Sunday, June 20, 2010


I was invited up onstage to be an extra in the Hair segment of the girls' recital this weekend. I've already fashioned a costume for Big Little Sister for her dance role in the piece. As an extra, they asked me to also come dressed as a hippie.

In fact, it was kind of issued as a challenge as in, "I can't wait to see what you come up with ..." (pause for pantomiming looking at wristwatch) "... in twelve hours." The invitation came Friday night. The recital was Saturday evening.

I actually had a little more than twelve hours, even if one subtracts time for sleep.

But even better than time, I had materials.


Became this:

... in about an hour, and it didn't cost me a penny.

I've had the jeans for a decade. There's a repaired rip (which you can't see in the pictures) just below the right, back pocket (I know one of the prevalent fashions is to have a hole in the seat of one's pants, but I can't quite feel comfortable showing the world Victoria's Secret ... it is a secret, afterall). They've been cut-offs for a few summers, mostly for around-the-house kinds of days. The house dress was given to us by the neighbor, because she thought we might be able to use it. The lace was given to us by Gar (and was also used in Big Little Sister's Hair costume). I still have the top half of the house dress, and it may become a summer shirt for me or one of the girls. I haven't decided, yet, what to do with it.

I've had a blast making costumes for the girls' recital, and I had even more fun making some retro fashions for myself (I also made a skirt using a $2 piece of fabric and an old pair of jeans).

But more importantly than making the clothes, the process of recreating these styles has got me thinking about what their lives were like, and not just the clothes. The parallels between the much more elaborate 1920's costumes and our current way of life contrasted with the simplicity of the 1960's/1970's fashions is stark.

The Hippie Culture could teach us some valuable lessons, if we are willing to ignore some of the more socially unacceptable behaviors that seem to be the focus of so much of what the hippies stood for. They were also about frugality and non-materialism and living in and for the moment.

I'm reading through the stories in Ina May Gaskin's ground-breaking book Spiritual Midwifery, and she has some important things to say about life and birth and all of the things between when we arrive here on this plane, and when we leave it.

We're heading back to a time very similar to what the world was like when the Hippy Culture was a part of our society, and we would do very well to embrace their philosophies of frugality and non-materialism.

I've noticed a resurgence in interest in the fashion already. We may not be at that point where I'd be wearing a braided scrap-fabric headband or those pants pictured above, but the brown shirt I'm wearing in the picture ... that's mine ... and I wear it ;).

1 comment:

  1. (Okay, I can't resist....) Far out!

    As a member of the former flower child/groovy/peace and love generation, I can honestly say you would fit right in.

    Regarding the frugality of the hippie culture: Unfortunately, yesterday's flower children have grown up to run hedge funds. Maybe their children's children will go back to the "old ways" of the 60's. Then I could be one of the communal "elders". Cool. ;)

    I hope you and your girls have a great time on stage tonight!