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How 70s clothing rocks both runways and real life today

August 25, 2020

Floral maxi dresses, flared pants, wrap dresses DVF style – it’s all about 70s clothing today, with something to fit everyone’s taste and fashion persona.

Four Women wearing 70s clothing in magazine photoshoot, 1970

Four Women wearing 70s clothing in magazine photoshoot, 1970

There is something about 70s clothing that never goes out of style.  Feminine and flirty floral maxi dresses, pale wash flared jeans paired with a peasant blouse or a fitted turtleneck sweater, slinky wrap dresses to flatter every form – these and other classic 1970s looks continue to capture our imaginations.

70s clothing history

70s clothing has a rich and varied history, with all kinds of 1970s fashion and style trends evolving from earlier decades and from the times, cultural influences and world events of the 1970s.

 

There were however some common themes woven through these multitudes of trends and styles, as explored below:

How 70s clothing rocks both runways and real life today

Janis Joplin, 1970

Hippie styling

  • Back-to-nature hippie styling:  70s clothing is synonymous with the organic and natural styles of hippie-chic, epitomized by cotton peasant blouses worn loose over bell bottoms or floral maxi dresses paired with faux leather sandals.

 

This laid-back look was finished with leather-like embroidered chokers, colourful headbands and wood, stone and fabric jewellery.

70s clothing-Bohemian style-Efva Attling & Lars Jacob,1971

Efva Attling & Lars Jacob,1971

Bohemian style

  • Bohemian style rhapsodies: similar in styles to hippie-chic, boho-chic 70s clothing took the form of colourful, tie-dye patterned tunics paired with flared jeans, lots of tassels, fringed and beading embellishments, and Western wear influences from vests to boots.

 

  • An explosion of colour: 70s clothing was bright, playful and full of joy, epitomizing the free spirit vibe of the generation.

 

Pictured brightly coloured shirts in zany patterns, paired with equally bright bell bottoms and finished off with platform shoes. Or fitted, ruffled shirts in neon colours worn unbuttoned to the waist with flared pants, ready to rock the disco dance floor.

70s clothing Decadent style-Girl resting on a chaise long , 1970

Decadent style

  • Laid-back luxe: 70s clothing did not try too hard. Natural fibres like wool, linen, cotton and poplin created breathable, moisture-wicking and high-quality minimalist style, perfectly fashioned into head-to-toe monochromatic looks that were timeless and classic.

 

  • 70s style clothing as workwear:  while comfort and natural looks dominated off-duty style, office wear in the 1970s was tailored and put-together with personality.

 

Pussy-bow blouses in tiny floral prints under tailored pant or skirt suits were both feminine and powerful at the same time.   Flared pants and structured, sharp-shouldered jackets added that 70s vibe.

 

For men at work, pastel coloured or printed shirts and ties added a pop of personality to suiting, again with wide leg trousers for the suit bottom, wide lapels on the matching jacket.

1970s disco fashion

1970s disco fashion

Disco styling

  • Disco styling for party wear: 70s clothing on the dance floor was all about disco trends and fashions.  This over-the-top look glittered and glowed under the disco lights with sequins and spandex on tube-tops and body suits for women, and guys rocked skin-tight bell bottoms paired with satin or silk fitted shirts worn unbuttoned down to the waist.

 

Both men’s and women’s looks were finished with chunky platform shoes and women wore bright makeup on their eyes, lips and cheeks to catch and dazzle under night lights.

Throwback style-Model poses for photo on the east side of Westminster bridge, London, 1973

Model poses for photo on the east side of Westminster bridge, London, 1973

Throwback style

  • Throwback style done the 1970s way:  70s clothing brought forward and incorporated classic, timeless heritage fabrics and patterns into day and weekend wear:

 

  • The texture and softness of corduroy and velvet in flared pants, casual jackets, tailored blazers and A-line skirts.

 

    • Chunky woollen knits in Argyle patterns paired with those corduroy bell bottoms or miniskirts.

 

      • Silky long-sleeved blouses or wrap dresses in paisley patterns in red, green and blue colour combinations.
      • And the retro-yet-timeless look of polka dots and stripes.

 

Every one of these fabrications and patterns evokes the spirit of 70s clothing done the heritage way.

 (left) Halston, dress, printed knit cotton, c.1976, USA, gift of Ms. Gayle Osman, 91.41.1 (right) Yves Saint Laurent, dress, printed silk chiffon, 1971

Left: Halston, dress, printed knit cotton, c.1976, USA, gift of Ms. Gayle Osman, 91.41.1
Right; Yves Saint Laurent, dress, printed silk chiffon, 1971
Photograph by Eileen Costa

Wrap dresses
  • Effortless style wrap dresses way:  no look is as flattering to the female form as wrap dresses.  Invented by Diane von Furstenberg in the 1970s, this version of 70s clothing is a permanent staple in every woman’s closet right through to today, for its easy one-and-done dressing for every occasion and its classic, always feminine hourglass silhouette.

 

These are just some of the common themes we see woven through the range of options offered by 70s clothing.  These enduring themes continue to come back in every fashion season, reimagined for today’s fashionista, because they have endless appeal, go with every current trend and are always flattering.

Four Women model colour coordinated knitted ponchos and slacks, Moscow, Russia, 1973

Colour coordinated knitted ponchos and slacks, Moscow, Russia, 1973

70s clothing influencers

There are certain style influencers who inspired some of the most iconic trends in 70s clothing and who continue to inspire fashion designers and fashion adopters today.  Let’s take a look at these influencers and celebrate their individual, iconoclastic sense of style.

Charlies Angels cast, 1976. From left: Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Kate Jackson.

Charlies Angels cast, 1976

70s style clothing
  • 70s style clothing the Farah Fawcett way: who has not seen or heard of that Charlie’s Angel, Farah Fawcett?   Remember her in that timeless red one-piece bathing suit? And what about that long, feathered haircut that was copied the world over?

 

Farah Fawcett contributed to 70s clothing done the girl-next-door way, with her casual-chic vibe of heritage-inspired flannel, gingham or checked shirts tucked into high-waisted flared jeans and finished with sneakers for a look that was sexy yet demure all at once.

 

Farah’s sister “Angels” on that cultish TV show – Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson – had their own impact on 70s clothing, rocking pant suits with a wide leg pant and a fitted jacket for work, and bell bottoms with slogan tee shirts for play.

A drawing of Twiggy

Drawing of Twiggy

Twiggy
  • Twiggy’s impact on 70s clothing:  A global supermodel before anyone else was, Twiggy was known for her androgynous figure, huge baby-doll eyes and iconic miniskirts and shift dresses and appeared on every top fashion magazine cover in the Sixties and Seventies.

 

Off-duty Twiggy styles that influenced 70s clothing trends included knee-high white boots paired with corduroy miniskirts, shift dresses in solid bright colours decorated with Peter Pan collars and trimmings in a contrasting colour – usually white, and fitted cropped ribbed sweaters paired with flared pants.

Ali MacGraw, 1972

Ali MacGraw, 1972

Love Story
  • “Love Story” inspired 70s clothing:  When you look back at this box office blockbuster movie that pulled at heart strings the world over, you can just see Ali McGraw in all her 70s clothing

 

In her “Love Story” persona, Ali rocked the Ivy League look of the 1970s with oversized winter coats, cosy hand-knitted multi-coloured caps, scarves and mitts, and iconic pale wash bell bottom jeans under fitted black or brown turtleneck sweaters.

 

In real life, Ali McGraw was all about 70s style clothing done the bohemian way, with lots of floral maxi dresses dressed up with faux leather fringed vests. She then finished with faux leather thongs, or crochet vests over paisley patterned shirts, tucked into flared jeans.

How 70s clothing rocks both runways and real life today

1970s Laura Ashley dresses

Laura Ashley
  • 70s clothing influenced by Laura Ashley:  fabric and clothing designer Laura Ashley put her own unique stamp on 70s clothing with her romantic, ditzy tiny floral prints embellishing everything from maxi dresses to bed and bath linens.

 

Besides her nature-themed florals, Ashley incorporated Edwardian-influenced styles in her 70s clothing, including feminine blouses with lace and ribbon, gathered midi skirts and a prairie-inspired aesthetic that add a touch of down-home ethos to 70s clothing trends.

 

Inspired yet by the key trends and influencers of 70s clothing?  If so, read on for some of the best places to acquire clothing and accessory options based on 70s clothing to refresh and elevate your wardrobe today.

70s clothing-Bohemian style-Efva Attling & Lars Jacob,1971

Christos wedding dress,1971

  • Amazon

 

Amazon is the world’s largest virtual marketplace, so start yours 70s clothing treasure hunt here, where you have the largest selection in terms of choice and price points.

 

With everything from authentic 70s style clothing being resold to new owners, to modern reinventions based on 1970s fashion trends, you are going to find something tailored to your taste and budget.

 

From retro-inspired cotton maxi dresses at bargain-basement prices, to vintage flared pants perfect with a classic white T-shirt, and wrap dresses in modern fabrics and patterns, you are going to have a wealth of choice to pick from.

 

Amazon’s 70s clothing offers everything from heritage tie-dye tunics to peasant blouses with colourful embroidery, to bell bottoms that go with everything.

 

And with added benefits like free, same day shipping under certain conditions and a ton of coordinated accessories and shoes to finish your 70s clothing outfit from head to toe, you just may finish your shopping spree all in one place!

70s clothing-Two models in fashion photoshoot, Frederiksborg Castle, 1970.

Two models in fashion photoshoot, Frederiksborg Castle, 1970.

  • Etsy

 

If your search for 70s style clothing continues, head on over to Etsy, which is a totally different shopping experience from Amazon.

 

Etsy offers you a curated collection of original, custom-made and authentic vintage 70s clothing, so you know you are getting a pair of one-of-a-kind flared jeans from back in the day, or genuine DVF wrap dresses that no-one else has.

 

Etsy is perfect for fashionistas who want a unique style statement that stands out from the crowd, a way to express your own individual fashion personality.

 

With everything from vintage crocheted vests and shawls, to tie-dye T-shirts to pale washed flared jeans, the 70s clothing on offer at Esty will stimulate your imagination as you picture yourself in a retro-modern mashup of a unique vintage piece paired with a modern favourite.

 

  • The Vintage Dancer

 

for European inspired 70s clothing, visit Vintage Dancer online and take a look at their curated selection of boho-chic maxi dresses and bell bottom pants, perfectly styled with vintage vests and sweaters for dresses or floral shirts and embroidered tunics for flared jeans.

 

Offering you trendy spins on 70s clothing, Vintage Dancer goes beyond the typical throwback 1970s outfits to give you tongue-in-cheek whimsical and playful takes on classic 1970s style themes.

 

Now that you have your 70s clothing inspirations and shopping sources nailed, let your inner fashionista out to play and throw together some cool retro-modern spins of your own 1970s style!

 

LINKS

https://thehippieshake.co.uk/

https://vintagedancer.com

https://www.etsy.com/uk/market/70s_style_clothing

 

 

 

 

 

 

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