The type of dress worn by women, like most everything else in the sixties, changed drastically from the beginning of the decade to the end. Although that is certainly more true of younger women than the older set, who were perfectly fine with their late 50s-era dresses and long skirts.
And in the early 1960s that was fine, because many dresses sold at that time were updated version of 1950s dresses. The fabrics were relatively conservative, as were the patterns and colors. Scarves often accompanied a dress and various types of collars were popular as well. Belts were optional, jewelry was not.
Popular dress styles included brocades, crepe, shear and sheath dresses, which for the past 10 years had been enjoying quite a nice run. But as the decade progressed and new fashions emerged, the gap between the fashion savvy and those who weren’t became increasingly wider.
By 1966, dresses had gotten significantly more snug. Large buttons on the front were a big hit, as were Indian-inspired patterns. But that doesn’t mean that solid colors were out, because they weren’t. It was an exciting time when one women could be wearing an ankle length peacock-patterned culotte and the next woman could be wearing a solid, teal skimmer.
However, many women were preferring skirts over dresses because they could mix and match their outfits a lot better.
Skirts, which started the decade long and straight, ended up barely covering the derriere. For many young women, the shorter the skirt, the better. Actually, the short skirts trend completely dominated in 1967, but fashion designers got bored with it and tried to introduce the “Midi” — a mid-length mini-skirt. For the most part, women hated the Midi and stuck to their mini-skirts from 1967.
But to say that all women wore mini-skirts would be wrong. Many women wanted to remain conservative — or simply did not have the desired figure. In fact, throughout the mid- to late-60s, skirts could be purchased in just about every length.