Fashion History 101: Hippie Fashion

The Hippie Movement, which lasted from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s, originated on US college campuses, partly as an opposition to US involvement in the Vietnam War, but largely because its young members felt alienated from what they viewed as a materialistic, restrictive and repressive middle class society. Aside from its politics, what is perhaps most memorable about the Hippie movement is its fashion; with the current popularity of brands such as The Hippie Shake, Yesterday People and Rosemary Retro, which all take inspiration from 1960s and 70s fashion, this aesthetic seems to be making a comeback. With this resurgence in popularity, we’ve put together a brief guide of some of the most memorable looks of the Hippie movement, along with a little tutorial on how to use the hacks for our Ellie dress to make your very own Hippie peasant dress. 

Bell Bottoms

Trousers that flare out from the knee (or from the bottom of the calf) and thus form a bell like shape around the bottom of the leg, bell bottoms were highly popular in the 70s especially and came in a variety of fabrics, with denim (bell bottom jeans) and brightly coloured polyester and velvet being particularly popular choices. Bell bottoms were normally styled with bell or flared sleeve blouses and were worn by women and men alike, to create a relaxed, flowing silhouette which typified the hippie movement. Bell bottoms and similar flared trousers are still highly popular today, especially flared jeans and velvet or velour bell bottoms.

Granny Dress

Characterised by a high neckline and long sleeves, the Granny dress was highly popular amongst Hippies, and was often paired with large, rimless ‘granny’ glasses. Often made in pastel colour or floral printed fabric, the Granny dress was seen as a modest piece of clothing that provided an alternative to the mini dresses that were also very popular at the time, and thus wearing one was considered by many to be a form of rebellion. 


Whilst technically not a garment, the medium of crochet received a massive resurgence in popularity in the 1960s and 70s, as it became, amongst other previously ‘old fashioned’ crafting methods such as tie dye and macramé, repurposed to make clothing. Crochet bralettes were popular, as were cardigans, jumpers, vests and even dresses, with crochet experiencing a similar rise in popularity today as a largely favoured lockdown craft. 

Peasant Dress

A long flowing dress that was popular in a variety of prints, colours and fabrics, the peasant dress is similar in style to the Granny dress with its long skirt and sleeves, however was much more indicative of the Woodstock era festival fashion that had its renaissance in the 1960s and 70s. Characterised by a tiered skirt and often puff or flared sleeves, the peasant dress was the favoured look for the ‘Summer of Love’, often coming in floral prints or in white cottons with embroidered detail. Indicative of what we would call ‘boho’ fashion, peasant dresses (and peasant blouses) remain popular today, coming in a whole host of lengths, sleeve styles, colours and prints.

Want to make your very own Hippie inspired peasant dress? Then why not try our Ellie dress pattern! Whilst originally a pattern for a cute smock dress or button up top, with our Ellie pattern hack you can add a tiered skirt and gathered sleeves to your Ellie to create a stunning peasant dress! If you want flared, puff or balloon sleeves instead to add that extra 1960s/70s element, then check out our Statement Sleeves eBook that shows you how to transform your garments with a variety of different sleeve styles! 

Not sure what fabric to make your Ellie peasant dress in? Check out our recommended, retro inspired fabrics below:

Butterscotch Retro Daisies Cotton from Grid Fabrics

Floral Scatter on Tomato Fabric from Fashion Formula UK on Etsy

Cotton Cretonne Paisley from My Fabrics

Header Image Credit: Getty Images

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