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 sexual 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.
And so counter-culture becomes culture, and the wheel turns again.
“Corona del Mar High School students Kim Robertson, Pat Auvenshine and Pam Pepin wear “hippie” fashions, 1969,” LIFE magazine.
“High school student band, in California.”
“High school student wearing bell bottoms and boots, 1969.”
“Student Rosemary Shoong at Beverly Hills High School, wearing a dress she made herself, 1969.”
“High school teacher Sandy Brockman wears a bold print dress, 1969.”
“A Southern California high school student walks toward classmates while wearing the “Mini Jupe” skirt, 1969.”
“Southern California high school students, 1969.”
“High schooler Lenore Reday stops traffic while wearing a bell-bottomed jump suit in Newport Beach, Calif., 1969.”
“High school students wearing “hippie” fashion, 1969.”
“Beverly Hills High classmates show off their fashions, 1969.”
“High school fashions, 1969.”
“Southern California high schooler wears a buckskin vest and other hippie fashions, 1969.”
“High schooler Nina Nalhaus wears wool pants and a homemade jacket in Denver, Colo., 1969.”
“Beverly Hills High School student Erica Farber, wearing a checkered and tiered outfit, walks with a boy, 1969.”
“Students at Woodside High in California, 1969.“