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When we think of Jimi Hendrix, his legendary status in the world of music is undeniable. Hits like “Purple Haze” and his iconic Woodstock performance have solidified his place in rock history. However, beyond his musical genius, Hendrix also left an indelible mark on the world of fashion. His unique fashion style and iconic outfits became synonymous with the 1960s counterculture movement and continue to influence fashion trends today.


Born into a modest upbringing, Jimi Hendrix faced the challenges of limited resources during his formative years. The image of a young boy donning holey shoes serves as a poignant reminder of his early struggles. In his quest for self-expression, his first “guitar” was nothing more than a broom, a makeshift instrument that foreshadowed the musical genius that lay within him.

It wasn’t until 1958, at the age of 12, that Jimi received his first real acoustic guitar, a gift from his father. This instrument became the catalyst for his lifelong musical journey and, indirectly, a precursor to his distinctive fashion choices.

Later, as a superstar, Jimi Hendrix’s fashion sense was a meticulously crafted art form. It went beyond mere color interplay; he considered every aspect of the clothes he wore, from shade to shape to texture. One notable example is his brilliant fringed jacket, which not only added a dose of flamboyance but also perfectly complemented his bright flares. Hendrix was extravagant, far ahead of his time. Feather boas, satin shirts and scarves—the guitarist’s style statements were as legendary as his music.

 

Jimi Hendrix as a Fashion Pioneer of the London Scene

 

Jimi Hendrix seamlessly integrated himself into the vibrant London club scene and forged a significant relationship with Kathy Etchingham. Etchingham recalled that Jimi Hendrix had an unmistakable style of his own, which set him apart from the crowd long before it became a trend. Recognizing the pivotal role that clothing played in Hendrix’s image, his manager took charge of curating his distinctive wardrobe. Vintage military jackets, scarves, and luxurious velvet trousers sourced from the famous Portobello Road became staple pieces in his evolving fashion repertoire.

By 1967, Hendrix found himself not only in the spotlight for his music but also for his unparalleled sense of style. During an interview in Belgium in March, he candidly expressed his aversion to the ordinary—ordinary people, mundane fashion choices, and those with ‘nice eyebrows.’ His disdain for conformity was palpable, as he distanced himself from those who dressed predictably.

The influence of Hendrix’s fashion choices was felt far and wide, with fans emulating his distinctive style at his concerts. Astonishingly, some Hendrix fans began to resemble him more closely than Jimi himself, a testament to the indelible mark he left on the world of fashion.

 

Jimi Hendrix Fashion: From Bell-Bottoms to Classic Hussar Jackets

 

Bell-bottoms were a leading fixture of the Sixties bohemian style, primarily embraced by the counterculture youth of the era. Jimi Hendrix stood at the forefront of the wide-leg charge, often pairing bell-bottoms with a puffy blouse, waistcoat, and Western belt. This combination, slightly feminine yet completely revolutionary, marked a significant departure from traditional menswear fashion, and its appeal remains undiminished to this day.

Hendrix’s fondness for Western fashion was evident as well, as he regularly crowned his heavily printed outfits with suede fedoras, effortlessly blending elements of the Old West into his eclectic style.

However, the ultimate hallmark of Jimi Hendrix’s fashion statement was undoubtedly the classic hussar jacket. As a former soldier himself, as a Paratrooper in the army, he invested in an authentic 1850s antique uniform, which he proudly wore both on and off the stage.

The hussar jacket became a symbol of his style evolution and his willingness to challenge conventions. Today, if you’re fortunate enough to find a hussar jacket even half as remarkable, you can honor Jimi Hendrix’s legacy by styling it with a paisley blouse or even embracing the bare-chested look, as Jimi Hendrix fearlessly did.

 

Jimi Hendrix’s Psychedelic Patterns Style

 

Jimi Hendrix’s fashion was a canvas for psychedelic art, reflecting a deep fascination with the prevailing trends of the era. It was a time when the world was abuzz with the psychedelic movement, fueled by the liberating experiences of LSD and the free-spirited “Summer of Love” in 1967. Jimi Hendrix’s music, particularly his iconic albums like “Are You Experienced,” was the perfect soundtrack to this era, and his fashion choices were a seamless extension of that artistic communion.

He had a pronounced penchant for attire crafted from vibrant chiffons, adorned with paisley prints, and textured brocades. These intricate choices in fabric and patterns not only mirrored the hallucinogenic experience of the ’60s but also showcased Jimi Hendrix’s daring and experimental approach to fashion. His wardrobe was a reflection of the era’s vibrant counter-culture, where artistic exploration and self-expression took center stage.

 

Jimi Hendrix’s Kimono-Inspired Style Clothing

 

Among the kaleidoscope of fashion choices that defined Jimi Hendrix’s iconic style, kimonos held a special place. These traditional Japanese garments, characterized by their flowing silhouettes and intricate designs, found an unexpected but compelling home in Jimi Hendrix’s wardrobe. He fearlessly embraced kimonos as a part of his eclectic attire, often pairing them with contrasting elements like luxurious velvet pants. This fusion of Eastern and Western influences not only highlighted his bold fashion sense but also underscored the eclectic and transcultural spirit of the 1960s.

Hendrix’s silk kimono and velvet pants, now part of the Museum of Pop Culture’s permanent collection, have a storied history. He donned these striking garments at significant moments in his career and during the peak of the psychedelic era. On June 22, 1969, at the Newport Pop Festival in Costa Mesa, and again on The Dick Cavett Show on September 8, 1969, Hendrix mesmerized audiences with his music while clad in this distinctive attire.

The kimono also made appearances during Woodstock rehearsals in upstate New York in August 1969. Similarly, the velvet pants graced the stage at the Northern California Folk-Rock Festival in San Jose on May 25, 1969, and the iconic Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in Bethel, New York, on August 18, 1969.

 

Jimi Hendrix’s Clownish Misadventure

 

Jimi Hendrix’s sartorial choices were equally attention-grabbing off-stage. Charles R. Cross, a biographer of Jimi Hendrix and the author of “Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix,” recounts a memorable incident from their time in Liverpool. Jimi Hendrix and fellow band member Noel Redding decided to visit a local pub for a drink between sets, dressed in their unmistakable Experience-inspired attire. To their surprise, the bartender refused to serve them, initially raising suspicions of racism in Jimi’s mind.

When Jimi Hendrix asked, “Is it because I am black.” “It has nothing to do with your race,” he said. “We do not want your kind in here. The sign outside is clear about it.” Puzzled, Noel stepped outside to investigate and found a sign on the door stating, “It says clowns will not be served.” As it turned out, a clown convention was in town, and due to their rowdy behavior in pubs, the pub owner had imposed a ban on serving them.

In an ironic twist, it appeared that Jimi and Noel’s distinctive appearances—abundant afros, brightly colored bloused shirts, and bell-bottom pants—had led the bartender to mistakenly assume they were clowns. Jimi Hendrix’s outfits always commanded attention, but perhaps this was the only occasion they were mistaken for clown costumes.

 

Jimi Hendrix’s Personal Fashion Designers and Advisers

 

Among the designers who shared a special connection with Jimi Hendrix was Colette Mimram, a boutique owner from New York who happened to be acquainted with Devon Wilson, Jimi’s girlfriend at the time. Mimram recognized Jimi’s innate sense of color combinations and fabric choices, attributing his talent for creating stylish and unconventional pairings.

As she worked on crafting Jimi’s clothes, Mimram developed a close friendship with the iconic musician. Hailing from Morocco, she accompanied Jimi on his journeys across the country in mid-1969, further cementing their bond.

During the period from 1968 to 1970, Jimi Hendrix collaborated with Michael Braun and Toni Ackerman, the creative minds behind Michael and Toni Design, a fashion company. Notably, they also designed clothing for other flamboyant musicians, including Sly Stone, Aerosmith, and Sonny and Cher.

Reflecting on the experience of designing for Jimi Hendrix, Braun remarked, “If you’re making clothes for Jimi Hendrix, it’s like making clothes for God.” The designing duo was captivated by Jimi’s preference for top-of-the-line materials that often had a greater appeal to women than men. He had a particular fondness for silk chiffon, which he often used for his shirts. The long ruffles on the sleeves, which Jimi affectionately referred to as “witch sleeves” or “wizard sleeves,” added an extra layer of mystique to his enigmatic fashion choices.

Much like the youth of the sixties, Jimi Hendrix’s outfits were a bold departure from the norm, embodying the spirit of counterculture with a flamboyant and daring edge.

 

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Jimi Hendrix Outfit for the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival

 

 

Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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Lyric
Lyric
2 months ago

This is wonderful. I used a picture of Jimi in purple in my blog– and credited you! Here is the link to it.

Lyric
Lyric
2 months ago
Reply to  Lyric