It was the whole idea of going back to childhood that drove most of the fashion women wore in the ’60s. Bows, oversized collars, and delicate trim miniaturized females and made them look smaller. Shapeless mini dresses de-emphasized a female’s natural form. The boxy and flat look took away women’s curves and made them little girls once again.
Mary Jane strap shoes, kitten heel pumps, and flat sneakers were all childhood shoes returned to the ’60s youthquake culture. It was no accident that a young culture had plenty to do with half the U.S. population is under 25 and with European countries having a comparably huge youth population as well.
The tight bodice and full skirt the ‘50s swing dress went into the early ’60s with a little above or at the knee hemline. Patterns and colors were bigger, brighter and streamlined with short cap sleeves and basic modest necklines. This full-skirted look didn’t leave fashion in the 60s. Instead, it carried through to the 70s in a paired down, less fluffy form.
The other style of early dresses women wore in the ’60s was the contoured sheath dress. Like the 50s style, it was modest, knee-length, and simple but tailored to the curve of the body. By ’63, the sheath was dropping its tight curves and loosening into the shift dress.
The shift dress lacked any type of tailored waistline but did go in a little around the ribs and glided over the hips to just over the knee. This loose but narrow looking dress was very comfy and easy to wear. It became the main women’s dress style of the 60s.
Skimmer dresses were a relative of the shift dress. They fit straight on the body with a high neckline and typically a belt to outline the waist but not shape it. They hugged the body without touching the skin. Also, they hovered over the knee.