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The 1960s was really a revolutionary decade. It highlighted an era of change and post-war citizen awareness. People, especially the youth, dressed in a way to express rebellion at fixed and commonly accepted notions and social norms. They experimented and handled experimentation with a sense of responsibility for their actions. It had become also a time when the world acknowledged the strength of economy and people to stay resilient. The 1960s witnessed a major paradigm shift in the way the world viewed experiment and innovation. It was an era that paved the stage for the ‘information and communication revolution’ that ushered in the 21st century. The fashion naturally displayed the innermost recesses of the human psyche that was under-going much change. The changes related to women’s empowerment, various issues relating to human rights and racial equality were reflected in the acceptance of casual, comfortable attire.
Who were the Hippies
Hippies were a part of a youth movement, composed of the younger generation and teenagers between the ages of 15 and 25. These youngsters or hippies rebelled and criticized middle-class values, embraced elements of non-Judeo-Christian religions, opposed the Vietnam War, promoted sexual liberation, and created intentional communities, often considering their tribe as a new religious movement. Hippies favored “peace, love, and personal freedom over political and social orthodoxy.
The hippies fashion was embraced by the youth and even seniors across the continents, in the 1960s. The focus of the decade and years later was on the vibrancy of the apparel and accessories and not on what others thought about a particular appearance. People, generally, sported clothes that they felt expressed themselves and their individualism and not for sake of pleasing the regular line of fashion. The empowering rock music and world-wide protests against social stigmas like apartheid churned out the blue jeans and denim. It was the era of casual attire; an age when people felt that drug addiction was okay to experiment with. The hippies, as they were commonly described by the ‘prim and proper’ and socially answerable citizens, designed a whole new lifestyle of their own.
The 1960s’ Hippie Fashion
The 1960s’ hippie fashion comprised apparel that would probably appeal to only the youth of today. The baby boomers, also called the flower children, did not hesitate to flaunt flowers in their hair, much like the customs and sights of the orient. In the west, the hippies also indulged in body painting, body piercing and tattoo body art. Not much of this was ever appreciated by the older generation. The men sported long, loose flowing hair long like the women. The ‘free look’ comprised not focusing on what others thought of their self-expression through apparel, believing in ‘equality for all’ and protesting against social evils. The hippies fashion statement was a rage with the youth. It showed signs of fading out as they grew older. They pretty much lived up to The Days of Our Youth are the Days of Our Glory! Unlike the formal business environment today, way back in the 1960s’, the hippies fashion trends offered clothing for work and leisure a very informal and casual look.
The fashion clothing was a form of counterculture and nonconformist. The personal expressions of people and the times resulted in easily recognizable styles that made a major impact on the contemporary world. The fashion was derived along the ‘anything goes’ line. Hipsters and bell-bottom jeans, ankle fringes, flower patches and peasant blouses were all part of the fray. T-shirts and skimpy halter-neck tops were part of everyday wear. Women wore long skirts and dresses that redefined what was ‘acceptable’. The hemlines were difficult to digest for the conservatives of the era and the micro and mini skirts were a cultural shock. Short skirts were worn with knee-high boots, while the long flowing skirts were considered better matched with sandals. Flowing ribbons in the hair or the dress was nothing unusual. Flowers strongly emphasized the hippie movement. They were used to represent peace and love. Tired of the toll that World War II took on culture and economy, the hippies sported floral patterns on dresses and skirts and jeans. Artificial flower tiaras and real flowers were worn in the hair.
Hippie Hair and Jewelry
During the hippie movement, men and women grew their hair long and avoided fussy styling and hair products as braiding hair was popular, although, contrary to popular belief, they did still shampoo. Usually hair was parted in the middle and bang-less. During this time period, long side burns were the thing for men. Fashion accessories during the time also included bandana’s and other headgear, scarves. Hippies accessorized their hair with flowers or little hair clips or a colorful headband across their forehead. A skinny ribbon tied at in the back of the head with long easy flowing hair became a legendary look throughout the 1960s.
Women’s jewelry was mostly based on nature or from Native American or any similar handmade designs. Any necklace sporting a peace sign with Beads was hugely popular. Jewelry that made music was highly desirable since music was an essential part of the hippie scene. Necklaces that featured bells as pendants and jangly ankle bracelets were a favorite among women. In general, the ankles received a lot of attention, especially amongst those living on the warm west coast, because many hippies preferred to go barefoot.
Hippies rebelled against the post war ugliness in the world and turned the interest of fashion designers towards as much natural splendor as possible. The youth movement affected the teen fashion industry in a major way. Trends keep changing with time, but girls that found their own individuality and style in the 1960s have never let it go and passed much of their own hippie influence on to their daughters.
write by ROGER CHINN