If you have been invited to a 1960’s theme party or The Ad Man Murder Mystery Party, no doubt you may be wondering what you should wear to suit the era. Let’s take a look at the fashion of the 1960’s – specifically the early 60’s – to help you plan the perfect costume to compliment an incredible decade.

The good news about 1960’s fashion is that it’s still around in many places, and gaining popularity with shows like Mad Men taking over the airwaves. This means that a trip to your local department store or neighbourhood vintage shop should yield you the perfect early 1960’s garb, as well as give you a unique new addition to your regular wardrobe that you’ll want to wear again and again. In fact, just last year Banana Republic came out with a Mad Men line of clothes, featuring the vintage cut men’s suits and dresses similar to those worn by the women in the show.

Banana Republic Mad Men Collection

The 60’s brought two very different styles to fashion. The early 1960’s were ruled by the fashions of the 1950’s, both of the “bobby-soxers” and vintage Hollywood style. The decade ended very differently though, with hippie fashion ruling. For The Ad Man Murder (or a classic 1960’s Madison Avenue themed party), we’ll focus on the early part of the decade.

For Women

The early 1960’s saw the trends of the 50’s creeping into the new decade, and the fabulous Jackie Kennedy turning heads for her fashion choices worldwide.

1960's Dresses

This is a prime example of the 1950’sinfluence on early ’60’s fashion. Gloves were still worn for nights out, and the flared skirt dress was the norm for teenage girls and housewives alike.

Brown Lace 60's Style Dress

For women, accentuating curves was the goal, and the curvier a woman was, the better. Elegant, contoured dresses and suits in pastel colours, and mid-waist jackets with giant buttons. Pencil skirts and jackets with 3/4 length sleeves were often worn, sometimes with long gloves. Stiletto heels finished off the curvacious look of professional women.

1960's Dresses

1960's Dress

Casual wear in the early 1960’s was usually a pair of capris with polo sweaters. Longer pants were usually tapered. The waist was accentuated with belts and slim-cut shirts to accentuate a woman’s hourglass figure. The fashions of the decade changed forever with the invention of the mini skirt in 1964.

Grace Kelly Casual

Many women wore their hair shoulder length or slightly longer or shorter and curled at the bottom. If you have long hair and don’t feel like cutting it for the sake of a party, here’s a great tutorial on how to style your hair to make it look shorter and fit perfectly with the era.

For Men

Men’s fashion was designed to accentuate the man wearing it, not take away. Men expressed themselves with ties and pocket squares. The professional businessman wore a classic white shirt with a tailored brown or grey suit jacket. Crisp was the theme, with starched collars.

As with most decades in the “olden days”, film influenced the style of the day, especially men’s hair. Films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s had just hit the Silver Screen. The early 60’s men’s hairstyles were still heavily influenced by the stars of the 1950’s, and men usually slicked their hair to the side, like so:

Cary Grant

Hats were also still the norm for men, and were removed when entering a home, restaurant, lounge or work environment.

This should get you started in your hunt for the perfect 1960’s era costume for a Mad Men-themed party, The Ad Man Murder Mystery Party or a regular 1960’s theme party. Snap a few pictures of your final choices and upload them on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/shotinthedarkmysteries