The 1960s were a tumultuous period in American history, marked by the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, and the assassination of JFK.
But adults who came of age during this incredible decade remember it as a simpler time, when kids could play baseball right out on the street, when the milkman delivered bottles straight to your door, and when teenagers on a hopeful first date shared a milkshake together under the neon auspice of a roadside diner. Oh, and there was also this earth-changing event you may recall: the moon landing.
For those that remember the era with an unmistakable twang of nostalgia, we’ve rounded up 20 photos that will transport you right back to the past. Think of it like a visual, tie-dye-tinged time machine. And for a linguistic throwback from the era, check out 20 Slang Terms From the 1960s No One Uses Anymore.
Scandalizing Your Parents By Wearing a Mini Skirt
Though who invented the mini skirt is a matter of debate, these shorter hemlines became all the rage among young women on London’s trendy Oxford Street, and it wasn’t long before they made their way across the pond. Soon, they became not just a fashion staple, but a symbol of the women’s liberation movement—and by the end of the era, an even shorter version called the “micro-skirt” emerged.
Wanting to Look Exactly Like Twiggy
With her short, slicked down hair, androgynous figure, big eyes, and long eyelashes, Twiggy was the definitive “It” Girl of the 1960s. Women spent hours in front of the mirror trying applying three layers of fake eyelashes and coating them in mascara to get her signature look. Despite her petite frame, Twiggy’s waist-to-hip ratio was 0.7, the same as Marilyn Monroe’s. For more on why this is considered the optimal ratio, This Is What Your Hip-to-Waist Ratio Says About Your Health.
Secretly Thinking Hippie Style Was Cool
With their fondness for free love, nudity, rock music, and illicit substances, raising a hippie was every ’60s parent’s worst nightmare. But even if you weren’t down with their psychedelic lifestyle, you couldn’t help but think all of those earth colors, loose dresses, and unkempt hair were kind of cool.
The Comfort of a Perfectly Broken-in Pair of Bell Bottoms
Bell bottoms, a style of trousers that flared at the bottom in a bell-like shape, became all the rage for both men and women. They made you look like you had calves the size of an elephant’s, but boy were they comfy after a few washes.
Riding a Banana Bike
The banana bike—also known as a wheelie bike, high-riser, spyder bike, consisted of ape hanger handlebars, a banana seat with sissy bar, and small wheels. They were designed to resemble a chopper motorcycle, and if you were a kid, nothing was cooler than racing down the street in one of these babies.
Wearing a Pair of Go-go Boots for a Night Out
In 1964, the French fashion designer André Courrèges designed the first go-go boots, which were white, low-heeled, and mid-calf in height. They were an overnight sensation, and paired perfectly with a miniskirt.
Hanging a Beatles Poster on Your Bedroom Wall
You collected their vinyl records and hung up their pinup posters from magazines, because Beatlemania was fever pitch.
Getting One of the First Barbie Dolls to Hit the Market
Barbie first launched in March 1959, after the iconic doll’s creator, Ruth Handler, noticed that her daughter, Barbara, liked to give adult roles to her paper dolls. The very first Barbie wore a zebra-print bathing suit and was available in both blond and brunette. By the end of the first year, Mattel had sold 300,000 of them.
Going Through Cans of Hairspray to Get the Perfect Bouffant
The style was popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy in the beginning of the ’60s, and soon every woman was backcombing for hours and blinding themselves with hairspray to achieve this coveted look. And if you’re curious to see what the women of the ’60s look like today, check out these 10 Over-65 Leading Ladies Who Look Amazing.
Eating Various Foods Made in Gelatin Molds
As gross as encasing meat in Jell-O may be, it was also a relatively inexpensive way of making meals out of canned products and seemed to have an infinite expiration date if properly refrigerated.
Loving the Low Maintenance of Keeping Sea Monkeys as Pets
“Sea monkeys”—a brand name for brine shrimp—were sold as novelty aquarium pets. Thanks to a genius marketing strategy that involved placing ads in comic books in which they bore very little resemblance to the real-life crustaceans, every little boy wanted one of these as a pet.
Getting Your First Tie-dye T-shirt
According to legend, the first modern tie-dye shirt was created by a group of hippies who took a white T-shirt, dipped it into a pond, and poured enamel-based model airplane paint all over it to make some pretty colors. It soon became the unofficial wardrobe at rock concerts, and Woodstock even had a tie-dye booth for those who needed an extra pair.
Thinking Everything Looked Cooler Under a Black Light
Though blacklight posters were invented in the 1930s, they didn’t become mainstream until the late 1960s, when venues like the Fillmore began using them to promote concerts for musicians like John Lennon, and artists began to create funkadelic artwork for teens to adorn their walls with. A few decades ago, your shaggy carpeted bedroom wasn’t worth a thing without a few of these babies adorning the wall.
The Turtleneck Trend
Ironically, the turtleneck—a garment that is perhaps more modest than anything else on the market nowadays—was the uniform for intelligent, independent, and irresistible women back in the 1960s. Iconic women of the time—like Gloria Steinem and Audrey Hepburn—were often pictured sporting turtlenecks with retro skirts and black jeans, creating sleek-but-sexy get-ups that no man or woman could resist. And for fashion fads we never want to see again, check out the 20 Worst Style Trends of 2017.
Playing with Troll Dolls
Why these creepy dolls picked up in popularity is unclear—but for better or for worse, Troll Dolls will always be a part of 1960’s nostalgia.
Getting Your Hair Pin-Straight with an Actual Iron
Before there were hair straighteners, there were actual irons and women on a mission. Every girl growing up in the ’60s remembers getting ready for prom, their mom holding their hair over the ironing board as they struggled to straighten those pesky waves. Straighteners may have made our lives easier, but the struggle made the final product that much sweeter. And for more historic flashbacks, don’t miss the 20 Timeless One-Liners from History’s Extraordinary Women.
Turning Your Basement into a Fallout Shelter
In the 1960s, fallout shelters were so popular that the government even offered financial assistance for civilians who wanted to build them under the Community Fallout Shelter Program. And what ’60s baby could ever forget President Kennedy’s famous letter in Life magazine, advising everyone to educate themselves about how to survive a nuclear attack, as “nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear war are facts of life we cannot ignore today.”
Watching the Moon Landing
For kids today, the iconic moon landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969, is little more than a part of history class. But for people growing up during this time, it was the event of the decade, where everyone gathered around the biggest television in the neighborhood to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind. And to learn what these guys had to go through to get to the moon, learn the 27 Insane Things Astronauts Have to Do.
Plugging in Your First Lava Lamp
Back in the ’60s, nothing accessorized a room quite like a lava lamp. Not only was it funky, but it was also fun to watch as the wax mixture inside moved around. Groovy, baby!
Posing For Photos on the Hood of Your Car
Before there were selfies, there were confident young women making sitting on the hood of a car look oh-so-glamorous. And if any of these photos appealed to you, check out 25 Signs You Were Born in the Wrong Decade.
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