In fashion this year we are seeing a return to some of the hippie trends of our past. Maybe after all the restrictions and shutdowns and social turmoil, we’re longing for the freedom and hope we felt in the 60s that was reflected in the clothing we wore back then.
Some of the new trends are very reminiscent of those times. In fact, some are almost knock offs of what we wore.
These new-old items include embroidered jackets, jeans, dresses, and blouses plus woven or macramé belts. We can expect to see more of them in the stores in the coming months.
It’s an artsy, ethnic, bohemian style in general, and that often works best on women who have a great deal of the Natural and Dramatic style archetype. One example of that type of woman is the Lili Tomlin character in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie.
Still, some of the newer ways to incorporate these trends will work for many of us, regardless of how laid-back or “natural” our style is. And you don’t have to have flowers woven in your hair to make them work. (Most of us don’t have as much or as long hair as we did back then anyway!)
Because it is a more ethnic look, you’re going to find a lot of these items in catalogs and stores that feature hand-made looking fashion. Some of those include places like Peruvian Connection, Anthropologie, Johnny Was, CHICO’S, and Sundance. In the above video I’ve shared some images.
One area where we’re seeing a lot of embroideries now is on jeans. You will see almost exact replicas of things we wore in the form of flared leg embellished jeans.
Except, on a woman who is taller, trim, and slightly Dramatic in style (I’m envisioning a socialite who maybe vacations in the Bahamas or Monaco) these might look like one of those “tries-too-hard” outfits.
You don’t want to appear as though you’re hanging on to or attempting to recapture your lost youth. So tread carefully in this direction.
Still, a little bit of embellishment on a pair of jeans can be quite charming. And if they are straight or narrow legged ones, they will have more longevity than the very flared throwback versions.
And of course, where there are embroidered jeans, you will also find embroidered jeans jackets. They are available at all price points and with varying amounts of embroidery. They can have a few artistically placed images or just have a more elaborate design on the back.
There are a couple of themes in this category. One is the peasant-type blouse, an ethnic theme that is often found in carefree summer-type tops that remind us of the Caribbean or Mediterranean cultures. These can be very similar to, if not outright direct knock offs of, those looks.
The only thing to be careful about is to avoid too many tiny flowers and pintucking. Those are both very youthful elements. Pintucking around a neckline or the upper torso can exaggerate the size of the bust.
The other theme is the embellished tunic or jacket. Some of these are true art pieces. You’ll also find them in velvet or burn-out velvet textiles. (I think of the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix when I see some of them.)
They can be extremely elegant worn over a simple tank or even with jeans, or as layering top for a celebratory event, once we can actually celebrate together again.
Just as with the ethnic-type blouses, there are a lot of embroidered shifts and caftans. The key is to avoid those that, as with the blouse tops, might be a little “busy.” An all-over embroidered garment is a real statement and work in a longer garment. But you never want a pattern, feature, or trim to upstage you.
Also, as with print patterns, smaller embroidered florals will work fine for someone who has a lot of the Youthful style archetype in their features: rounder cheeks, button nose, large, wider-set eyes. (Those are facial features that can carry off more playful elements regardless of age.)
But for the rest of us, smaller florals might look a little too, well, youthful. Geometric designs or fewer, larger florals strategically placed can be a sophisticated look for this type of dress.
Many of my readers have complained that a lot of tops – even in the winter – are sleeveless or short-sleeved. Neither of those is typically flattering to a lot of older women. One of the great advantages of these embroidered dresses and tops is that the sleeves are usually elbow length or three-quarter length, both of which are flattering to most women.
In those bygone days, we may have worn macramé or woven belts, slung low on our hips, over a pair of very low-rise jeans or a long, flowing skirt. But nevermore! I don’t know of a single woman over 60 who is interested in repeating that look.
Age and childbirth have pretty much eliminated the allure. Besides, a lot of us don’t really like to show a lot of skin, especially not around the tummy area.
So, to bring this concept more fashion forward, instead of wearing a leather belt with your mid or higher rise jeans, pair them with one of the lovely new woven or macramé belts, letting the ends fall loose. They will bring an element of softness and femininity to a jean outfit.
If you want to create a waistline, or don’t mind emphasizing your waist, another way to play with these woven belts is to wear them with a neutral toned un-patterned garment, such as a long sheath, a mono-color skirt and top combination, or a button-down long topper-style coat.
They can be real statements in their own right, or an embellishment that will make that simple outfit or a pair of jeans more current. And if you are clever with craft-type things, they are fairly easy to make.
As I always remind my clients, whenever you see a repeat of something from decades past there will usually be a slight change, something that brings it a bit more fashion forward.
So, keep in mind these questions: where are you going and what do you want to convey, how do you want to be perceived? If revisiting this hippie trend makes you feel visible and empowered, go for it!
Would you wear embroidered blouses or dresses? Would you swap out your leather belt for a woven one instead? Do you already? Do you still own anything vintage in this style? Please share with our sisters!