What Did Beatniks Wear?

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Black, unfussy clothing and dark glasses were wardrobe staples of both male and female beatniks, or members of the beat generation. Berets were also worn by those who identified with the beat movement.

Beatnik fashion was minimalist, with turtleneck sweaters being popular among the men and capri pants, slim skirts, cowl necks and leotards widely worn by beatnik women. They avoided anything fussy, flowing, or frilly. The overriding theme of beatnik fashion was that it was form-fitting and understated.

Striped sweaters and shirts were widely worn by both sexes, and short-sleeved sweaters were popular among women. Eastern religious symbols figured prominently in their jewelry. Beatnik fashions were emulated among those living more conventional lifestyles to the extent that they became the original staples of beatnik fashion, such as simple black turtlenecks, become stereotypical.