Summer classics: the hippie girl dress

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I love a good hippie girl dress in the summertime, and I think the key to pulling them off without actually looking like a hippie girl—at least for me—is to keep accessories minimal, and to pull back you hair, if it’s on the longer side, into a neat little twist. For some reason, all the good ones cost more than I feel they should, but I found this clean-lined stunner marked down at Net a Porter (where they’re having a pretty good sale at the moment).

This pretty frock is from the in-house line at a boutique I love called Matta, which conveniently has locations not far from where I live both in Manhattan and Sag Harbor, so they literally catch me coming and going.

I love black and gold; it’s dramatic without being too much. And this just looks so breezy and comfortable.

I’m not crazy about how this Free People dress is styled, but I do think the embroidery at the neckline is a nice touch.

This strikes me as very versatile and even office-worthy, depending on the vibe of your particular office.

This silk number is about as sophisticated as a hippie girl dress gets.

All the black at the top makes this a pretty refined choice as well.

And finally: a cute little sundress from Ulla Johnson. If this strikes you as too bare, throw it on with a lightweight cotton cardigan.

 

 

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25 Thoughts on Summer classics: the hippie girl dress
    lola
    29 May 2019
    10:18am

    I want every one of these to work for me but I am having the hardest time finding dresses this year. I am 5’1″ with big boobs and EVERYTHING is so so long and super voluminous – too much material and the prints are just too big for my frame, even when ordering Petite. J.Crew and Banana apparently think everyone who is petite is also 96 lbs., so a 4 or a 6 is like a size 2. I’ve tried everywhere from Saks to Target. I never felt so short in my life.

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      D.Morgendorffer
      29 May 2019
      12:07pm

      As a 5’3″ DD cup, I can find it awkward with the sizing so I can only imagine how tough it can be at 5’1″. A WONDERFUL commenter here shared a kaftan maker on Etsy called mommyrobeclothing. She offers different lengths for different heights. When you go to look at an individual item, there is to the side, “More On This Item”. Click on it and she lists in inches the different lengths for different heights. Her specialty is using hand blocked prints so keep an eye out for that being mentioned in the more on this item section. If you do order one, be sure you get it with pockets. You can fit a cell phone in her pockets and the placement means you never sit on your phone. It takes about 3-4 weeks to get to you after ordering. I can never find the comment thread to figure out who originally mentioned this. So, if you’re reading this, thank you again, kind, wise woman.

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        Lola
        29 May 2019
        5:07pm

        That’s awesome, thanks! I will check it out.

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      Alexa
      29 May 2019
      6:34pm

      I learned the hard way to automatically buy a size up in J. Crew petites. I know your struggle.

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    Jax
    30 May 2019
    11:31am

    My very pretty mother had a hippie / boho / Indian cotton dress phase. It was esp. strong during a summer trip to Paris in the early 80s. We met up with their friends, another couple, and the woman friend also wore these dresses. They went crazy buying more in the street markets and shops in Paris.
    Anyway, this post brings good memories back. A lot of these look like their dresses.

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    Joannawnyc
    29 May 2019
    11:00am

    I love a boho dress! I am so sad I got rid of the ones I had in college (htought tbh they would probably look terrible by now)

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    y.k.
    29 May 2019
    10:44am

    I could never pull off a Hippie girl dress, although I love that look on others. It looks costume-y on me.
    Also curious- how would YOU style that Free People dress?? I ask b/c i can’t see any other way!

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      Kim France
      29 May 2019
      3:26pm

      I’d wear flat sandals, and switch the choker out for a simple gold pendant, or wear no jewelry at all.

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        y.k.
        30 May 2019
        12:12am

        thank you! yes, i can see how that would take the costume-yness out of the look. i usually think carly simon w/ the floppy hat (on the cover of what album…) when i see a hippie dress.

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    Mimi
    29 May 2019
    10:33am

    Well, I guess since you recently did a preppy post it’s only fair to showcase the antithesis. So now everyone should be happy and ready for summer. 🙂

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      Rae
      29 May 2019
      11:02am

      Here in New England, at least my group of friends growing up in the ’80’s & ’90’s, hippie dresses & tops ARE part of the preppy uniform. They would be styled just as Kim mentioned: clean, neat hair, simple shoes, un-showy bag. They are perfect to wear to and post beach / farmer’s market etc. For preppy tomboy me they are my dress of choice in the summer.

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        Alexa
        29 May 2019
        6:40pm

        Oh yes! I’m wearing an Indian-print tee in my Very Preppy Prep School yearbook: )
        Btw, Kim, your recent post on The Preppy Handbook was too much for me..maybe a book unto itself: an ambitious, driven, first-generation father, and a “humor” book he took deadly seriously. Three, four decades on, I’m still not really laughing…Damn you, Preppy Handbook!!!😂😂😂

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      Mimi
      29 May 2019
      10:48am

      Blame it on multitasking: I meant to also pose the question of whether the same woman can be tailored one day and boho the next. Must consistency be an element of personal style?

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        Mamavalveeta03
        29 May 2019
        3:53pm

        Personally, I wear what I love, rather than having a consistent across-the-board style MO. I love striped tees and slouchy jeans one day, a caftan or peasant blouse and distressed jeans another day, and a button down shirt with cargo pants yet another. Short answer: No.

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    Christine
    30 May 2019
    11:55am

    Sigh. A good reminder to look at Net a Porter more often. By the time I see your recommendations, anything my size is long gone.

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    Maggie
    29 May 2019
    8:14am

    Wow, when did hippie dresses become so expensive?!! I love them, but I remember when you could buy the same dresses in Providence vintage (R.I.P. Foreign Affair) or head shops for $30. A reminder to myself not to get rid of my clothes, I guess.

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      Laurel
      29 May 2019
      6:49pm

      I think you still can? Just gotta find a headshop or a hippie festival. The cheap ones aren’t online…

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    c.w.
    29 May 2019
    8:28am

    I have always shied away from the Hippie Girl dress since I am so much from that “original” era so it’s always felt like I was trying to recapture my youth. However, several of these dresses have a more modern take that I believe I could pull off––particularly the black and gold since it is “tunic” length which means it’s pretty much dress length on me. Also the black with red SEA dress which is short on the model would probably be juussst about right on me. I need a new dress for summer, right?

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    Mary
    29 May 2019
    8:56am

    I’ve never actually owned a hippie girl dress – closest I’ve come is a hippie girl blouse. I have a heck of a time finding summer clothes that are both stylish and good for the heat but some of these dresses might accomplish both!

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    Lorange
    29 May 2019
    6:52pm

    So… when you already look a little hippie-ish, how do you style this to look cool instead of just hippie? Like, do I need to straighten my hair? Wear winged eyeliner? (For reference, I let my wavy hair air dry, have a lot of hoops in my ears and keep my makeup pretty simple. I look like somebody who listens to NPR and wears birkenstocks and could explain what permaculture is or I dunno, lead a chakra meditation.) Maybe some of this is coastal? (I’m on the West coast, home of many a hippie.)

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      Viajera
      30 May 2019
      11:45am

      Hippies *are* cool.

      Your question is an interesting one though and I know just what you mean. (Though imo straightening one’s hair just to wear an outfit seems like going a lot out of one’s way.) I can’t ever wear biker jackets for a similar reason – I wear glasses, also don’t straighten my hair, am unhappily large up top, and for some reason, all of that together reads differently oriented, which is fine if one is, but I’m not. I think it’s the hardware, the zippers and such, with the glasses. It all just gets to be too much.

      I think the easiest thing is to just stick to a hippie girl tunic, rather than a dress, and wear cute jeans or pants under it. And cute sandals, and paint your toenails. That should confuse people adequately.

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        Viajera
        30 May 2019
        11:46am

        oh, when I say “cute” pants/jeans, I just mean something simple. Solid color probably, too.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    29 May 2019
    3:37pm

    I LOVE a good hippie dress and these are ALL good hippie dresses! I saw the black and gold one by Spell & The Gypsy at a new shop in Montauk (upstairs from Plaza Sports) and it is beautiful.

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      c.w.
      29 May 2019
      8:39pm

      Ooooooo, let’s go “window” shopping! We need a good GOACA-summer-is-here meet-up (even though it is fifty-something-and-pouring-rain-outside!).

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        Alexa
        29 May 2019
        8:47pm

        I’m in!

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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