by Tom Stratton

Woodstock: The Birth of Festival Fashion

Woodstock has become a byword for peace, love, and music, exactly ...
Woodstock: The Birth of Festival Fashion
Woodstock has become a byword for peace, love, and music, exactly as it intended to do. It was a landmark moment in not only music history but culture and society itself. It defined a generation and became the most lauded and imitated festival in history. 

Music and Fashion

This imitation and lasting influence is still felt even today, a time when there are too many festivals each year to count. If you’ve seen the photos you might be forgiven for thinking nobody took any clothes to Woodstock. But from the performers to the crowds this is where festival fashion started and its impact is still clear today.  
Festivals are now big business, something which retailers have jumped on the back of in a big way. Every major high street retailer will have a ‘festival fashion’ section during festival season or at the very least their lines will change to reflect the coming influx of people searching for bucket hats, tassels, and headbands. 
1969 was the height of the hippy movement and the Summer of Love would be encapsulated into 3 days of music and peace and some of the coolest looks that wouldn’t be out of place on today’s high street. So in tribute to those hippy trailblazers we’ll look at some of the best outfits and looks: ones which you can easily recreate.


As well as being the only person who looks cool playing air-guitar, Joe Cocker was also the most famous person in tie-dye at Woodstock (either him or Janis Joplin, anyway). Certainly not the only person rocking this look, nor would he be today, the only difference being you had to make your own in 1969. Luckily for us tie-dye is everywhere you look, even making its way to some big catwalk shows it’s definitely not just for the festival goer. 

Round Tinted Glasses 

You won’t go to many festivals without seeing a sea of these iconic Janis Joplin glasses. Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead also donned a pair for the festival (in fact Garcia usually had his on wherever he went). Men and women alike can bang a pair of these on and be confident they look great; they suit most face shapes and the coloured tint not only looks good but makes the world that bit rosier.


Granted this lads flowers are a bit extreme but people at a festival absolutely love a floral headdress. Usually one for the women but this guy clearly proves that should change. It was not just about the flowers, as it isn’t today: Hendrix tied a bandana around his head and, like Leeds Fest 50 years later, you couldn’t turn without seeing a native-American inspired headband. 

Big Floppy Hats

Another festival standard, usually paired with those round tinted glasses, was out in force at Woodstock as it is at every festival and high street now. Perfect for those sunny days, hides your hair after a few days of no washing, and look at how cool it looks! It’s the perfect accessory for summer and the festival season. In fact just wear it all year. It really is an absolute classic. 


At a time when most fashions were still fairly formal the Woodstock revellers were certainly not that. Developed for workers originally, the counterculture adopted the classic look. Bell bottoms were out in force, as were straight-cut and bootcut; blue denim was the hippy go-to but if you look at the photos you’ll find all sorts of jeans and denim waistcoats that would absolutely not be out of place at a festival today. 


Everything about Jimi Hendrix’s outfit would slot straight into Glastonbury but just look at those glorious tassels. Fringe is definitely back in, especially around festival season: shirts, jackets, trousers, fringe looks great on anything. Plus it’s fun to swish around while you’re dancing to your favourite band (who am I kidding? It’s just fun to swish it around wherever you are!). Roger Daltrey from The Who also wore a lot of fringe which he certainly enjoyed running around the stage in. 

Macrame and Crochet 

Janis Joplin again, unsurprisingly really: she was an absolute icon in every sense and personified the Woodstock experience. Part of that outlook was originality and how can you do that more successfully than making your own clothes? I don’t know if Janis made this number but homemade macramé and crocheted tops have recently come back into festival fashion: luckily though you can just go out and buy them so you won’t have to spend the year honing your skills. 

Halter Tops, Crop Tops, and Bikinis 

Absolutely scandalous behaviour here! Imagine walking around in just a bikini top? Or a tiny crop top? Well the answer is probably yes, you see them all the time. Not just at festivals, nights out too, they’ve become fairly commonplace but, in 1969, this was certainly not the done thing. To be fair anyone judging was probably far too distracted by all the naked people. The woman here has paired it with two other staple items: the headband and the round glasses. Absolute trailblazer.