1970s in fashion

Early to Mid 1970s

The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s. Jeans remained frayed, and the Tie dye was still popular. In the autumn of 1970, ankle length dresses called maxis made a brief appearance. These were topped by fitted coats of the same length. The space-age look was on the wane, though tunics and Indian fabrics continued to be popular. Jeans rises shrunk to 4 inches or even less as "hip huggers" with "bell-bottoms" became the height of denim fashion. Altering the appearance of jeans with bleach and tie-dye techniques, embroidery, and metal studs was popular as well. Polyester "doubleknit" fabric was coming into its own, with many clothing items for men and women being produced in this modern easy-care fabric.By the mid-Seventies, as the economy improved, silhouettes narrowed, and hemlines dropped again from mini skirt to just below the knee, and later to midi (mid-calf length) and maxi (ankle length), with all four lengths enjoying almost equal popularity.

In Britain and the urban United States, from 1972-1974, fashions were inspired by extravagantly-dressed glam rock stars such as David Bowie and Roxy Music. Glitter was in vogue. Women wore high-waisted, flared satin trousers or denims, the latter usually decorated with rhinestones, tight lurex halter tops, bright lamé or antique velvet dresses, whose hemlines normally ended just below the knee, satin hot pants, sequined bra tops, and occasionally they wore ostrich- feather boas draped over their shoulders or turbans on their heads. The 1930s and 1940s look was also popular, and many women bought their clothes at second-hand shops. The short, imitaion rabbit-fur jacket was a hot fashion item during this period. Make-up was garish and glittery, with eyebrows thinly plucked. Bianca Jagger, who sometimes used an ivory walking stick and carried a cigarette- holder, was a fashion icon. The men often wore lamé suits, silver astronaut-style outfits, wide-legged denims, and rhinestone-studded shirts. Their hair was long and layered, or spiky and multi-coloured.Platform shoes with soles 2-4 inches thick became the style for both men and women. Men's ties broadened and became more colorful, as did dress shirt collars and suit jacket lapels.

Another trend for both sexes was the fitted blazer, which flared slightly at the hip. It came in a variety of fabrics, including wool, velvet, suede, and leather. The buttons were covered and the lapels wide.

For teenage girls and young women the crop top was often worn, sometimes with a halter neck or else tied in a knot above the midriff.

By the mid-1970s hip-huggers were gone, replaced by the high-waisted jeans and trousers with wide, flared legs. These lasted until the end of the decade when the straight, cigarette-leg jeans came into vogue.

In Britain and Ireland, in the mid-1970s, there was the bootboy subculture which influenced youthful male attire with the "parallel jeans", which were flared jeans that stopped at mid-calf. These were worn with heavy "bovver" boots, and denim jackets. Their hair was usually worn long.

The wrinkled look for women enjoyed a brief vogue in 1975, as did flared denim skirts which ended just below the knee. Trendy colours were dusty rose, Prussian blue, rust, and brown.

Fashion influences were peasant clothing, such as blouses with laces or off-the-shoulder necklines, inspired by those worn in the 17th century. Yves St Laurent introduced the peasant look in 1976, and it became very influential. Skirts were gathered into tiers and shoulderlines dropped. Camisoles were worn. Clothing became very unstructured and fluid at this point. Embroidered clothing, either self-made or imported from Mexico or India also enjoyed favour. Fake-flower chokers and hair combs were often worn with the peasant skirts. In 1977, the ruffled sundress coupled with a tight t-shirt worn underneath enjoyed a brief popularity. Short skirts had been popular for a long time already, since Mary Quant introduced them in 1966.

Late 1970s

With the popularization of disco and the increasing availability and diversity of man-made fabrics, a drastic change occurred in mainstream fashion, the likes of which had not been seen since the 1920s. All styles of clothing were affected by the disco style, especially those of men. Men began to wear stylish three-piece suits (which became available in a bewildering variety of colors) which were characterized by wide lapels, wide legged or flared trousers, and high-rise vests. Neckties became wider and bolder, and shirt collars became long and pointed in a style reminiscent of the "Barrymore" collar that had been popular in the 1920s. The zippered jumpsuit was popular with both men and women, and clothing inspired by modern dance (wrap-around skirts and dresses of nylon or polyester knit) also became common. Neck-scarves were also used. Skin-tight Spandex trousers, tube tops, and slit skirts were popular for a while at the very end of the decade. In 1978, there was a brief craze for transparent plastic trousers worn with leotards underneath. Silk blouses, and shirt-waist dresses were also worn. Women's shoes began to echo the 1940s, with high-heeled lower-platform mules--"Candies" made of molded plastic with a single leather strap over the ball of the foot or "BareTraps" made of wood becoming very popular. With the demise of disco late in 1979, these styles (which were by then being criticized as flamboyant) quickly went out of fashion. Designer jeans with straight, cigarette-legs, and painters' pants then started to come into style.

The top fashion models of the 1970s were Lauren Hutton, Margaux Hemingway, Cheryl Tiegs, and Jerry Hall.

Custom T-Shirts / Baseball Jerseys

Short-sleeved t-shirts of various colors personalized with iron-on decal illustrations or appliquéd letters spelling a name or message were very popular among teen and pre-teen boys in the U.S. during the late 70s. It was also the trend for teenagers and young men to carry a pack of cigarettes under the sleeve. Also popular were baseball jerseys or "baseball sleeves" (white shirts with colored sleeves worn under baseball uniform shirts). These were worn plain or with appliquéd pictures or words, as described above.

olivia loved the 70's she had a fantastic time

One-Piece Swimsuits

American actress Farrah Fawcett, who starred in the late 1970s programme Charlie's Angels was a sex symbol for that time period. Her poster that sold millions, featured the actress with her long mane of streaked-blonde hair, perfect white teeth, and wearing a one-piece swimsuit that launched the trend for the maillot, which was, when it resurged in the 1970s, a sexy, tight swimsuit, with deep neckline and high-cut legs, worn by young women and girls in the latter half of the decade.

Three-Piece Suits

The 1970s saw a return to three-piece suits (suits with matching vests), worn with the wide-collar shirts carried over from the 1960s. Sometimes these were worn without ties as dance-club wear, or even in just a vest and jacket combination as depicted in the film Saturday Night Fever. As formal wear, however, the three-piece slowly died out in the early 1980s, by which time the outfit had come to be associated with lawyers. Fact|date=April 2008


Punk as a style originated from London from the designer Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren. Postmodernist and iconoclastic in essence, this movement was a direct reaction to the economic situation during the economic depression of the period. Punk had at its heart a manifesto of creation through disorder. Safety pins became nose and ear jewellery, rubber fetishwear was subverted to become daywear, and images of mass murderers, rapists, and criminals were elevated to iconographic status.

Punk fashion can be traced to the ripped jeans, torn t-shirts, scrappy haircuts, and worn and torn leather jackets sported by members of the Sex Pistols. When they released "Anarchy in the UK" in 1976,The Sex Pistols were dressed by Malcolm McLaren, their manager, who owned a clothes store called "Let It Rock" in the Kings Road, Chelsea area of London. These styles can be traced back further to New York artists at the Andy Warhol Factory or bands such as the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith Group or New York Dolls. By the 1980s, punk fashion and punk bands had shown up in cities across the world. There was a Do It Yourself quality to the fashion. Some small elements that spoke of a person's punk roots were safety pins, black PVC or tartan bondage trousers, leopard-print t-shirts, mohawk, spikes or harshly dyed hair, filthy tennis-shoes, or pointy Beatle boots. There is an element of a makeshift, thrown together look and a sense of poverty


Cosmetics in the 1970s reflected the contradictory roles ascribed to the modern woman.De Castelbajac, p147-48.] For the first time since 1900, make-up was chosen situationally, rather than in response to monolithic trends. The era's two primary visions were the daytime "natural look" presented by American designers and "Cosmopolitan" magazine, and the evening aesthetic of sexualized glamor presented by European designers and fashion photographers. In the periphery, punk and glam were also influential. The struggling cosmetics industry attempted to make a comeback, using new marketing and manufacturing practices.

External links

* [http://www.fashion-era.com/1970s.htm 1970s Fashion History]
* [http://www.costumegallery.com/1970.htm 20th Century Fashion History: 1970s]
* [http://www.DressThatMan.com/ Men's Fashion History from the 1970s]
* [http://www.aperfectworld.org/sears.htm It Came from the 1971 Sears Catalog]
* [http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/museum/collections/online/Results.cfm?ParentID=378553 Children's clothing from the 1970s]


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