We often hear talk about how popular culture today is so self-referential and self-cannibalizing that it’s impossible to tell where nostalgia ends and creativity begins. The internet has made the whole of human knowledge instantly available at our fingertips — the phrase “oh well you’re too young to know about….” is loosing relevance. If someone wants to know about something, she’ll Google it.
But back in the 1960s, television was new, commercial airline travel was new, and America’s highway system was new. People were awash in information from around the globe for the first time, and as we all know, it revolutionized the world. These images of high school fashions in 1969 (via Life) vividly demonstrate those changes. “The latest rule in girls’ high school fashion is that there isn’t any,” is how LIFE Magazine reckoned with teen’s then-radical new ways of dressing. By 1969, teens had been exposed to new ideas and cultures from around the world for years and they’d come up with ways to express their difference. They knew the world was changing and they weren’t afraid of letting it show.
See Life’s slideshow for the full collection.