15 Iconic High School Fashions from the ‘60s and ‘70s

By  | 

Fashions come and fashions go, but the clothes people wore in high school during the late 1960s and 1970s were certainly iconic. Many of these styles had never been seen before in such a bold way. With the growing popularity of such shows as Mad Men and other 1960’s themes, many of these styles may just be coming back around. Many of them would even fit in with current styles—so watch for them. And you may even want to raid your grandma’s closet to look completely vintage and retro!

Mini Skirts


Never before seen this short, hemlines in the mid-1960s moved higher and higher. A mini-skirt technically sits 8 inches above the knee and the high school girls of the ‘60s loved them, even if their parents didn’t.


Bell Bottoms


Flares bigger than you can imagine. Starting at the knee and flaring out wide down to the ankle, bell bottoms were often low-waisted and tight at the hips.




From the poufy bouffants of the ‘60s to the iron-straight center parts of the ‘70s, and moving on to the feathered hair of the late ‘70s, the hair-dos from this era were unique and fashionable in their own right. Even boys started wearing their hair longer and feathering it, ala Shaun Cassidy.




A nod to the history of Native Americans, fringe was all the rage in the early 1970s, decorating vests, shirts, jackets, ponchos, purses, and more. Made out of suede, leather, or yarn of various colors, adding beads to the fringe just added to the hippie, wild child effect.


Big Collars


Just like bell bottoms, the bigger the better as collars go! Collar points heading all the way to the armpits are the best kind, especially if the print on the shirt is wild too.




Whether created as a vest or modified by cutting off the sleeves of a jacket, layering with vests was a huge fad of the ‘70s. Especially if the vests were made of suede and had fringe or beads on the edges!




Grabbing something else from the Native American influence, ponchos, whether plain or colorful, were fun and functional. These were made from all kinds of fabrics including leather or sweater-knits. And adding fringe just made them that much better.




Whether wrapped up high to go with the bouffant hair-dos or around the forehead to go along with the stick-straight hairdos with center parts, headbands were an easy mark of the ‘60s and ‘70s.


Mad for Plaid


In suits with wide bell bottoms for men or pleated super short mini-skirts for girls, large plaids were an important part of fashion in the 1960s and 1970s.


Crazy Tights


Created in the most ridiculous patterns, tights were well-shown when those short skirts were happening! Diamonds, paisleys, plaid, and other wild patterns all shown in the brightest possible colors to make a statement.


Huge Sleeves


Along the same lines as bell bottomed pants, sleeves got bigger from the shoulders or elbows and flared out massively toward the wrist. Some sleeves would be left loose while others were gathered in around the hands. Either way, the effect was loose and flowy.


Platform Shoes


The taller the better. Platform shoes, especially in the form of boots, were all the rage in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Particularly popular when worn with super short mini-skirts, platform soles made wearers appear to be several inches taller, which was a style very much appreciated at the time by shorter high school kids.


Ruffled Shirts


Worn by men and women, ruffled collars (and sometimes sleeves!) on shirts were all the rage for casual and formal wear. High school guys wore them to prom complete with pastel colored tuxedos, the likes of which had never before been seen in fashion, and hopefully will never be seen again.





The indecision between a shirt and pants, this style was also known as “coulottes” or a split skirt. This was likely a compromise of the women’s movement as pants became more acceptable for women, but the comfort of gauchos reigns supreme.


Bare Bellies


The freedom of expression in the ‘60s and ‘70s meant that more skin was being shown than ever before. Bare midriffs, halter tops, short shorts, and mini-skirts were all part of the new generation of fashion following the politics of the women’s movement. High school girls felt free to go bare.