What are the top ten most common women’s 1960s coats and jackets? These long and short wool coats, casual car coats, vinyl raincoats, light windbreakers, and winter ski jackets were found in most 1960s women’s wardrobes. There was a 60s coat or jacket for every season, occasion, and personal style.
1960s Long Wool Coats
Every woman had at least one warm winter coat, usually made of wool or a new synthetic that looked like felted wool. The 1960s long coat lacked a waistline, instead flaring out only slightly into an A-line shape. As women’s dress hems inched upwards, so did women’s coats. Most coats were at or above the knee. Freezing legs was a sacrifice they had to make.
Coat designers played with proportion, adding oversized collars, big buttons, and large pocket flaps to minimize women into doll-like figures. 1960s coat colors were also girly — like pink, pastels, cream, and small checks. Mid 60s mod colors such as jade green and sunshine yellow were also very trendy. Earth tones returned at the end of the decade.
1960s Rain Coats
While raincoats have always been an option for women, improvements in fabrics in the 50s made them light and breathable as well as waterproof. The 1960s offered the same wool coat shapes in new light raincoat fabrics. But they also went back in time, making plastic-like vinyl raincoats in very vivid colors and prints (with matching rain boots). These were not breathable, but they fit perfectly in the Space Age aesthetic.
1960s Fur Coats
Heavy fur coats were no longer needed for winter warmth, yet rich furs continued to be worn for glamorous evenings. Mink half coats, capes, and knee length fur coats had simple shapes and monotone coloring. They rarely went beyond brown, black, and white. The one exception was for animal prints, such as leopard and occasionally faux zebra.
Fur collars and cuffs or faux fur collars, hoods, and trim were added to some wool coats, mostly for mature woman who grew up wearing them.
For young women, the textured faux shearling or fur pile coats became trendy as the decade moved into a “natural” state of fashion.
The mid 60s mod movement created a new line of mini coats and coat-dresses in eye popping colors and colorblock patterns, as well some very funky “trippy” prints. The belt returned to the coat as well.
60s Toppers and Car Coats
While most coats were for winter, some half-length coats were for spring and summer. A half length boxy “topper” coat was often sold with a matching pencil skirt for a suit set, but could also be sold separately. An even shorter cropped jacket was popular in the early 60s. They went out of fashion by the mid 60s as women moved away from the sophisticated look.
For casual cool days, a “car coat” was another 50s carryover. These hip-length or thigh-length jackets took on the shapes of all other long coats and jackets… only shorter. Since they appeared less formal, they embraced rougher fabrics, big plaids, corduroy, suede, and raincoat materials. Car coats looked best with pants, whereas toppers were for skirts and dresses.
Cape, Coats, and Ponchos
One unique style in the 60s was the revival of the cape coat. They fit overhead like a circular poncho, but had slits for the arms to poke through while lacking any sleeves. Cape coats usually had a button front or buckle at the neckline.
An entirely new style of casual jacket was the windbreaker. Made of colorful nylon, they repelled some rain, but were mainly intended for riding on the back of a Vespa, with a drawstring hood and waistband to keep the wind off freshly styled hair. Non-Vespa riding women loved them, as did teenagers — especially in big checks, floral prints, and mod-ish colors.
At the end of the 70s, women’s waistlines returned with the Trench Coat. All manner of fabrics were used to make trench coats, but it is the all-leather trench coat that became iconic with the 1970s.
Some of the earliest puffer jackets could be traced back to the 1960s (and a bit earlier). Down feathers or synthetic fibers were quilted into hip-length winter jackets. Flat, non-quilted ski jackets were even more trendy, with and without a belt. 1960s ski jackets were not thick or terribly warm.
There are more 1960s coats and jacket styles not include here, but you can always ask me about them if you want to know more.
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Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.