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Polar Opposite 70’s Fashion

November 27th is seen as the day that two iconic artists, Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix were born. Both men went down in history as legends from Seattle.

Hendrix was a Seattle boy from start to end – he was born there, got his first guitar there, started his music there and was buried there too. Lee, however, was a Cali boy to start with, moved to Hong Kong and eventually moved to Seattle to start his martial arts academy. Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee also attended the same high-school – Garfield H.S. Seattle, WA.

Both artists, born on the same day but atrociously different in style and personality. Does this defy the popular astrology and sun-sign theories? The next few paragraphs explore their varied styles.

Bruce Lee’s seldom wore clothes that stood out, he was the subtle kind. He dressed in a white, round-necked T-shirt with three buttons in the front. This iconic look in the 1970’s made ‘The Lee Kung Man T-shirt’ – a humble, lightweight undershirt, famous around the world. This sought-after cotton garment was made in Hong Kong by Lee Kung Man – a media-shy company founded in Canton. The fabric is soft, seamless, durable and perfect for an athlete.

When it comes to Lee, the choices of his clothing are white, white or white, white with long sleeves or white with no sleeves – quite literally.

“I wear their T-shirts all the time. They are so thin,” he says, describing the fabric used for the garments as “mercerized cotton”, which is produced by treating raw cotton with caustic soda, making it shrink, become more hard-wearing and gain a silk-like texture. “The material is super absorbent so that when you sweat, it evaporates just like that. It’s better than those hi-tech fabrics from Nike. The synthetic fabric is not as good as this cotton.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee’s fashion sense was as subtle and graceful as his martial art movements.

On the polar side of 70’s fashion, we have ourselves, Jimi Hendrix. Not only legendary for his guitar skills but legendary with his hypnotizing style. Some say he dressed like an abstract painting. Nothing jars on him, nothing clashes, nothing looks out of place, he managed to make it all work. If anyone needs tips on dressing in colour? Hendrix was the man to speak to. He’d casually put on a baroque print shirt and magenta cord flares, slung on with a 19th-century military jacket and he’d look flawless. He was one of the driving forces to turn chinos into a 70’s statement by layering them with belly-dancing jewellery and using scarves as belts. Does it get more innovative?

Hendrix was a guitar wunderkind and a custom clothing junkie – his hallmarked style originated from Army & Navy store, embellished with buttons and embroidered flowers cut up from Indian and Mexican shawls. His dressing ranged from dapper to flamboyant with an affinity towards layering, fringes, ruffles, billowy fabrics and contrasting prints. Some of the boutiques in London he bought his clothing from were I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet and Granny Takes A Trip in London.

Jimi Hendrix’s fashion demanded just as much attention as his music.

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