When you work as a Background Actor, you never know what role you’ll play next. One day you may be a modern day detective and the next a 1960s high school teacher. Knowing what projects Central Casting is working on and having potential outfit options are ways you can be a successful Background Actor. To help give you some wardrobe ideas, we put together a guide to 1960s looks.
The 1960s are known as the decade when long-established fashion trends were thrown out the window for modern, bold, and experimental styles. When you think of ’60s fashion, you’re probably thinking of Hippie looks, bell bottoms, and miniskirts, but the decade began with much more conservative style choices. So if you are putting together a ’60s look, make sure you know what part of the decade you’re dressing for.
The prim and proper sensibility of 1950s fashion carried over into the early 1960s. For women, the style icon at the beginning of the decade was Jacqueline Kennedy. She popularized the common look of a tailored skirt, boxy jacket with oversized buttons, heels, and pillbox hat. If you’re trying to put together an early ’60s look, keep in mind that the silhouette was more form-fitting than the 1950s. Pants became fashionable as everyday wear for women, with wide, skinny, and capri cuts. They were often paired with button-up shirts or a blouse.
Men’s fashion was still largely influenced by business wear in the early 1960s. Frank Sinatra and the James Bond films popularized single breasted slim fitting suits with skinny ties in muted gray and tan tones. More casual looks consisted of khakis, polo shirts, stripped t-shirts, sweater vests, cardigans, and loafers. Pork pie and trilby hats were still worn, but became less popular as the decade wore on.
The mid 1960s was when fashion really began to turn away from long held trends and branch off into a variety of bolder experimental styles. One of these bolder styles for women was Space Age fashion. This look consisted of boxy silhouettes and thigh length hemlines in synthetic materials like spandex and nylon. Outfits were often paired with plastic raincoats, fake fur, sandals, kitten heels, or white go-go boots. Another defining fashion moment from the mid ’60s was the creation of the miniskirt. Miniskirts were often worn with tight sleeveless shirts and tall bright colored go-go boots.
British bands like The Beatles and The Who had a major impact on men’s fashion in the mid-1960s. They often dressed in Mod (Modernist) styles that included slim fit collared shirts, fitted pants (often jeans), tailored suits, and striped jackets. Young men who dressed in a Mod look tended to wear bolder prints and stripes.
Hippie and Bohemian style took over fashion in 1967, especially among young people. Hippie style for both men and women included tie dye, bell bottoms, corduroy pants, sheepskin vests, mariner’s caps, headband, sandals, and patches with flowers or peace symbols.
The other big trend for men was called the Peacock Revolution, which mimicked Edwardian style. This look included double breasted suits in crushed velvet or stripes with frilled collar shirts. The Peacock Revolution threw out traditional masculine fashion norms and introduced cuts, colors, and prints that were previously only seen in women’s clothing.
For women, styles became more sophisticated in the latter part of the decade. The main silhouette was a long lean line with varying skirt and dress hemlines. Wardrobe included slender tunics, long cardigans, straight legged pants, tights, and long jackets in varying colors and tie dye.
Ready to put together your ’60s look? When you get booked on a project, the Casting Director will give you details for the shoot, often in the form of a Details Blog. Your Details Blog will contain wardrobe information from production, which may include instructions on putting together a specific outfit or may leave room for you to create your own look. Whatever the case, make sure you understand what’s being asked of you and follow all directions given. You will likely be asked to come to set camera ready in your wardrobe, but if you are asked to bring your clothing to set, please make sure it arrives clean and unwrinkled.