Monday, August 6, 2012

Hippie Fashion


Have you been always inspired by hippie fashion? Here is an insight into what were the must wardrobe-haves for the hippie generation.

"I'm a former hippie, so clothes are important to me - your clothes defined you in that period."

John Hughes, American director, producer and writer, summarized in one sentence what hippie fashion was about.

After all the entire hippie era was about non-conformism and being your own person. Clothes, like everything else, were individualistic.

The counterculture had at its core, the belief that every person had the right to express him/her self as he/she deemed right.

Describing hippy clothes as a fashion trend may seem a little oxymoronic since it was a different expression for every person but there are some elements of the style then that set it apart from other fashion trends.

What Hippies Wore: An Overview

There are some elements of fashion that are synonymous with hippie clothes. Chief among these being bell bottoms, flowers, peace signs and the vivid tie dye patterns. Let us take a look at the wardrobe essentials from the hippie period and trace the history.

Flower Power

Flowers dominated most hippie possessions including cars and vans. A flower in one's hair was a great way of accessorizing oneself. If not as a hair accessory, then flowers made their presence felt as designs on clothes. These were symbols of vividness, peace and freedom.

The term flower power was coined by Allen Ginsberg, the famous Beat poet, as a way of transforming war protests into peace symbols. 1960s hippie fashion dictated that symbolism was adapted as a part of clothing. Most hippies also went around distributing flowers to the general public earning the nickname flower children.

Bell Bottoms

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry.
I don't want to lose this feeling.
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms
- Derek and the Dominoes

Songs were written about this fashion trend which speaks volumes about the rage they were. The song writer of Bell Bottom Blues, Eric Clapton wrote the song for Pattie Boyd after she requested him to buy a pair of trousers from the US.

Bell-bottoms were synonymous with the hippie fashion movement with men and women both sporting these trousers teaming them with other wardrobe essentials of the period like tie-dye t-shirts, beads, flowers, fringe jackets etc.

These trousers when worn had to be hip hugging and teamed with a leather belt for sure. Men often substituted bell-bottoms with jeans but it was important that these jeans were grungy and looked worn out.


For most women, 60s fashion clothing meant a revival of skirts in a manner never seen before. Skirts of any length were very popular. Hemlines became shorter with mini skirts and even micro mini skirts becoming exceedingly commonplace.

At the other end of the spectrum were gypsy style skirts that flirted with ankle length hemlines. Indian prints like batik and paisley were much sought after for gypsy skirts. Many people actually preferred dyeing and making their clothes themselves to give it a more unique appearance.

Tie-Dye Clothes

Though the tie-dyeing art was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century, it became wildly popular only in the 1960s when the hippies adopted it as an integral part of hippie fashion.

1960s fashion was largely defined by the use of tie-dye patterns on clothing. One of the most used symbols was the peace symbol in vibrant colors.

The popularity of tie-dye could also be credited to the travels that most hippies indulged in going as far as India and therefore, being inspired by Asian motifs and textiles for clothing. There was a favorable tilt towards designing and making your own clothes in a bid to be individualistic and as a sign of defiance of the corporate culture.

Other popular items included chain belts, caftans, peasant blouses, scarves, etc. Peace symbols were very popular in the form of accessories. Most hippies, regardless of gender, were predisposed to wearing their hair long and it generally looked unkempt. African Americans made the Afro style of hair very popular.

Many people abandoned footwear preferring to walk bare-feet. If footwear was used, then they generally were leather sandals or flip-flops. Even in the early '70s, this fashion continued having a huge influence but this started slowly dying down.

Today, hippie clothing has seen a revival with many people using different staples from the period in a more modern way. It is not surprising. Someone once very famously said, "Hippies are like jeans. They never die; they just fade.". I guess it holds true for their fashion as well.

Go to Soul-Flower:Your Hippie Clothing Shop:

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