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Hippie Clothes: How Did Hippie Fashion Start?

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Tie-Dyed T Shirts and Other Hippie Clothing

Wearing tie-dyed clothing or ethnic clothing was a way for us to have cool clothes with little money. Our self-decorated clothing was a statement of rebellion against corporate advertising and consumerism. (It was similar to being anti-Walmart, today.)

tie dye boho dress coverupIn the '60s, all T-shirts were white. Tie dying was a way to make plain T-shirts look cool. So, hippies made tie-dyed tees and sold them so they could have money (for food, rent, gas, etc.).  They got into other handmade crafts, like candles, macrame, jewelry, and pottery.  But, this was not just for fun, this was also a way to survive.

Peasant Blouses

Why did hippie chicks wear peasant blouses? The reasons were probably because these peasant tops:

  • Were cheap.
  • Were beautiful.
  • Were handmade and hand embroidered.
  • Were hip and different.
  • Were brought back from Mexico to the states by some enterprising hippies who sold the blouses cheaply to other hippies.

It was bad karma to make a lot of money by charging too much, especially when selling something to a fellow rebel.  We were all trying to survive on very little money.  And, peasant-styled clothing was not sold in stores at that time.

Gypsy Skirts

Hippie Chicks often wore bellbottom jeans or inexpensive, bohemian gypsy skirts. These gypsy skirts were cotton and came from Southern Europe, India, or Latin America. Hippies rebelled against corporate big business and liked to wear anything that was made by people’s hands (not mass-produced).

We were rebellious and wanted clothing that was unique or could be combined in new and unique ways.  Our clothing was a symbol of what we stood for.

Boho Chic Clothing

hippie boho skirtsHippie girls adopted the bohemian clothes of peasant people from around the world. They wore:

  • Caftan tunics from Morocco – over denim jeans or gypsy skirts.
  • Indian cotton skirts, made for themselves from lightweight tapestry bedspreads from India.
  • Suede moccasins to represent the Native American culture. Or, they went barefoot.
  • Cheap jewelry from India, Nepal, Tibet, Morocco, and Mexico.
  • Shisha embroidered bags (embellished with little mirrors) from India or Pakistan.

Patchwork Clothing

Hippie patchwork clothing was also common. My guess is that this style was started by some girl from Kansas or Montana, who knew how to hand quilt, and needed to come up with an idea to make some money. Patchwork was a good way to recycle old clothes and make "something out of nothing."

Thrift-Store Chic

hippie maxi dressHippies also found old clothing at thrift stores, and some chicks tried to make similar clothes in their own personalized, trippy styles. A big score might include an old mink coat or a funky granny dress from the 40's.

Natural Bohemian Style

Girls used to wear their hair long and left it to do whatever it wanted to do. No blow dryers, curling irons, or straighteners. Hippie Chicks wore no makeup. Most hippies wanted to be “natural” and lead a simplified life.

And, it was very liberating not to have to put on makeup every day. Maybe it worked so well because there were only a few TV channels and people on TV looked fuzzy, therefore, women were not compared to celebrities as much as they are today.

We Were All in it Together

Somehow, everyone helped each other and the hippie subculture survived on very little cash. Neo hippies appear to have the same love of individualism and rebelliousness that earlier hippies had.  Older hippies and younger hippies seem to have a lot in common.

More Articles for Boho Chic Women:

Boho Chic Jewelry

Hot Boots for Fall 2012: Women Over 40 or 50

Hippie Wedding Dresses for a Casual Bohemian Chic Celebration

Why Boho Chic Will Never Die

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Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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12 Comments

  1. Denny

    I'm a neo hippie born inn 1972 in the UK...I love the hippie culture of the 60's..I think you are right we are just as much rebels today..the govenment here I crap!..welfare benefits are very low for those of us who are sick and unable to work..therefore we are forced to make do & find ways of saving money..I look at the hippies of the 60's as pioneers for this generation!!!..respect to all of you!

    • Tina

      Denny,

      I'm glad you're carrying on the ideals of the original hippies. We are all in this together and we should all help one another.

      Cheers,
      Tina Boomerina

  2. Ronan

    You are dead right, I think that hippies are often labeled wrong and are an important asset to society. Their alternative opinions and ability to talk up for society, protest and fight for their rights is something that often gets thrown back at them through the media and peoples opinions.

    It was great to see the occupy campaign a few years ago and really made a difference as to the way the governments worldwide were handling the world debt problem and also made the average joe stop and think about what was going on. But once again violence between government forces (police) broke out in many places which is unacceptable.

  3. kay kerns

    The 'hippie' friends i knew in the late '60s and early 70's were older than me and i heard them refer to themselves as 'Freaks" (as in 'freak flag fly' i guess)...i remember being given a chambray navy uniform shirt with my friend's name on it which i incorporated into my wardrobe

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Kay,

      We absolutely called ourselves freaks (and we called ourselves heads - for some reason... just like with "deadheads" for Grateful Dead afficonados). We never called ourselves hippies back in the day, although when I look back I suppose I was a hippie... even though I never would have admitted it.

      If anyone knows where the term heads originated or why we called each other heads, I would love to know. My guess is that it's a nickname that originated in SF.
      Tina

  4. Maxine Chiu

    Tina, I'm so glad to have discovered your site....All the better to know that you were a part of our history that rebelled against the powers that be....But I disagree with one thing....America's wars post 9/11 were/are just as meaningless and atrocious as Vietnam....No soldier who went to Iraq or Afghanistan was there to defend his/her family and country although they were brainwashed to believe that was the case....They were there, as they still are, to defend the interests of the oil, weapons and financial corporations which are the only entities to profit from war....Best....Maxine

  5. Jane on Whidbey

    I'd just like to add that it was also the beginning of the environmental movement, and recycling clothing was just as important as stopping the war. The enormous growth of 'second-hand' shops and thrift stores grew from that, and I started buying used clothing, much to the dismay and horror of my mother's insistence that used clothes were disgusting, and meant that you were poor. She is a child of the Depression, and never had new things. Odd how political situations affect fashion. I once read an article that the happier times were, the scantier the clothing, (Roaring 20s), and during times of financial stress, the longer the skirts and heavier the clothing, to prove that the rich could afford it. I've been thinking of that off and on for years.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Jane on Whidbey,

      OMG, I should have included the environmental aspect and the recycling part. It's great that you included that. I think one of my writers talked about the recycling of clothes in another article. It's so true.

      I've read a lot of articles putting down all the things that baby boomers have done to ruin the economy and wreck the planet. Those articles are just not true...

      And, I did love the look of horror on my mother's face when I wore something from Goodwill. OMG, those were the days. You are putting a smile on my face, Jane!

      T

  6. Jane on Whidbey

    Glad to oblige! I have such fond memories.Thanks for reminding me this week. It's been fun wandering around your world here.

  7. Jane on Whidbey

    Thanks for such great content! I'm pretty smiley, too.

  8. Noemi Gonzalez

    Hi there, this page really helped me with a lot of my questions. My grandparents were drifters during the time and they've really did a good job on passing the culture down to me.I'm 15 years young and I'm turning 16 soon.i just wanted to thank you because I've went to the mall with some friends the other day( which is rare because I love to thrift) and I saw manikins on display with "hippie fashion". It wasn't pleasant either. For some reason, I got offended and angry. And I wasnt even alive in the 60s or 70s! I checked the price of the thin shirt and it was 40 bucks! Boy did I get mad. But the thing that got me was when I remembered that people dressed like how they did because it WAS inexpensive. So why was the whole outfit on display summed up to 150 bucks? It didn't make sense. And thanks for the facts about the peace sign. I don't flash it out all the time but it really was great to spend my time gaining new knowledge about it.