This blog is designed to help theatre students and actors research the history of theatre costumes. Through this blog, I hope to give a general overview of costume history, focusing on major points in the timeline.
Theatre costumes are an essential part of the production process. Because of this, costume designers have a huge responsibility to convey the story of their production through their designs.
We love costumes. We love theatre history. We love teaching people about theatre history.
And we especially love the time period of the 1960s and 1970s, which is why we decided to write this post about how to make a hippie costume for your next show or event.
Hippies were a counterculture movement formed in the early 1960s by young people who wanted to rebel against mainstream culture, and the hippie movement was largely focused on peace, love and understanding (despite what you may have seen in other movies or television shows…hippies were not all about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll).
The Hippie Costume – A Brief History
The hippie costume is the go-to Halloween costume for anyone looking to be psychedelic, bell-bottomed or groovy. The hippie movement started in the 1960s as a counterculture movement. The hippies were all about peace, love and freedom. They were young people rebelling against a society that was too conservative and traditional. They were protesting the Vietnam war and were against anything that was “establishment”. Many people wore tie-dyed shirts, bell-bottom jeans, flowers in their hair and had long hair. Some of the famous people involved in this movement included Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and more.
Hippies did not dress like most of society at the time (the 50s and 60s) because they wanted to stand out and make a statement. They wanted to reject the conservative views of their parents and express themselves in any way they could – through their music, clothes and actions. The hippie costume celebrates this freedom of expression and creativity.
Hippies of the 1960s used costumes that were colorful and often hand-made. Clothing was one way to show one’s individuality.
Costumes made from used clothing, homemade clothing, and home-dyed clothing were common. Frayed bell-bottoms, tie-dyed T-shirts, vests, headbands, and peace symbol necklaces were popular. Headbands often had peace symbols on them or were tied around the forehead with a bandana in the center of the forehead. Men’s hair was long and shaggy, while women’s hair was often in braids or tied back from their face with a bandana. Peasant blouses were popular with men and women alike.
Individuality was expressed through handmade jewelry. Hemp necklaces with peace symbols or flowers were popular. Leather bracelets were also worn by both men and women.
The Hippie Look
The hippie look is an iconic fashion statement of the 1960s and 1970s. Both men and women wore loose-fitting clothing that allowed for free movement. The style of this time period was about personal expression, and the clothing was an extension of this idea. From the psychedelic prints to the Victorian blouses, the costumes of this time tell a unique story about the generation’s ideas.
The hippie look began to emerge in 1963, when counterculture youths started to move away from the fashions of their parents, who were still highly influenced by 1950s fashions and ideals. These counterculture youths wanted to express themselves through their clothing choices and began wearing brightly colored or tie-dyed clothes and oversized accessories such as scarves and sunglasses. Men often grew their hair long, sometimes covering their eyes with bangs. Women wore their hair in braids or long curls with flowers tucked behind their ears or tucked into a headband.
Women’s fashion during this time included bell-bottom jeans, tie-dyed shirts or blouses, peasant skirts, vests, boots and sandals. They usually paired these items with large hoop earrings, brighter makeup than had been used in previous generations and headbands
The hippie costume is one of the most easily recognizable from the 20th century, thanks to popular culture and the hippie movement itself. The word “hippie” comes from the word “hipster”, which was a beatnik term meaning “someone who is in the know”. In general, a hippie was someone who advocated love and peace as a way of life. The hippie costume is considered a nostalgic costume.
The typical hippie outfit consisted of bellbottom blue jeans (although other colors were also worn), tie-dyed shirts, headbands, sandals, and sometimes vests.
Hippies were associated with the anti-war movement, drug use, environmental causes, and several political movements.
Hippies were also associated with music festivals, such as Woodstock. They wore their hair long and straight (both men and women) or long in braids or dreadlocks (African and Rastafarian influence). The women also wore long skirts and no bras; in fact it became popular for women to burn their bras during this time period.
The History of the Hippie Movement
The Hippie Subculture
The hippie subculture began its development as a youth movement in the United States during the early 1960s and then developed around the world. Its origins may be traced to European social movements in the 19th and early 20th century such as Bohemians, and the influence of Eastern religion and spirituality. From around 1967, its fundamental ethos — including harmony with nature, communal living, artistic experimentation particularly in music, and the widespread use of recreational drugs — spread around the world during the counterculture of the 1960s.
Some aspects of hippie culture, such as the widespread use of recreational drugs, rejection of mainstream religion in favor of Eastern spirituality, interest in altered states of consciousness and alternative forms of sexuality (such as “free love”), and environmentalism are also found in contemporary cultures. For this reason scholars such as James R Dow and Jeremy Wallach consider their lifestyle to be a subculture rather than a new social movement.