Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hippie Chic for a Hippie Chick

I was brought into this world in the year 1969 and I have always considered myself lucky to have been born in the “hippie era.”

I have continually had an intense fascination with the late 1960s and ‘70s.  I love everything groovy about this time period: the fashion and the music.

This interest began long before Michelle Williams cut her hair and began looking like a modern version of Twiggy.  When my mom was pregnant with me, she went to see Janis Joplin in concert.  I believe that I was exposed to the culture of the ‘60s while in the womb, and this is why I still dig it today.

But there was a real coming of "vintage" age for me while in college.

With Me and Bobby McGee ringing in my ears, I bravely ascended to the attic of my grandmother’s house when I was 20 years old.  The house, built in the late 1800s, was sort of scary. But I had no fear as I hit the jackpot and I found decades worth of vintage clothing in an old steamer trunk.

Daisy-printed dresses, polyester shirts in fluorescent yellow and orange geometric designs with humongous collars, vests, and the coolest maroon colored bell bottoms. 

The treasures I found from my excursion into the attic would change my life.  For the next decade, I primarily wore only vintage clothing.  I would scour every vintage shop in New York City, estate sales in the burbs of New Jersey and constantly hitting up relatives to see if I could find any second hand bounty hoarded away in their own attics. 

To this day, the warmest winter coat I ever owned was a camel colored, corduroy monstrosity that had been my uncle’s.  As I traveled down the streets of NYC – more like wind tunnels during the winter – only my face succumbed to the harsh elements while my torso remained nice and toasty.

My antiquated obsession continued all the way from the East Coast to the West Coast.  When I met my husband, I knew it was true love when I saw him standing on line for a movie wearing a vintage ikat collared shirt named Martin Ponder.

Today, platform shoes, flare bottom jeans and pants, bell-sleeves, hip-huggers and floral prints are all the rage once again.  The look has been consumed by young and old alike.  Not everyone may be consciously aware of it, but if you buy your clothes – and don’t make them yourself – then you have succumbed to being a hippie victim.

Retailers have begun to let the ‘70s revival trickle down to all facets of their merchandise; A slight – to drastic – platform on any style of shoe, a floral print maxi dress, or wide leg jeans all signify flower power.

Alternative rock also has its roots in the Bohemian strains of yesteryear.  In 1993, Pearl Jam performed at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., and the Coachella Festival – an annual music and arts festival that continues today -- was born.   Similar to Woodstock, Coachella is a three day event – held in an open field – and features many genres of music including alternative rock, indie, and electronic music as well as large sculptural art.

The clothing worn by the concert goers is almost as creative as the event itself and, if you want to gleam Hippie chic styles, look no further than the assortment of celebrities who attended the event last month.

It was a mecca of caftans, prairie skirts, denim shorts, love beads and fringe joining together to form one fashionably social revolution.

So, the next time you happen to run across this chick in her flair jeans, Dolce Vita platform sandals, and HOH boho print top; do not merely stare as though I am a beatnik who teleported from another era.  Merely smile, praise my sense of individuality and how well I use style to express myself.

Possibly, you will revel in your own hipster bravura but – always remember – if you were old enough to wear it the first time around, you are too old to wear it now.

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