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The “Swinging Sixties” of the 1960s were a revolutionary decade in more ways than one. It was a period of dramatic social and cultural changes – a time when traditional values were questioned and new beliefs and attitudes emerged. But perhaps the most visible expression of the era was in fashion, music, and culture, which were revolutionized in that decade. What exactly were the changes? Read on to find out how the 1960s brought about not only a revolution in fashion, music, and culture, but a revolution of thought.

1. The Swinging Sixties: A Cultural Revolution

The sixties were a time when society experienced rapid and unprecedented change. Emerging from the shadow of the post-war era, the youth made their voices heard and championed a decade of transformation, revolutionising the political, social, and music scene.

Societal Change

  • The USA saw anti-war protests and the civil rights movement really gain traction, with landmark civil rights legislation being passed.
  • Greater civil and political freedoms allowed increased sexual liberation and evolving attitudes towards marriage, drugs, and other counter-cultural values.
  • The feminist movement also moved into the mainstream, becoming synonymous with the decade.


The music scene underwent a seismic shift. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones came to global stardom, ushering in the British Invasion and laying the foundations for modern rock music. Other genres such as soul and Motown also made waves, most notably those of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, and the Jackson 5.


Fashion in the sixties was fluid and all-encompassing. Men’s suits for professional occasions as well as casual styles like bell bottoms and miniskirts for social events were commonplace. Vibrant colors and psychedelia were embraced, along with more natural patterns and styles.

The trends set during the sixties have continued to affect and inspire those which came after. They remain an influential landmark in cultural history, and subsequent decades have often sought to emulate their successes.

2. Fashion Revolution of the ’60s

The ’60s era brought on incredible leaps in fashion and a new type of revolution that would define the rest of the decade. Necklines were shorter, hemlines were higher, and fabrics were more daring than ever seen before. The ’60s were a period of social rebellion and fashion was an ideal medium to challenge the status quo without uttering a single word. Here, all the features of 60s fashion revolution:

  • Bold Patterns & Colors: Fashion in the ’60s had no limits. Bold patterns and neon colors were all the rage to show individuals weren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.
  • Gender Bending: Men and women alike kept pushing the envelope in fashion. Tight jeans, short skirts, and even bright makeup were worn by both sexes, a revolutionary phenomenon.
  • Miniskirts: Probably the most iconic aspect of ’60s fashion was the miniskirt, revolutionizing the way women dressed and perceived.

Accessories: Accessories also had a huge part of the fashion revolution, and women could be seen wearing brightly-colored tights, chunky jewelry, and multiple scarves. Furs were also popular, but only as symbol of a luxurious lifestyle.

The mod style continued through the rest of the ’60s with avant-garde fashion tinkering around the edges. This trend was made popular by the likes of Courrèges, Cardin, Schiaparelli, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent. It changed the way fashion was perceived forever.

The ’60s marked a great shift in fashion, allowing men and women to wear whatever they wanted. Style was more carefree, indicative of the youthful atmosphere of the time. The empowered individuals with the ability to express themselves and their identities through clothes and accessories.

3. Music: The Sounds That Shaped the Decade

Whether it’s Adele’s soul-blue confessionals, Lady Gaga’s electronic anthems, or Drake’s hip-hop hymns, the 2010s have come to represent some of the most influential and beloved music of the 21st century. The rise of streaming services has made it easier to access a wide range of music, allowing these artists to not only make waves in their own genres but bridge the gap between different styles. Here is a breakdown of some of the sounds that defined the decade:

  • Rap and Hip-hop: This genre saw a huge surge in popularity over the past decade, with big names like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino becoming household names. Ty Dolla Sign, Cardi B, and Nicki Minaj have brought a fresh, female edge and subverted traditional gender roles.
  • EDM, Dance Music, and Techno: A number of superstars have risen in the genre, such as Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, and Skrillex, who have all gone on to make unforgettable hits. The rise of the DJ and producer has revolutionized the way we experience music, with festivals and events all over the world serving to celebrate and promote the genre.
  • Indie and Alternative: This decade has seen a rise in independent artists who are unencumbered by the constraints of the mainstream, allowing for creativity to richly and genuinely flourish. The likes of Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Haim, and The 1975 have drawn upon a range of inspirations to create genuinely unique sounds.
  • Pop and R&B: Artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Beyoncé have continued to dominate the airways and our heartstrings with their blend of catchy melodies and powerful ballads. Their ability to convey emotion and tell stories in a matter of minutes has shaped how we view and appreciate music.

Whatever your taste, the 2010s has surely been a pinnacle of the music industry, with artists and genres from all walks of life coming together to create a diverse and vibrant soundscape. From rap to indie, EDM to R&B, the sounds of the decade will surely remain with us for a very long time.

4. The Impact of The Swinging Sixties

The Swinging Sixties was one of the most influential times in recent history. From London’s fashion revolution to the emergence of landmark music, the decade’s influence has been felt even today. This section breaks down the cultural shifts that took place during the Swinging Sixties and speaks to their ongoing significance.


  • The 1960’s marked the start of the youth revolution and a breaking away from traditional standards of dress. Women’s hemlines rose higher, and a range of bright colors and textures of clothing took off. From mod-style mini dresses to the iconic shift dress, the fashion of the Sixties still inspires today.
  • For men, it was all about the rock n’ roll look. Skinny trousers and tight-fitting shirts were complemented with sharp blazers and leather boots. Hair was worn longer than ever before, and popular hairstyles such as the iconic mop top and shaggy hair were born.

The Sixties music revolution catapulted popular British music to international stardom. Bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones spearheaded the genre, their iconic songs shaping British culture and paving the way for future generations of musicians.

The influence of the British invasion spread across the world, inspiring rock n’ roll bands from all over. Lead by the likes of Bob Dylan, cult classic songs such as “Blowing in the Wind” saw massive success, and music genres such as folk, country and blues began to dominate the mainstream.

Film and Television:
The Sixties saw the rise of experimental filmmaking, with filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni pushing the boundaries of narrative cinema. As well as introducing classic films such as “Blow-up” and “La Dolce Vita”, Antonioni also established the concept of the art film and helped to create distinct identities for European and American cinema.

Television also witnessed a rise in popularity, with new groundbreaking shows such as “The Avengers” and “The Frost Report” introducing memorable characters and iconic episodes. This shift in the format and style of television helped to change the public’s attitude towards television, which remains an important part of popular culture today.

The Swinging Sixties continue to influence culture in the present. From fashion to television, its impact on the arts of the era was undeniable, and its enduring legacy is felt to this day.

The sixties weren’t all about hippies and psychedelic rock, but it was a pivotal moment in music, fashion, and cultural history nonetheless. With revolutionary styles, genres, and political movements, the 1960s remains an influential era to this day. From Mary Quant’s mini-skirt to The Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert, it’s hard to deny the sixties made an everlasting impression.


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