The Sixties are remembered as a decade of protests. Washington, San Francisco, Paris, London: the desire for change could be felt in all of the world’s big cities. Even when it came to fashion. This was the decade when prêt-à-porter took hold and clothing choices became a way to set oneself apart from the older generations and express a specific identity through wardrobe. Men’s shirts also went from simple, classic wardrobe staples to bold statement pieces with daring colour choices, combinations and accessories.
Collars, creased trousers, jackets and classic footwear were passed over by many young people in favour of high-necked sweaters, jeans, leggings, parkas and loafers. And in Europe, London was the melting pot for this revolution. This was the home of Mary Quant, inventor of the miniskirt, and it was also the home of Swinging London, the inspiration for artists, musicians, actors and singers. It was in the UK capital that the two rival fashions were born: Mods, with their smart look, jackets and trousers, and Rockers, who wore leather with metal accessories and badges.
And if we head over the Ocean, to the Californian West Coast, men’s shirts and suits took on an oriental feel, with paisley designs inspired by Indian Kashmir, through to floral prints, the true symbol of hippie culture. The Sixties were also a genuine triumph of bright colours when it came to men’s shirts, from the optical diamond patterns or diagonal stripes, to redesigned army jackets in shades other than green or brown.
Nothing would ever be the same, because some of the trends launched over 50 years ago are still making a return, coming back as new classics and although they may be out of line with the antagonist spirit of the period, they can still define an aesthetic and an extremely precise style.
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