1960 -1969

Twist and Shout

Everything changed. The decade of the 1960s witnessed the beginning significant alterations in American society. The conformity, and relative innocence of the 1950s gave way under the pressures associated with members of the Baby Boom generation entering young adulthood. These young adults were growing up with freedoms and a level of prosperity that contrasted dramatically with the lives of their parents who knew want and the uncertainties of war as adolescents and young adults. As teen culture became stronger, the term “Youthquake” came to mean the power of young people and was taken up in the world of fashion appearing in magazines such as Vogue under Diana Vreeland. Teenagers during this period had more time to enjoy their youth, and the freedom to create their own culture separate from their parents. These “Baby Boomers” had unprecedented buying power and corporate America was ready to capitalize on the opportunities it presented. Independent tastes in clothing and especially music began to chip away at social and racial barriers. The generational divide widened as the decade progressed and continued into the 1970s.

Developed by Guest Curator, James Hanley

Please scroll through the timeline below.

Indicates what can be viewed at The Bryan Museum

Indicates Galveston History

  • The ease of life and the sense of safety provided by a well-ordered world was shattered for many people by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

  • Everything Changed

    The decade of the 1960s witnessed the beginning of significant alterations in American society. The conformity and relative innocence of the 1950s gave way under the pressures associated with members of the Baby Boom generation entering young adulthood.

  • Polka Dot Swimwear

    The release of the novelty song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka dot Bikini” in June of 1960 by Brian Hyland probably had something to do with the popularity of polka dots early in the decade. The song reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year and was played by teenagers around the world.

    *on view at the bryan museum

  • Women's Swimwear

    Even when certain styles dominate a particular point time, there is a continuum that includes a wide array of different looks. Tiny bikinis are seen on the beach at the same time as modest conservative retro designs. This was certainly true of the 1960s.

  • Variety of Styles

    The four bathing suits pictured here were introduced to the market in 1960. The healthy-looking American glamour that characterized the previous decade was still evident in them. It would give way by the late 1960s to sexier, more earthy styles.

  • Board Shorts

    With the rise of interest surfing, “board shorts” became more common during the 1960s. They had long loose legs extending to about six inches above the knee, and an elastic waistband with a string tie.

  • Twist and Shout

  • New Swimwear Milestone

    January 20 when Sports Illustrated published its first swimsuit issue featuring German-born model Babette March on the cover in a white bandeau top and boy short bottoms. Sports Illustrated’s object inaugurating this annual feature may have been little more than taking the opportunity to objectify the female body, but it has become a tradition that continues to attract the attention of men and women alike.

  • Monokini

    Rudi Gernreich introduced his revolutionary “monokini”, modeled by Peggy Moffitt. If the bikini was initially shocking, this bathing suit was designed to send people over the edge. It signaled something entirely new in America and served as a symbol of the sexual revolution.

  • Men's Swimwear

    The bathing suits worn by men in the 1960s became more diverse than they had been in the previous decade. Trunks were made of cotton and synthetics, and appeared on the nation’s beaches in both traditional patterns, like plaids and stripes, and in colors which were mostly bright in tone.

  • Accessorizing Hair

    If we consider hair as an important accessory for the fashionable and stylish at the beach, one of the surprising things we notice about women in some photographs taken in the 1960s is that they frequently have completely quaffed hair.

  • Women's Sunglasses

    The first big change in women’s sunglasses during the 1960s was a shift away from the cat-eye shape that had been so popular in the 1950s. Sunglasses with large lenses and dark rectangular frames became a market favorite.


  • Way Out are Way In

    Some were inspired a “space age” aesthetic associated with United State’s NASA programs. Some just had a temporary sort of costume quality to them like the “Way Out are Way In” shades that appeared in a display with Annette Funicello’s endorsement that appears to the left.

    Wayfarers and aviators remained the sunglass styles of choice for men.

  • Colorful Swimwear

    Contrasting “Mod” neon color blocks and jewel-tone bathing suits became fads during the decade. Psychedelic green, pink, orange were seen everywhere. Polka dots, stripes, and checks in pastel colors were also common. The “Boho” or bohemian look made its appearance at the end of the 1960s and gained popularity in the 1970s.