The 60’s was all about youth and rebellion. It was the era that brought us hippies, “mods”, and Twiggy. Along with a sexual revolution, the 1960s brought with it a new beauty ideal — slender and long-legged. With famous fashionistas like Twiggy Lawson and style icons like Jackie Onassis, it was a time marked in history by icons that have proved to be immortal.
High-fashion model Twiggy Lawson became famous for her small frame and “androgynous” look, a nod to the 1920s flapper girls. Twiggy has spoken out against her thinness while recognizing her own role in perpetuating it. “I was a very, very skinny model in the 60s, but naturally… that’s what I looked like,” She told The Huffington Post in 2010. “I ate. I always said I ate, and I looked like my dad who was very skinny, so I think that’s genetic… if you are 17 years old and you are 5-foot-11, the chances are you’re going to be thin.”
Before Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron, there was Jackie Onassis. The original fashionable First Lady managed to maintain her impeccable style throughout her time in the White House, even as she lived through tragedy. Jackie’s prim skirt suits, pillbox hats and super-sized dark glasses made her the style inspiration for women across America, and across multiple decades.
Long before Destiny’s Child made fashion and music collide, there was The Supremes. From all-sequin gowns to matching skirt suits, not to mention those incredible beehives, their impeccable matching style led the way for girl-groups and musicians the world over.
Another icon who has stood the test of time is the lovely Audrey Heburn. Her 1961 Breakfast at Tiffany’s little black dress, accessorized with movie star shades, strands of pearls, and a top-handle purse will also be engraved into our hearts. She was the epitome of class while still oozing sex appeal.
All of these women epitomized a different aspect of beauty in the 60s. From stick skinny with painted on eyelashes, to a quintessential style icon, to a revolutionary female group, to the iconic movie star, there is no doubt that the beauty standards and fashion of the 1960s would ever be overlooked! But, a key component of this analysis of beautiful women of the 1960s was to portray the “most beautiful and influential women of the decade”. Much of what cemented these women as icons were their bodies. When defining the “body” in the lexicon, the Feminist A Reader makes a good point, “Women’s bodies are continually reshaped, covered, and uncovered according to prevailing ideology through fashion, corsets, diets, exercise programs, foot binding, cosmetic surgery, or veiling, among other things. As material objects, women’s bodies are ‘to be looked at‘.” This is NOTHING new to objectify women and use their bodies as the basis of their value. But what I wanted to highlight was that although all six of these women were exceptionally beautiful and had great bodies, they were also known for their other talents, such as modeling, singing, acting, and intelligence.
Feminist Theory: A reader. (3rd Edition). Lexicon of Debates- p.35.