Hippie clothes from the 1970s took on the new styles of the decade but kept the original feel of the 1960s hippie era. Key items include maxi skirts, flares, knitwear and ethnic style accessories. Due to a fashion revival, many affordable chain stores are currently stocking a range of '70s inspired gear. You can also find authentic and retro items in thrift stores and second-hand sources.
Thrift stores still stock a lot of 1970s style clothing, as many people take years to part with their old fashion buys. The styles of the decade have frequently come back into fashion over the last 20 years, so you can sometimes find newer, good quality retro items. For an authentic '70s hippie look, choose earthy colours and mainly natural materials, such as cotton, wool and hessian. Polyester was the new synthetic of the decade, which found its way into almost all clothing styles, so even authentic '70s hippies sometimes had a little stretch to their fitted shirts and trousers. Other hippie styles to look for in thrift stores include men's leather sandals and Afghan suede coats, basket bags, flares, cheesecloth shirts, hand-knitted waistcoats and sweaters.
Some 1970s designers, such as Laura Ashley, made clothes inspired by the natural styles of the hippie era. While these are often snapped up by collectors or sold in pricey vintage stores, you can still sometimes find them on sites such as eBay or in flea markets. These offer authentic '70s hippie style at the fraction of today's designer retro outfits. Look out for floral print maxi-dresses and romantically styled puff-sleeve shirts. Make sure that you are buying the real thing, so look for properly stitched labels. The heavy, good quality cotton of the era is almost unmistakable once you have felt it.
For really cheap, classic hippie knitwear, do what they did in the 1970s: Buy balls of wool in thrift stores or flea markets, or unravel old knitted clothes that you no longer wear. Then, knit or crochet yourself a new wardrobe. The decade's knitting patterns are easily available online for only a few dollars. Look out for authentic series such as Golden Hands. Crocheted squares were popular in the '70s, and these are easier to make if you have never knitted before. You could try making a distinctive scarf, or poncho by sewing these together.
Adapt old clothes and layer them together with chain store bargains. You might see the '70s as highly styled, but hippies wore a mix-and-match look as a lifestyle choice. This informal spirit is easy to recreate. Cheap, modern accessories to look out for include wooden clogs, chunky ethnic beads and sandals. It is cheap and easy to tie-dye an old shirt, or any clothing made from natural fibre, such as cotton or linen. Knot and tie the fabric with string, then immerse it in cold-water dye. For good results, use a well-known brand, such as Dylon, and follow the instructions closely. Patchwork was incredibly popular with '70s hippies, so cut up old clothing or fabric and sew together into bags, purses or even clothing. You can buy vintage '70s patchwork clothing patterns for just a few dollars online.
- Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images