Woodstock Fashion: Photos Of Hippie Chicks And What They Wore

By | January 31, 2019

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Left: A couple attending the Woodstock Music Festival smiles while standing outside the shelter they've built during the concert, Bethel, NY, August 1969. Source: (Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images) Right: Bell bottoms at Woodstock. Source: vintage.es

"Three days of peace and music" -- that's how they billed the August 1969 festival known as Woodstock. Fashion was another of the themes, with the hippies flocking to Bethel, New York, in all manner of outrageous getups. Some were brief and comfortable, while others were ornate statements -- and all can make good outfits for a costume party. The flower-power spirit reached its peak at Woodstock; hippie fashion, as we remember it, was practically defined by this massive counterculture event. Five decades later, images of idealistic, free-spirited youths communing with one another persist, and the spirit of Woodstock isn't the only reason we find them so fascinating. That fashion -- that authentic Woostock hippie fashion -- we've come to love (and sometimes laugh at) was so much more than clothing: in all its variety it symbolized self-expression, freedom, peace, openness, individualism, rebellion, and love. The young generation felt they'd found a better way, a more harmonious vision for the future, and it was on full display at Woodstock. The fashion choices, like the ideals and the music, will never be forgotten.

Woodstock was a full 50 years ago. Though it seems like yesterday, it's actually more of a historical era for most people than a personal memory (and as they said of the '60s -- if you remember it, you weren't there). These days, a good Woodstock hippie costume works for Halloween and costume parties, so consider this research.

Musical acts such as Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Santana, Joe Cocker, Canned Heat, Country Joe & the Fish, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Janis Joplin, Ritchie Havens, Ravi Shankar, and Jimi Hendrix were rocking the stage. Drugs were plentiful (and the brown acid was to be avoided). People were getting together spiritually and sexually. And the fashion was unforgettable, in all its eclectic and disheveled glory. 

Tie Dye Off The Highway

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Joe Cocker in tie dye at Woodstock. Source: (tiedyedan.com)

In the Woodstock era, folks didn’t buy tie-dye clothes -- they made them themselves. A little RIT dye, some rubber bands, and a plain white t-shirt (at that time, intended to no more than undershirts) was all they needed to make a colorful fashion statement. Hippies were all about shock value and breaking out of conventional molds, and the wild and colorful tie-dye shirts fit the bill. Once the tie-dying was complete, the garment could be worn any number of ways. Men often preferred to wear it as an over-sized tunic, but women knotted them under their breasts to show off their belly buttons.