that they had not been seen doing traditionally. This shift in the roles of women in society continued into the 1950s and 60s. Many women found they needed to continue wearing trousers as a part of their work uniform, and some women began to wear them outside of work too.
The Rise of the Trouser Suit
The shift towards trousers for women became more pronounced during the 1960s, and many women began to wear the “trouser suit”. This new style of suit was a hybrid of the two most popular men’s suit styles of the time—the business suit and the casual suit. The business suit comprised of a jacket, tie, knee-length skirt, and matching waistcoat, while the casual suit had a jacket and a pair of slacks. The rise of the trouser suit was a direct result of women wanting to look more professional during this time of increased opportunity and power. They wanted to look like they were capable of handling any challenge. The trouser suit allowed them to do this as it offered a more conservative, professional look than the tailored skirt suit or the mini skirt. The trouser suit was seen as a more relaxed but still feminine style that allowed women to look professional in a comfortable way. At the same time, it allowed them to express themselves through the use of colour and pattern.
How Women Wore Trousers in the 1960s
The 1960s were a time of great change for women and their social standing, and this is reflected in how they wore trousers. While the majority of women still wore them as part of a trouser suit, some began to wear them with more feminine tops. During the early 1960s, women mainly wore trousers in the same conservative manner as men. They generally wore them with a tie and wore the same matching waistcoat as they would with a skirt. Later in the decade, they began to wear them in a looser, more relaxed style and often teamed them with a casual shirt rather than a tie. They often paired the trousers with a looser-fitting blouse and wore their hair in a more natural style, such as with a ponytail, rather than in a more old-fashioned style.
The Rise of Skinny Pants for Women in the 1960s
In addition to the traditional style of wearing trousers, many women began to wear “skinny pants” in the 1960s too. Skinny pants were a more youthful style of trousers that were cropped and slim around the ankle. They were designed for younger people, such as those in the music scene, who were embracing a more youthful, carefree style. While skinny pants were mainly worn by young people, some older women also wore them. The trousers for women of the 1960s were often made of a more casual fabric, such as denim. They were designed to be looser and more comfortable, so they were often worn with a slouchier style of jacket that was made of a less structured fabric too.
The 1960s was a bohemian era, reflected in many areas of society, including fashion. Men and women rejected the uniform look of the previous decade and began to embrace their own personal style. People didn’t just dress differently; they began to live differently too. Women no longer felt tied to subservient roles in society but instead found freedom from the confines of a patriarchal society that had limited their independence for so long. They threw out the old rules and began to forge new ones that suited them better as individuals. It was an age where women were not afraid to show their independence and strength by flaunting their newfound liberation through different styles, such as trouser suits, not just dresses or skirts.