In 1969, LIFE magazine set out to take pictures of the trends that had enthralled American youth, like hippies and disco culture. Their vibrant colors, varied materials, and casual disregard for all that was proper were all captured in these awesome photos.
The 1960s counter-cultural revolution brought new groundbreaking styles of music, a new-found freedom, and a world made smaller by the ubiquitous TV. “The latest rule in girls’ high school fashion,” LIFE magazine wrote in 1969, “is that there isn’t any.” Though we possess unparalleled freedom today, many people’s fashion sense is still constrained. Consider the hipster: for all their counter-cultural claims, they are largely defined and even constrained by the mainstream that they oppose. Their disregard for the mainstream has become the mainstream.
The lunchtime fashion parade at California Woodside High, 1969,
– LIFE magazine.
Corona del Mar High School students Kim Robertson, Pat Auvenshine and Pam Pepin wear “hippie” fashions, 1969.
High schooler Lenore Reday stops traffic while wearing a bell-bottomed jump suit in Newport Beach, Calif., 1969.
A high school student walks toward classmates while wearing the “Mini Jupe” skirt, 1969.
High school teacher Sandy Brockman wears a bold print dress, 1969.
High school fashions, 1969.
High school students wearing “hippie” fashion, 1969.
High school student band, in California.
High school student wearing bell bottoms and boots, 1969.
Beverly Hills High School student Erica Farber, wearing a checkered and tiered outfit, walks with a boy, 1969.
Southern California high school students, 1969.”
High schooler Nina Nalhaus wears wool pants and a homemade jacket in Denver, Colo., 1969.
Beverly Hills High classmates show off their fashions, 1969.
Southern California high school student wears old-fashioned tapestry skirt and wool shawl, 1969.
Southern California high schooler wears a buckskin vest and other hippie fashions, 1969.
Student Rosemary Shoong at Beverly Hills High School, wearing a dress she made herself, 1969.