Vintage hippie style combines organic influences with color and comfort.

Vintage Hippie Clothing Styles

by Laura Leddy Turner

While the hippie fashion trend of the 1960s and '70s is often associated with the notion of rebellion, the hippies' style also reflected a desire to live in harmony with nature. If their style choices caused disharmony within mainstream society, popularly referred to as "the establishment," all the better. You can replicate the vintage hippie look attractively by choosing organic fabrics; comfortable, "lived-in" textures; free-form mixtures of prints; and nature-inspired accessories. Put together just the right way, a vintage hippie ensemble may still get a second look from older members of society -- a look that says, "Wow ... groovy outfit!"

Denim Nation

Embroidered or distressed, faded to almost white or black as night, denim is an essential element in any hippie wardrobe. Choose a flared or bell-bottom style denim jean, because the straight-leg style was out of favor during the hippie heyday. Top off your jeans with a leather belt sporting a chunky buckle, or a woven-leather or macrame belt that ties with fringed ends. To play up your jeans, choose a low-key top, such as a simple long- or short-sleeve T-shirt or thermal in basic white. A denim light-wash vest displays textural contrast when worn over a gauzy peasant-style top. Pair a denim jacket with a cotton floral print dress and engineer boots for a look that suggests rugged flower child. Hippie inspired jewelry featuring shells, turquoise, amber or other natural elements completes the look.

A Patchwork Orange

Not to be confused with preppy patchwork plaid, the vintage hippie patchwork look projected handmade art. A vividly colored sweater featuring geometric print blocks makes an eye-catching topper over a more subtle print or solid shirt. Keep your jeans low key with a light wash, but feel free to add a bold print shoulder bag and beaded bracelets to project the carefree hippie spirit. Canvas sneakers or sandals picking up one of the colors in the sweater ties together the vintage hippie look without appearing too calculated. Patchwork ankle-length skirts and dresses that combine floral, paisley and striped blocks are a vintage hippie statement all on their own, but are nicely accessorized with a fringed suede bag and simple leather flip-flops. If you're not ready to plunge into patchwork in a big way, start small with a patchwork cloth backpack, patchwork leather handbag or denim jacket with patchwork accents.

Time to Tunic

Tunics were a hippie staple, and they're still a versatile fashion piece. Pair a lightweight cotton, colorfully embroidered tunic with light-wash jeans and leather sandals for a warm-weather day. If the temperature rises, switch to distressed denim shorts and blouse out the tunic over a wide leather belt. Top the tunic with a light-wash denim or suede vest and change out the sandals for fringe-top suede or leather cowboy boots for a bit more warmth. Hoop earrings and a necklace with a natural stone or peace sign pendant add the finishing touches. A vintage screen-printed tunic in mid-thigh or longer length can be styled as a dress and paired with knee-high, casual boots or worn over leggings with shorter boots for a groovy laid-back look.

Head Shop

To top things off, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair -- or one of several other choices that harken back to the happy hippie days. A floral or paisley print headband in stretchy fabric -- worn across the forehead rather than behind it -- adds the definitive throwback touch to just about any hairstyle, and also effectively keeps loose ends in place for a high ponytail or bun. Thin headbands with beaded or floral accents channel the flower-power spirit of the '60s. If headbands are not your style, opt for a colorful, slouchy knit beret. While a woolen knit may be too heavy for warm weather, cotton knits can be worn all year.

About the Author

Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.

Photo Credits

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