It’s an understatement to say that the 70s fashion styles were a bit far out.
But for those of us who wore them, they were the ultimate in groovy fashion!
Wild prints, shoes that added 5 inches to your height, polyester suits, short shorts that left little to the imagination, and skirts in three distinctly different lengths were just part of the 70s fashion fare. Indeed, the 70s had it all!
Though some 70s fashion trends carried over from the 1960s, including bell bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts, many new styles were distinctly 70s.
And those of us who grew up during the era took our cues from those we saw on both the little screen and the big screen. Every teen wanted a mini dress like Marcia Brady’s and young men admired John Travolta’s gleaming white three-piece Saturday Night Fever suit. Nothing was too gaudy for the 70s!
While the mini skirt of the 1960s was still ultra-popular in the following decade, women who didn’t want to sport their legs now had more choices that still allowed them to look fashionable.
Dresses and skirts now came in three lengths – the traditional mini, the new midi – which landed between the knee and the ankle, and the maxi, which reached to the floor.
Coats came in the same lengths so that women could coordinate their outfits. Maxi skirts and long “granny” dresses were especially popular for formal events.
The granny dresses were often paired with chokers bearing cameos for the Victorian look that became quite popular during the 70s.
For both men and women, bell bottoms were still easy to find on the racks of the most popular stores.
However, the ladies also sported “hip huggers”, jeans that sat several inches below the normal waistline. These jeans or “dungarees” were often astoundingly tight and their owners were eager to decorate them with embroidery or studs and may have even bleached them to vary the color.
Men, similarly, weren’t adverse to wearing tight jeans and trousers, too. Velvet or lamé pants weren’t unusual either.
Later in the decade, leisure suits – fashioned from a variety of colors of polyester fabric ranging from baby blue and mint green to brown – were all the rage and were a trend most agree need not ever be repeated.
Also in the late 1970s, both men and women squeezed into jumpsuits, one-piece outfits that zipped up the front and were usually worn with a wide belt. It was also a questionable trend, especially for those who were less than slim!
Whereas men’s dress shirts of the 60s generally included small, button-down collars, men of the 70s wore shirts in solids and loud prints with long, pointed collars. The print shirts were often paired with the aforementioned leisure suits.
Ladies shirts ran the gamut from peasant-style, flowy tops that had become popular in the late 1960s to skimpy halter tops that were pared with equally-skimpy shorts known as hot pants. Sequined bra tops were also a common trend and, later, tube tops – a strapless sleeve of stretchy fabric that pulled over the head and covered the upper torso – were all the rage.
In the 70s, traditional belts were often replaced by beads or handmade macrame creations. Large peace sign necklace or surfer’s crosses were worn around the neck on heavy chains, attesting to the importance of peace to those who were growing up during this era following the Vietnam Conflict.
But the most notable accessory of the 70s had to be the platform shoe. Worn by women of all ages and some men as well, these shoes were in every hip store in the country and some not-so-hip shops as well.
The soles on these shoes, boots, or sandals ranged from about 2 to 4 inches thick. Many of them were fashioned in wild prints, some were glittery, and others were even transparent.
They may have made it difficult to walk, but every self-respecting 70s girl and hip guy had at least a few pairs in their closet.
Later in the decade, the antithesis of this flamboyant shoe was introduced. In contrast, the “Earth Shoe”, a product of Scandinavia, sported a thick sole and a thin heel, the opposite of most traditional shoes.
The Earth Shoe was very plain. Made of leather, it usually tied or included a large front buckle and was touted by nature lovers as the perfect shoe for hiking and enjoying other outdoor pursuits.