They don't make them like they used to
Many people are still keen on retro fashions and there are specialist suppliers for these clothes and styles, but I still have a couple of items that are some 40-years old. I was recently at my father's house in Wales where I discovered that I had left a flower power tie that I once bought in Woolworths and a Fairisle tank top jumper I bought in a Cardiff boutique.
Amazingly these articles of fashionable hippy-style 60s clothing are still in excellent condition although they have been much-worn in the past.
My retro gear - a flower power tie and a Fairisle tank top
1960s hippie fashions and retro clothing such as flared trousers, kaftans, and tie-die t-shirts are still popular today.
They don't make them like they used to
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I remember buying the colourful tank top in a boutique called Chessmen that used to be in the Castle Arcade in Cardiff. I know it was 1969 because I wore it when I went to my first Isle of Wight festival and I was 16 then. I seem to remember having seen Marc Bolan of Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing a brightly-coloured tank top too and he was and is one of my musical heroes.
All the big shops were capitalising on the 60s fashions and brought out their own versions of flower power shirts and ties and flared trousers. The tie I still have was bought in Woolworths, a chain store that has now recently closed.
I had a few more and some more excellent shirts and I remember wearing them to work at my first job as a sales officer for the Post Office's Telephone House. The job didn't last but the clothes have!
Fairisle Tank-top jumper 1969
Bard of Ely models his retro clothing
Fairisle tank-top and floral tie
Tyrannaosaurus Rex and then T Rex
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I once had some tartan loons too just like Roy Wood of The Move and Wizzard fame was sporting, and once I really got mistaken for him when I was sat having a drink in the Cardiff Student Union bar. Some guy thought I was the famous singer but I could see the resemblance as both of us had very big masses of hair, full beards and were wearing tartan loons. Roy Wood had supposed to be playing in Cardiff at the time too.
Many years later I won a best-dressed sixties and seventies fashion night with the same trousers. Eventually they wore through in places but they had a great run.
I remember I had a two-tone zipped front Budgie jacket I loved too that had maroon shoulders and collar and the rest of it was a dark emerald green but with pockets the same colour as the top part.
I also remember some platform shoes with a red toecap, and blue and yellow leather panels to make the rest of them. I used to love all the colourful clothes that were around then.
I would still wear any of this stuff now if I could. I would love another two-tone Budgie jacket!
Stripey high school blazers were another item we used to enjoy. I remember I had a dark-green and white candy-striped one, not because it was from a school I had been to but because I liked it. There was something very subversive about wearing school uniform clothes out of school and mixed in with outrageous hippy gear and long hair and beards.
I swapped the blazer with Chris (CJ) Stone when I first met him. He gave me a dark serge prisoner's jacket. Not because he had been an inmate but because it was making a fashion statement and a political one as well. Chris went on to become a successful author and journalist and has written a lot about the 1960s counterculture with books like Fierce Dancing and The Last of the Hippies.
CJ Stone's Fierce Dancing
Author of Last of the Hippies
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I remember too that ex-military great coats were a hippy fashion and I had several over the years but the best of all was a dark navy coat with big silvery buttons with NFS on them that stood for National Fire Service.
You could get these coats quite cheaply at Army and Navy stores and besides making a fashion statement they were a great protection against bad weather.
Tie-dye T-shirts were something else I remember and I used to love making my own. You never really knew how the colours would turn out and it was always exciting seeing the final product you had made. It was creative art you could wear with pride.
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
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