Sunday is Jimi Hendrix’s birthday, and were he alive today, he would be turning 74! Let’s take a look at the life of this extraordinary talent – and his iconic look, which any hippy can rock with a few simple wardrobe updates …
“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimi Hendrix
Perhaps most famous of all Jimi’s performances was his scathing rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock festival almost 50 years ago.
Rewind to 1969 – year of the moon landings, The Beatles’ last album and Woodstock – arguably the most influential music event of all time. Janis Joplin, Santana, The Grateful Dead, The Who and of course Jimi Hendrix are among the line-up. It is the peak of hippydom: ‘3 Days of Peace and Music’ that takes place while the Vietnam War – one of the longest wars in history – rages on. And Jimi is about to perform his musical protest.
The former US Army Paratrooper debated whether to play the American national anthem at all. Jimi’s manager feared it could start a riot. As one journalist wrote, “Jimi Hendrix could get more out of an electric guitar than anyone else. He was the ultimate guitar player.” And he was about to prove it.
“The August 17 performance, which lasted just under five minutes, featured Hendrix manipulating his guitar’s sound by employing distortion and whammy-bar techniques. The end result was a remarkably realistic imitation of several war sounds, including machine gunfire and explosions. Just over halfway through the performance, Hendrix briefly plays the “Taps,” which is what the American Military plays during an honorary burial.”
You can watch it here.
Although he died at just 27 years old, Jimi Hendrix still stands as probably the greatest guitar player of all time, a hippy icon and an advocate for peace, love and freedom. And, given his background and beliefs, it’s no wonder that he was known for wearing military-style jackets, which he subverted with his own iconic take on hippy clothing.
His look has been described as a ‘sartorial acid trip’, and his outfits often included psychedelic colours and eyewatering prints. Hendrix often teamed tight-at-the-top flares with a flouncy shirt and one of his military jackets. Or, his hippy festival clothing might be a fringed jacket over bellbottoms, accessorised with a headscarf and chunky costume jewellery. Jimi was never far from a cool hat, roguish scarf or string of bright beads, and his style was completely androgynous, so both hippy dudes and dudettes can emulate his look.
Here are our top pics for a Hendrix inspired outfit:
1. Multicoloured Cotton Tie Dye Hippy Flared Bell Bottom Trousers – these trousers are sure to turn heads! Unlike the spray-on effect flares of the 60s and 70s which were ultra-tight up top and free-flowing from the knee down, our flares and bell bottom trousers are a good deal comfier and more flattering, though just as funky – if not more so!
2. Colourful pashminas and scarves – a little like towels in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, pashminas and scarves are just about the most important thing a hippy can own. Especially our soft feel cashmilon scarves that double up as blankets and come in a range of bright colours. During Woodstock, heaps of hippies were photographed simply wearing a blanket draped around their shoulders – this is because they’re warm, comforting and essential, even for today’s festivalgoers.
3. When it comes to hippy hats, we’ve got you covered with a range of shapes and funky colours. Hendrix was a fan of rimmed hats with colourful bands, as well as bright headscarves. We think one of our Thai Cotton Rimmed Hats with multicolour patterns would do nicely.
4. Last but not least, we’d tip our hats to this icon of bohemian style with an awesome hippy waistcoat. Jimi often wore a waistcoat over a flouncy shirt in a clashing colour, or a tie dye shirt, or sometimes under his trademark military style jacket. We think our waistcoats, like this Nepalese Green Printed Hippy Waistcoat, are just as versatile.