Retro Fashion Guide: Tie Dyed Shirts to Mini Skirts

The late 1960s through to the end of the seventies saw a virtual revolution within the world of public clothing trends. This movement was initiated by teens and young adults. Popular music, and the hippie culture, played a large part in these styles. Based on a person’s clothing, it was possible to tell which sub-culture they might belong to. From tie-dye to bell-bottoms, these two decades produced a very distinctive look.


In previous decades, daughters were expected to dress similarly to their mothers. When youth rallies and protests broke out in the sixties, young women sought individualistic clothing styles. Mary Quant, a young designer, was the first to introduce a true mini-skirt in 1965. It was not long before the skirt took off internationally.

Bell Bottoms

While men and women alike wore pants in the sixties, women's styles featured flared legs. It was partly influenced by the British Navy sailor’s uniforms. Over the next few years, the pant legs became even larger and more exaggerated. By this time men also wore them.


T-shirts had originated with army uniforms during World War II. By the sixties, young adults discovered that T-shirts could be printed to display aspects of their beliefs. The shirts would be printed with all types of art and slogans. Tie-dye was another way of decorating shirts. It was easy enough to do at home and produced wild, psychedelic prints and colors.


Turtlenecks existed long before the seventies, but they became more fashionable during that decade. They were usually worn with mini-skirts or jeans and were often made of synthetic materials. Dickeys were a related garment. Instead of being a full turtleneck, it was a type of bib that only covered the neck and part of the torso. It could be layered under a shirt or sweater.

Popular Textiles

In the sixties and seventies, there was a movement away from natural fabrics in favor of synthetic ones. These included materials such as polyester, vinyl and nylon. Denim became more popular too, transitioning from clothing designed for manual labor to popular youth culture. Crocheted or knitted fabrics were also commonly used for tops, skirts and dresses.

Fashion Icons

Hippie culture took a lot of fashion pointers from celebrities such as Farrah Fawcett, Bianca Jagger, Jane Fonda, Twiggy, and Faye Dunaway. Musicians also made their mark. Fans strove to mimic the styles of their on-stage heroes, especially in the case of Stevie Nicks, The Carpenters, and Joan Baez. Hard rock groups such as the Rolling Stones, the Doors, and Led Zeppelin later brought more extreme styles to public attention.


Fashion trends of the sixties and seventies are considered retro by today’s standards. Even so, they have left a lasting mark on modern fashion. T-shirts and jeans have now become so common that they are practically a uniform for casual wear among youth and even adults. While some of the louder items, such as excessively flared bell-bottoms and rayon sweaters have fallen out of favor, many other styles, like mini-skirts, have survived the decades.

  • Miniskirts – Read a detailed history of how the mini-skirt came to be.
  • Leisure Suits – Colorful polyester suits became acceptable for business and leisure.
  • Feminists – Feminism had a marked impact on women’s fashion in the seventies.
  • Women’s Fashions – Retro women’s trends included influences from abroad and earlier periods.
  • Sixties Fashion – Almost every year in the sixties introduced remarkably different clothing trends.
  • Sixties Icons – Jackie Kennedy, Janis Joplin and Twiggy influenced women tremendously in terms of fashion.
  • Changing Styles – Read how people dispensed with old, conservative styles in favor of new, carefree ones.
  • Tie-Dye – Tie-dye methods were actually borrowed from Eastern cultures by Americans.
  • Fashion Revolutions – See how fashions evolved during the sixties and seventies.
  • 1970s Fashion Elements – Browse a list of common styles and trends of the 1970s.
  • Seventies Trends – In the seventies, fashion transitioned from hippie to rock to disco.
  • Hippie Influences (PPT) – Trace the influence of retro fashion on modern trends.
  • Seventies Fads – Distinctive clothing helped separate 1970s youth from their parents.
  • Go-Go Boots - Retro footwear was used to accessorize clothing and featured high platform heels and tall boots.
  • Making a Comeback – Now and then, popular television shows bring back retro fashions.
  • Polyester – Polyester was popular since it was cheap and available in a wide range of colors.
  • Fashion Icons – View a slideshow of prominent 1970s fashion icons.
  • Trend Inspirations – See where seventies fashion found its various inspirations from.
  • Polka Dots – Polka dot patterns and prints were very popular in the seventies.
  • Fashion as Expression – Youth in the seventies turned to fashion to express their views and opinions.
  • Twiggy – Model Lesley Lawson, also known as Twiggy, became a fashion icon of the sixties.
  • Trendy Sixties – Learn about the main aspects that defined 1960s fashion.
  • 1960s Culture – During the sixties, body images and standards changed and influenced clothing styles dramatically.
  • 70s Couture – Fashion designers in the 1970s worked hard and fast to tap into the quickly changing youth culture.