Men’s and Women’s 70s Fashion: Types, Tips & 70s Outfits

70s fashion - faverie

Have you been invited to a 1970s party, but you have no idea what to wear? This post is a great place to begin as it covers men’s and women’s fashion in the 1970s.

Learn about which sex wore the shortest shorts, how wide were bell-bottom pants, and what shows influenced the 70s fashion.

If you are planning on hosting a 1970s party, then you can also get great ideas on what hippies, punkers, and business people wore so that you can recommend outfits to your friends.

While the 1970s are often glamorized, you will want to learn the truth about what people wore during the decade by reading this post.

Let’s get started!

Introduction to the 1970s fashion

The 1970s were an exciting time in fashion history. Many people became jet-setters as they flew around the world on the first jumbo jets. Others flocked to local theaters to watch Jaws. Technology wizards were glad to see Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak start Apple. While the world was changing on many fronts, fashion was experiencing its own significant changes.

What did people wear in the 70s?

While disco balls twirled with a fantastic array of colors, so did the clothes that people wore. As hair lengths got longer throughout the decade, skirt lengths got shorter. Many had an embarrassing moment of tripping upstairs as their wide pant legs got in their way. Of course, wearing platform shoes made it even harder to climb stairs safely.

People who rejected mainstream fashion in the 1960s in favor of exotic materials and lots of glitter found that designers incorporated exquisite materials and hand embroidery into their runway shows in the early 1970s. The excellent news for those who could not afford clothes straight off the runway was that new manmade fabrics were coming out regularly. Polyester was such a big fad that many have nicknamed the 1970s the polyester decade.

Simultaneously, women’s high fashion looked back to the prairie dresses of the 1940s for inspiration. Unlike those dresses made 30 years earlier, designers updated the look with voluminous sleeves that contained lots of fabric. Silk, satin, and velvet were hot trends in evening gowns.

Parents gasped in horror at the lack of length in minidresses that their offspring wanted to wear. Meanwhile, college girls donned hot pants to go to the disco, where they limboed the night away.

Many women started wearing traditional menswear daily. By the middle of the decade, many women wore pantsuits, even to formal occasions. By the end of the decade, lines had become softer, and women layered their favorite pieces. Those who had to wear dresses or chose to often wore wrap dresses, like Diane von Fürstenberg’s wrap dress. These dresses made it easy to go from the office to the nightclub by adding a few large statement pieces, like long, dangling earrings containing natural stone.

Women entering the workforce often embraced sportswear, like sweat-shirting, ra-ra skirts, bandeau tops, jumpsuits, leotards, and leggings. While these pieces were seen throughout the decade in the most fashion-forward offices, in smaller and more conservative offices, they were not seen until the end of the decade.

History of men’s & women’s fashion in the 70s

The 1970s saw the start of many fashion trends. Clothes took on a more casual vibe, and Western wear was popular with everyone throughout the decade. Many other trends started during the decade that you can see in clothes for men and women 50 years later.

Women had fought for the right not to wear a bra, and they won that right in the 1970s with the introduction of the tube top. Legend says that the first tube top was invented by Elie Tahari, who brought a bunch of sans sleeves from Murray Kleid in 1971. Sneaking into a fashion show, Tahari exhibited the sleeves as tube tops and received thousands of dollars in orders. By the end of the decade, every girl had multiple tube tops in bold colors, usually trimmed in a different fabric and color.

Cher produced 10 albums during the 1970s, and she often wore fringed outfits. While Yves Saint Lauren did two collections full of fringe in 1967, his style moved on down to less expensive clothing at the start of the 1970s. Many chose to wear buckskin-colored fringed leather, but punks and hard rockers wore black. Fringe leather, however, was not the only western trend seen during the 1970s, with embroidered button-down shirts and boho ties being popular with men and women.

Cher singing stage

Sony and Cher were also responsible for a resurgence in bell-bottom blue jeans. These pants usually were flared from the knees with bottom leg openings being over 20 in., 50 cm., wide. I will have more to say on this later, but bell-bottoms were not the only bell-shaped silhouette to be seen in the 1970s. Women often wore bell-sleeved tops.

British fashion designer Bill Gibb made wearing knitted fabrics popular, including knitted bra tops. Many people put together very fashionable and colorful outfits by mixing numerous textures, including suede, corduroy, crochet, and knit.

Why was this period so important for the fashion industry?

The 1970s was a time when everyone was free to follow the fashion trends that spoke to them. There were no hard-and-fast rules, with many people embracing that moving clothing manufacturing to Asian countries made clothing more affordable to the masses.

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Looking Back At 1970s Fashion
by Getty Images TV

Fashion played a significant role in allowing women to be seen as equal to men. As part of the movement, many women gave up wearing dresses and opted for jumpsuits. While the original jumpsuits were very masculine, the lines softened over the decade.

Color was everywhere. Many people of both sexes opted for bright, colorful bell-bottom pants. Some were even printed in fun geometric shapes or had flowers printed on them. They were fun to wear and comfortable. People could create outfits in minutes to quickly go from one activity to another.

Color televisions were found in many homes, which allowed everyone to see what outfits looked like, so people quickly embraced constantly changing styles. Nonetheless, punk and disco were significant movements within the decade that it was easy for many people to recreate items with affordable synthetic fabrics.

In the next chapter, I will be taking a deep dive into men’s fashion of the 1970s, and I will cover dress and casual clothes. Then, I will cover women’s fashions in the next chapter. Therefore, you will want to make sure that you keep reading.

70s fashion for men

Dating became much more casual in the 1970s than at any prior point in history. Therefore, men needed to look sharp. After all, he had to be able to catch a woman’s eye at the bowling alley or while at a discotheque. Women still wanted to hold the hand of a well-dressed man. Dating was expensive, so men still had to go to work, and they often had to compete against women for jobs that once had been reserved for males, so it was essential to look sharp. Read on to learn about how men wore their hair and their clothes.

70s hairstyles for men

Men wore a variety of hairstyles in the 1970s. While many started the decade with long hair, hairstyles got shorter throughout the decade. Many men were learning to use hairdryers and styling tools for the very first time.

Many men ushered in the 1970s with long hair that they spent minimal time styling. Some wore it pulled back in a ponytail, while others let it flow freely. Of course, school and workplace dress codes kept some men from going too far overboard.

While the afro was a popular style in the 1960s with black men, more people of all races chose this style during the 1970s. Big, curly, and full were definitely in style.

Portrait man afro hair laughing outside

Bob Marley ushered in the popularity of dreadlocks for all ethnic groups. The still-popular style featured hair that was left to hang in long-dreaded braids.

After Jane Fonda appeared in Klute in 1971, both men and women wore shags. This style featured evenly progressing layers that are short on the top and get gradually longer as you go down.

By the middle of the 1970s, David Bowie and Paul McCarthy inspired everyone to get a mullet. This style featured short layered hair on the top and around the ears while the back was about collar length.

By the end of the 1970s, most people had dropped the long hair, opting to go with gravity-defying hairdos on top of the head. Those who found it too difficult to get their hair to go upwards often shaved their heads or chose to shave designs into their hair.

70s clothes for men

At the start of the 1970s, the hippies’ style was still seen everywhere. This clothing often fit loosely and was usually made from a natural fiber, with hemp being popular. While many questioned if bell-bottom pants could get any wider than in the 1960s, people in the 1970s answered with a resounding yes. Psychedelic colors and bold geometric patterns were everywhere, even on bell-bottom jeans.

As the decade moved on, people were divided into two camps. People who wanted to look like their favorite punk rock bands, like The Stooges and the Ramones, turned to workwear. Others took fashion to new levels by wearing stylish clothes made from corduroy, velvet, and silk.

By the late 1970s, Studio 54 was where everyone wanted to be. Those who could not be there dressed in suits and narrow ties or jumpsuits.

Let’s dive a little deeper.

70s Men’s Jeans

Jeans in the last year of the 1960s started having some flare, and that is a trend that continued into the early 1970s. Unlike a decade earlier, jeans were fitted around the waist instead of boxy. Most options fit very close to the skin through the knee before flaring out from the knee down.

By 1973, it was fashionable to wear jeans with a frayed hem. Many designers put no pant hem in blue jeans so that people could find them a little long, and walking on them would fray the bottoms the first time that you wore them.

Pants got even wider by the middle of the decade. These jeans, called elephant bells, were cut close through the knee. Then they flared out a little from the knee to the calf, where they flared out dramatically. These jeans were not popular with everyone as you had to desire to stand out and the confidence to do so to wear elephant bell-bottoms.

As the punk movement overtook the hippie movement, jeans again had straight legs with almost no flare. Levi’s 505s became a sign embraced by the counterculture. Maurice Sasson introduced the concept of designer jeans to the world, and soon everyone wanted a pair.

70s Men’s Suits

Many men may have felt like they went back to the 1930s at the start of the 1970s when they wore a suit. Unlike the earlier versions, these suits were polyester and had exaggerated details. Polyester suits were available in every color, including teal, chalk blue, and mulberry red. One of the reasons that this trend was so hot was that “The Great Gatsby,” “Cabaret,” and “The Sting” were all enormous box office hits.

When rebels from the 1960s entered lower management, they wore polyester suits. These suits had large pockets with flaps in unusual shapes and wide notched lapels. The two-button front had a slight curve at its bottom. Most suits were worn with vests that did not match the coat and a wide belt. These suits remained immensely popular as business attire throughout the decade.

Towards the latter half of the decade, Armani suits became extremely popular. While mid-priced department stores sold these unstructured coats as the European suit, wealthier patrons ordered them especially cut to fit. These suits featured a fully lined, three-button blazer, matching vest, and single-treated trousers. This design remains essentially unchanged into the 1980s.

70s Men’s Sweaters

The 1970s started with belted sweaters. These highly-textured sweaters were typically made from polyester, and they had a very wide belt running across the stomach of matching material. They could be a sweater vest or long-sleeved, in which case they had enormous ribbed cuffs.

As the decade moved on, sweater vests became even more popular. Many of these vests had large geometric patterns on them. Bumblebee yellow and Dijon yellow in a zigzag design worn with a brown crew-neck shirt was trendy. Other sweater vests had snow or nature scenes printed on them, while still others had highly textured broad verticle stripes running down both sides of the front. In some cases, girlfriends and boyfriends wore the same sweater design to show the world that they were a couple.

More conservative men often wore a cardigan with three-to-five black buttons down its front. While men could find loudly colored options that looked like they had been tied-died, others chose a boldly colored sweater with thin bands of color at the bottom of the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater. These sweaters were made to hug the body tightly, and most chose to wear them with a button-down dress shirt and a tie.

70s Men’s T-shirts

T-shirts at the start of the 1970s often hugged the body closely. Many had ringer necks that were in sharp contrast to the shirt’s primary color and short capped sleeves.

Until the middle of the decade, people used iron-on or sewn-on patches to decorate their clothes. Then, the first graphic t-shirts started to appear in stores. While initially designed by Harvey Ball to encourage people to smile at State Mutual Life Assurance Company, yellow smiley faces appeared on many t-shirts during the 1970s. In 1971, Mick Jagger headed to the Royal College of Art to find a student to design a hot lips logo. Soon, knock-off hot lips graphic tees were appearing everywhere. In the middle of the decade, t-shirts often had patriotic themes as Americans paused to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. 

Designs from Roach Studios that often said “I’m With Stupid:” or “Disco Sucks” replaced them as young people began to embrace punk rock bands. “I’m a Pepper” advertising campaign in 1979 launched David Naughton’s career, and the catchphrase was soon appearing everywhere. “B.J. and the Bear” premiered on February 10, 1979, encouraging many people to wear “keep on truckin'” t-shirts.

70s Men’s Shoes

Platform shoes with thick soles were a favorite of men and women. The soles on these shoes could be up to 4 in., 10.16 cm., thick and made from plastic or wood. Most were simple quarter-strap sandals with tan leather straps.

Another popular choice was clogs. Again, both men and women wore these shoes, and they often chose to pair them with their bell-bottom jeans. These shoes usually had a brown leather upper. Some had gold tacks along the soles to give them some visual interest, but most were left plain.

Brown cowboy boots

Another popular option during the 1970s was earth shoes. These shoes that had long been popular in Denmark were discovered about 3 weeks before the first Earth Day, and they quickly became a countercultural symbol. They featured a thinner sole at the heel than at the forefoot. Therefore, men walked with their heels pointed downward.

As the decade came to a close, western boots with elaborate stitching became popular. These boots that could be any length were often worn by businessmen, but once quitting time arrived, they quickly tucked their straight-leg jeans into the top of them for a fun night at the discotheque.

70s Men’s Coats

Corduroy cropped jackets were a hot trend in the 1970s. In the early part of the decade, these coats were often worn with a pair of corduroy pants. They button down the front with three-to-five buttons, usually covered in leather. These coats generally stopped just a little lower than the man’s natural hips.

Another popular choice was the shearling jacket. While many were made in faux or genuine leather in natural tones, denim was also trendy. Most options stopped about the waist, but longer options were also available. Shearling is naturally bulky and warm, making them a popular choice in cooler temperatures.

Many people also had a polyester or canvas puffer jacket in their wardrobe, with most having a full lining and tight-fitting cuffs. Many had a wide corduroy collar that came to points on both sides. These coats usually had large pockets, often with curved openings. Most options had a heavy metal zipper. These coats often had a brass snap at the collar to help keep the cold wind out.

70s Men’s Shirts

For formal occasions, men often put on ruffled shirts with contrasting-colored jumpsuits. These shirts came in a wide range of colors and had large ruffles down their front, with some even having smaller ruffles around the cuffs. While the ruffles were the same color as the shirt in most cases, in some, thin black lines were added between the ruffles.

Hippie man colorful tshirt

By the mid-1970s, this style was starting to fade, and men were wearing button-down dress shirts with plaid suits. Others were pairing tye-dyed close-fitting shirts with their bell-bottomed pants. These shirts often had wide collars, and many short-sleeve options had a band of fabric at the end of the sleeves in a coordinating color.

Turtleneck shirts were a popular option for leisure time throughout the decade. These shirts had a large rolled collar, and men typically wore them without a tie but with a large gold necklace.

In addition to bold colors, many men chose shirts with paisley designs. Often in more muted colors, these shirts had a textured teardrop-shaped motif with a curved upper end, and many were a combination of muted colors.

70s Men’s Trousers

Polyester and other synthetic materials lent themselves very well to making trousers. These trousers usually came about the waist, although they were higher at the beginning of the decade and slowly moved their way down. Polyester trousers were available in many different colors. In the beginning, they often were boldly colored but became earth tones as the seasons passed. As the hippie style finally went out of vogue, men’s trousers were usually printed in bold plaids that matched the leisure suit. It was not until the late part of the decade that trousers became acceptable in business environments as opposed to more formal pants.

Man woman dressed 70s

Especially after the release of Saturday Night Fever in 1977, every young man wanted a pair of disco pants. These pants, made from nylon and spandex, were designed to hug the body tightly. A few options were available made with shiny, light-reflecting fabrics. Most disco pants had two black pockets, although there were options with only one pocket in the back. These pants had a front zipper, and most were closed with a button at the top of the zipper, but other options had a snap. Every fashion house offered its version, including Frederick’s of Hollywood, Le Gambi, Bojeangles, Michi, Jonden, Tight End, and Trousers Up.

70s Men’s Sportswear

Men wore a variety of sportswear during the 1970s. Tracksuits made from cotton, polyester, or terry cloth were popular at the gym and while running errands around town. Nylon tracksuits would not come around for another 10 years, and they were the first to offer the modern look. Instead, tracksuits of the 1970s had collars, button closures and were very tailored. Many options had a large breast pocket, similar to a man’s suit coat. The pocket usually had some type of patch logo, with favorite college athletic teams being a favorite choice.

Men’s shorts took short to the extreme in the 1970s. Athletic shorts were barely long enough to cover a man’s privates, but they were not the only short shorts. Cut-off denim shorts were a popular choice as long as they were not too long. Polyester was the chosen fabric when a man wore dressier shorts. Some men wore short shorts made of silk or satin with a belt to the roller skating rink.

Those who were looking to cover more of their body chose jumpsuits. While there were fancier options for nights out, there were also denim and polyester options that could be worn as sportswear. Some options ended about the knee, while other options had flair-leg pants.

70s Men’s Ties

The neckerchief was a popular addition to many men’s outfits during the 1970s. Made from silk, these colorful pieces of fabric were wrapped around the neck and tied with a square knot. Other men chose to hold them in place with a tiering.

Men wore ties up to 4.5 in., 11.5 cm., wide in the workplace. Men often chose colorful ties, but animal prints and paisleys were also popular. Another popular choice was a diagonally striped tie, usually with a primary color matching the man’s shirt and striped with either white, black, or a complementary color.

The bow tie also was a popular choice with men who had to get dressed up. These extremely large ties were often made of velvet and often in a complementary color.

Once the punk music movement started, some men threw away their fabric neckties in favor of bolo ties. These ties that are about two feet long loop around the neck and are held in place with a silver plate. Many had silver tassels on their ends. Options with turquoise and other natural stones decorating the silver plate were trendy.

I have enjoyed sharing with you about men’s fashions in the 1970s. If you need to put together a 1970s outfit, remember to use bold colors, lots of textures, tightly-fitting shirts, and wide-bottom pants. In the next section, I will share what women wore in the 1970s.

70s women’s fashion

Like men, women’s fashions in the 1970s featured lots of color and texture. They also changed over the decade as the sexual revolution spread from bigger cities to smaller areas. More women took on managerial roles in the workplace, which required them to update their wardrobes. Women found new freedom that allowed everyone to wear the clothes that they enjoyed most. Keep reading to learn all the details.

70s hairstyles for women

As I covered in the last chapter, shag haircuts were popular for women and men, but women wore their hair in many ways. Like today, many women emulated the haircuts of film and television stars. In the early 1970s, Liza Minelli and Jane Fonda were immensely popular, while everyone wanted to look like Farrah Fawcett-Majors after Charlie’s Angels came out.

Black Power in the 1960s encouraged many black women to wear afros as a sign of unity with their race. While the hairstyle did not go away in the 1970s, women started wearing it because they loved the style. Norms no longer confined the way women wore their hair, and many women of all races got perms to create this look.

Towards the last half of the decade, asymmetrical haircuts became a popular choice. Some women chose to wear a side ponytail, while others used curling irons to create waves on one side of their heads. After Joanna Lumley became a sensation in New Avengers in 1977, many girls and women opted for a pageboy cut.

Late in the decade, some women chose to shave their heads or leave the sides long and shave the top of their heads. In about 1977, women used many different products to dye their hair bright colors, including food dye and Kool-Aid. Retailers had trouble keeping Crazy Color on store shelves.

70s makeup

Leaders in the women’s liberation and feminism movements often advocated for no makeup, but that was too big a jump for some women. While many did not want others to view them as sex objects, many did not understand why they could not wear makeup.

In the early part of the decade, many women watched films set in the 1920s, like “The Great Gatsby,””The Boy Friend,” and “The Great Waldo Pepper.” Therefore, women used makeup to create the smoky eyes and skinny brows they observed on television and movies.

The movie “Saturday Night Fever” caused everyone to want disco queen eyes and red lips. Girls watched Donna Summer and Cher perform in concerts or on television and tried to emulate their looks in the middle of the decade. Women used pearlescent and bright eyeshadow to create their eye look before using natural brown mascara and eyeliner. The look was finished by using light eye pencils on the inner lid.

As punk music became popular, women once again changed their makeup style. Women used foundation to create the pale-face look. Cobalt blue lipstick and ink-black cat eye were often attempted in women’s bedrooms, and some managed to master the look. If women wore blush, it looked like it was applied with a paint roller right along the cheekbone.

70s clothes for women

The process of liberation was set in place during the 1960s by the hippie movement, but it did not realize until the 1970s. The concepts embodied in the Summer of Love in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969 were coming to fruition, with everyone free to wear what they wanted. Therefore, women’s clothes in the 1970s saw many individual styles.

Retro van hippie girl van

Fashion took cues from rock stars during the early 1970s. David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls encouraged wearing gender-bending clothes. Beginning in England, punk rock became the new anti-establishment movement and encouraged wearing ripped and distressed clothing. Strong women wanted to look sexy and powerful.

Let’s look at some specific types of women’s wear to get a better idea of women’s clothes in the 1970s.

70s Dresses for Women

One of the most popular dress styles for women was the wrap dress because women could easily move in it. Diane von Fürstenberg arrived from Italy at the age of 26 with a suitcase full of jersey wrap dresses, and they instantly sold. The dress makes women look like they have a tiny waist because of the large ties drawing attention to the midsection. The dress, designed initially as a top and skirt, has a bias-cut skirt, strong cuffs, and a collar. Feeding into the women’s liberation movement, it also has a deep V-cut neckline. The dress remained a favorite throughout the 1970s, especially after Cybill Shepherd wore one she brought in from home in Taxi Driver in 1975.

While the 1960s saw hemlines go up, the 1970s was the decade where they went down to the floor in most cases. Towards the end of the decade, a few calf-length dresses appeared. Manufacturers typically made maxi dresses of a cotton/polyester blend. Many had floral prints that beckoned people back to the 1930s. Most dresses were lined in lace and had decorative lace going around them in a circle at various places on the skirt that often hung straight down from an empire waist. Taking a cue from menswear, most had exaggerated shoulders.

70s Shirts for Women

Women wore many types of shirts during the 1970s. In the early 1970s, prairie blouses were trendy. These long tops hugged the body until the woman’s natural waist before flaring out slightly and ending on the woman’s hips. Most prairie blouses had pintucks or ruffles down their fronts.

The tunic top was also very popular in the 1970s, especially when worn with bell-bottom pants. These linen or cotton tops were cut long and full, so they were ultra-comfortable to wear. Options in polyester or jersey were often chosen for a night out. They often had elaborate embroidered designs on them, while floral fabric was used to make others.

Cropped tops were another popular option, with women often choosing them to wear with knitted pull-over vests. Early in the decade, halter-style cropped crops were especially a popular choice to wear with bell-bottom pants. Late in the decade, women paired them with Daisy Duke jeans. These tops stopped about the woman’s stomach, often showing some skin.

Especially later in the decade, wearing a t-shirt was a popular choice. Early in the decade, iron-on or sewn-on patches decorated them, while graphic printed options became popular towards the end of the decade. While the decade started with many cotton t-shirts, they were often made of synthetic fabrics later so that a woman could wash and wear them without having to iron them.

70s Bell-bottom pants for Women

Mike Brady in the Brady Bunch was the first to wear bell-bottom pants on television, but Sonny and Cher receive credit for making every woman want a pair of bell-bottom pants. These pants fit tightly through the hips and did not sag. Then, they flared out from the knee to their bottom. Fashion advisors cautioned women to buy their bell-bottom pants long enough that their ankles would not show.

These pants were based on a mid-1800s navy uniform where sailors wore bell-bottom pants so that they were easier to grab if they fell overboard. Coco Chanel also encouraged women to wear them in the 1930s, but they did not become very fashionable until the 1970s.

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70s Inspired Vintage & Retro Outfit Ideas (+ Lookbook)
by Styled By Khatia

Designers used blue denim to make many choices, but others had bold patterns and colorful flowers all over them. Besides being fashionable, many women opted for bell-bottom pants because manufacturers often made them from fabric that did not have to be ironed. Therefore, women could wash them and wear these high-waisted pants again.

70s Jeans for Women

By the mid-1970s, designer jeans were becoming very popular with women. The French Jeans Store on East 60th Street in New York City was one of the first to offer designer jeans to American women. Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt first launched unsuccessful designer jeans in 1976, but they did not stay unsuccessful. Both came back with highly successful designer jeans.

These high-rise jeans would be considered bootcut today. Yet, women had fewer choices in designer blue jeans. They could choose a regular denim color or stonewash. Women also had the option to buy a few pairs without a hem in the bottom of the pants. Therefore, they would fray the first time that a woman wore them.

Many women did not want jeans from Levi’s, Lee, or Wrangle as women viewed them as too mainstream. This gave rise to jeans from several designers who were not household names, including Jordaches, Guess, and JESUS jeans. Starting with a Patti Hansen billboard on Times Square, many designer jeans were sold using sexually provocative ads.

70s Pantsuits for Women

After Yves Saint Laurent introduced his women’s smoking ensemble in 1966 when started wanting to wear pants like their male counterparts. The early 1970s saw a rise in women’s pantsuits based on men’s wear but made with a little softer lines. Most had large patch pockets, a half-belt, and an inverted back pleat. Since the United States had been involved in the Vietnam War for over a decade, many young women wore surplus military garments as a form of protest.

As knit fabrics grew in popularity, women started wearing knit pantsuits. The first of these pantsuits borrowed heavily from the military uniform. Most had large front pockets, oversized collars, and a belt at the natural waist. The top and bottom of these outfits were made from the same material. Women wore them with platform shoes or clogs, but I will have more to say about women’s shoes in the 1970s in a little bit.

In the late 1970s, tunic tops with pants became a popular pantsuit look. These pantsuits featured boldly colored tops that often had a geometric pattern and solid-colored, high-waisted pants. They usually tied around the woman’s waist with a belt made from the same fabric as the top. Women could choose between tops with no sleeves and those with a short cuffed sleeve.

70s Skirts for Women

Following the hippie movement of the 1960s, many women chose to wear midi-skirts at the start of the decade. Italian fashion designer Valentino is quoted as saying,” Midi-skirts are a return to elegance after so many years of bad taste.” These simple skirts usually hung from the waistline, and most options had a contrasting-colored belt. Midi skirts were available in a variety of colors. Giving a nod to the hippie movement, they sometimes had brightly colored pieces of fabric on their sides, but most were in more conservative colors. While women did not openly embrace the midi skirt when designers first introduced it, as they started watching All My Children, which premiered on January 5, 1970, they started adopting the style.

Wrap skirts were another popular option during the 1970s. Most of these skirts were A-line skirts tied at the waist with a fabric belt. Many different fabrics were used, with colorful denim being trendy. Some had patch pockets, while others had no pockets at all. Since these were easy to sew, many women made their own at home. Companies even sold small patches that women could attach near the skirt’s hemline.

70s Jackets for Women

When Jackie Kennedy declared her Oleg Cassini-designed leopard fur coat one of her favorite processions, thousands of women flocked to buy one in the 1960s. Therefore, hunters killed over 250,000 leopards for their pelt. Soon, everyone was outraged because of the cruelty. The 1970s, however, brought an answer to the problem, faux fur jackets. These jackets came in various lengths, with some coming down to the woman’s knees while others stopped about the hips. Most closed with a belt around the waist and had a utilitarian zipper or buttons.

Woman holding disco ball
Source: Jakob Owens on Unsplash

In the late 1970s, many girls and women started wearing lightweight bomber jackets. These jackets made from nylon, Lycra, or satin were usually in very bright colors. Some of these coats were in a solid color, and women used them to dress up their outfits with a single color block. While some buttoned up the front, many had heavy-duty zippers or snaps. Especially at the end of the decade, many had designs printed on the back.

Peacoats were a popular spring and fall option. These coats were often in paisley colors. They had a single row of buttons down their front, with some having one row and others having two. Most peacoats had a fabric belt around their middle.

70s Shoes for Women

Gender norms were thrown out the window during the 1970s, which is very apparent in footwear for men and women. Platform shoes with soles up to 4 in., 10 cm., were worn by both sexes. These shoes usually had a thick wooden or rubber sole and a chunky heel. Platform shoes were available in several different designs, with deep brown quarter-strap leather sandals with a beige cork-wrapped sole being especially popular. Another popular option was to wear knee-high platform boots decorated with embroidery or glitter.

Clogs with simple leather upper and a cork sole were another popular option. These slip-on shoes had chunky heels. Unlike platform shoes that women wore with disco outfits, these shoes were often worn with prairie dresses or bell-bottom pants.

Especially after Bruce Jenner’s Olympic performance in 1972, running became a popular pastime. That same year, eight women ran in the Boston Maraton, and it was the first time that women were allowed to run in a major marathon. That same year, Nike released their first Cortez athletic shoe. It featured a round-toe and leather. Athletic shoes remained essentially unchanged throughout the decade. They had low silhouettes, bright colors, round-toes, a rubber sole, and a slim fit. Women wore the same style of minimalistic sneakers for many sports, including tennis.

70s Handbags for Women

The availability of many different synthetic fabrics allowed women to carry a variety of handbags in the 1970s. One popular design was bags made with an intrecciato weave, made by weaving strips of leather together. These bags usually had a thin strap and were designed to hang from the shoulder. While Bottega Veneta receives credit for creating this design about 1968, it remained popular well into the 1970s.

Since many women entered the workforce, shoulder bags became a practical choice. Like Michael Kors and Gucci, the top brands made these purses that usually had a piece of leather that folded over their top and featured robust hardware bearing the company’s logo.

Another popular choice was patchwork bags. These bags that were available in various styles looked like they had been pieced together, like a favorite quilt. Many of these purses had fringe attached, either on their zipper opening or hanging from their bottom.

Now that you know more about many of the individual pieces used in men’s and women’s fashion in the 1970s, I will turn my attention to talking about the different looks. Therefore, you will not want to miss reading the next part of this post.

70s types of fashion

The 1970s were a decade when people were free to wear what they wanted to wear. Therefore, more so than in many decades, there were many different looks, and each look had its staples. If you are looking at an old photo, you can often estimate the date and tell a lot about the person’s lifestyle when you learn to recognize these staples. Alternatively, if you are getting ready to go to a 1970s-themed party, you will want to know which pieces to wear.

While I have already covered many individual pieces by early, mid, and late-decade looks, this chapter will help you understand how to put pieces together to create a specific look.

70s Hippie Fashion

The 1970s had a laid-back vibe reflected in the period’s clothing. Women often wore long maxi dresses that emulated those they saw Cher wearing on television or in concert. Peasant blouses, often in a paisley print, were popular. Sleeves were often long with an oversized cuff at the wrist. Beadwork and elaborate embroidery appeared in many places. Compared to a decade earlier, women opted out of psychedelic colors and chose earth tones instead. Women often wore their hair long and straight. Most women chose to wear either platform shoes or clogs.

Bell-bottom pants and button-down shirts left open to the waist and worn with elaborate beaded headbands defined 1970s hippie fashion for men. With the ease of international travel on new jumbo jets, many ethnic pieces worked their way into men’s wardrobes. Shirts were often long and straight cut. Bomber jackets were a popular choice in outerwear, with many choosing denim or those made from new inexpensive fabrics, like rayon and Lycra. Like women, most men wore platform shoes or clogs. Early on, many wore tees with patches ironed or sewed on them, showing support for various causes. Most men left their hair natural and as long as their workplace or school would allow. Sideburns were very common.

70s Disco Fashion

Silky and metallic fabrics were everywhere in discotheques in the 1970s. Women kept their silhouettes balanced by wearing long sleeves with plunging necklines and tight-fitting tops with flared-bottom pants. Wearing a jumpsuit was seen as a fashion statement, and they often had halter tops. As skirt lines came up, so did the top of boots, with go-go boots being a trendy choice. Short faux fur coats were a favorite option on cold winter nights. Women often cut their hair in shags or wore it in a side ponytail.

Men wore very colorful outfits. Many chose high-waisted pants and paired them with a button-down shirt in a matching or coordinating color. Often these shirts had large collars and plunging necklines. Men often chose to wear a boldly colored silk neck scarf tied with a square knot around their neck or held in place with a tiering, but extremely large bowties, usually made from velvet, were also seen. Jumpsuits were not just for women, as many men put them on before heading to the discotheque. Men wore their hair in many gravity-defying styles during the 1970s, with people of all races often choosing an afro.

70s Black Fashion

Woman driving seventies car

The 1970s were all about being yourself, so there was no difference between how different races dressed. Many people wore afros. It was more accessible than ever before to get ethnic clothing. Therefore, the kaftan became extremely popular, especially for at-home entertaining. Necklines could be very high, or they could be plunging. Sticking with this original style meant that the kaftan had batwing sleeves. These outfits were usually made out of polyester or faux silk jersey.

Black men had more freedom in how they dressed in the 1970s. They often chose crushed velvet suitcoats in various styles., with double-breasted suits being trendy. These coats were often worn with satin shirts, which were buttoned up during the day and unbuttoned most of the way at night. Many men of color wore braided belts in earth tones. The pants usually fit close to the body through the knee and flared out from there down. Many men of color paired their suits with Cuban-heeled boots. These boots that are very similar to Chelsea boots have a slightly pointed toe and a central seam that runs up the middle of the boot from toe to ankle. Other men chose to wear highly decorated cowboys boots.

70s Soul Train Fashion

Many Soul Train artists wore multi-colored silk gowns with oversized bell sleeves during the 1970s, including Aretha Franklin. Often these outfits had bold sunburst-type designs on them created out of glitter and beads. These outfits were extremely colorful. Many female performers wore African headwraps matching the dress. Feathers were often present in the outfit. One prevalent choice was to wear a feather-covered open jacket over a silk gown, with the coat coming down to the knees. Other times, the feathers appeared on the end of bell sleeves. Towards the decade’s end, a feathered boa was often wrapped around the neck.

Men wore many different looks on Soul Train from 1971 to 2006, but one of the most iconic first was worn by The Lockers. This look consists of knickerbockers worn with suspenders, striped socks, and chunky heels. Almost every man appearing on the show was seen with a bare chest. Often, it was a button-down shirt open to the waist and a pair of matching pants. These men almost always wore a large gold medallion. Another popular look was leisure suits, consisting of stretchy bold-colored fabric and often worn with platform shoes.

70s Punk Fashion

It was nearly impossible to tell the difference between guys and gals during the punk rock movement. This movement in England saw young people flocking to thrift stores to buy denim and distress it even further. The movement made great use of black, including black leather pants and jackets and black tee shirts. Everyone wore huge metal chains hanging from their pants. Many wore black jackets with seductive messages on their backs, which most would not have used a few years earlier. These bomber-style jackets usually stopped at the waist with a broad waistband and had a heavy-duty zipper.

By the late 1970s, the movement had become more refined. People started placing earrings on their cheeks, tongues, and in other locations where earrings had not been seen up to that time. Some went for huge spiked hair, usually dyed an unusual color using food dye. Others chose to shave off all their hair.

Towards the end of the decade, the punk look got refined, especially by Zandra Rhodes. Holes in jeans were decorated with gold safety pins and gold chains. One popular look for women was to wear a distressed black dress decorated with huge safety pins.

70s Rocker Fashion

Coming out of the 1960s, where rockers wore bell-bottom jeans, oversized, flowing shirts, and flashy jewelry, rockers, like Fleetwood Mac, toned down the color a lot during the 1970s. While the bell-bottom jeans were still present, men wore satin shirts tied at their waist. On the other hand, they might wear a waistcoat secured in a knot at the waist and skip the shirt altogether. Fans often wore velvet sportscoats and shawl-collar tuxedo jackets with frilly satin suits. Over the first half of the decade, jackets went from being brightly colored to being earth colored. Men usually wore jackets with colorful silk scarves. Often with ruffles or pintucks down their fronts, satin shirts usually had large collars. These outfits were typically worn with platform shoes.

Others were all about glamor, which started in the early part of the decade but grew stronger towards the end. Men and women wore jumpsuits with oversized showy sleeves. The suit was often black with sequins. As in the case of KISS, usually, a black cape was added for theatrical effect. Women often wore jumpsuits open in the front down to the belly button and an open back.

70s Summer Fashion

Halter tops were a summer staple for women during the 1970s, and some men wore them too. Like I stated earlier, these tops started as an ordering mistake and were nothing more than women’s sleeves with some strings or elastic added to them. They became quite elaborate before the trend would end, with colorful coordinating elastic added to the top and bottom. Typically, they were worn with high-waisted pants. In the beginning, they were often worn with elephant bell-bottom pants, but as time passed, the flare on the leg started to be less until the first designer jeans were introduced. They were typically worn with clogs or platform shoes.

Graphic tees became a summertime staple towards the end of the decade. Earlier, people had sewn or ironed patches onto tight-fitting short-sleeve tops to make their tees. After the Dukes of Hazard premiered in January 1979, Daisy Duke’s cutoffs became the rage at the end of the decade. While these shorts were short, they were not usually as short as men’s athletic shorts during the 1970s. Men often wore these silky short shorts with tees that stopped about the top of the stomach and white crew socks. Both were usually worn with low-profile athletic sneakers.

You should have a better idea of how men and women combined individual pieces to create outfits in the 1970s. In the next chapter, I will go deeper into what many men and women wore together for different activities, so be sure to keep reading.

70s outfits for men and women

Let’s dive even deeper into how to put 1970s outfits together. That way, if you ever time travel back to the 1970s, you will not look out of place. Additionally, it will give you a better idea of how music, art, and other things around them influenced clothing choices in the 1970s. If you were to peak in a man’s and a woman’s closet at the end of the 1970s, these are the clothes that you are likely to find because people had to have different outfits for unique occasions.

Typical 70s outfits for men

Group people street 70s
Source: Ian Sanderson on Unsplash

Within 10 years, many men attend college, get married, get a good job and move into lower management. After work and on the weekends, they may participate in athletic pursuits, attend concerts and go out on dates. Therefore, they need a large wardrobe to look stylish wherever life takes them. While I strongly encourage people to donate clothes that they are no longer wearing to their favorite charity, a man would need a large closet to hold all his outfits over 10 years, even if he only had one of each type. Of course, just like now, that is seldom the case.

Men’s workout outfit

A guy needs to stay in good shape, so he needs a stylish workout outfit. The track outfit starts with a bright navy and orange jacket that zips up the front. The long-sleeve jacket and pants are made from tencel and cotton, so they will help keep the man comfortable and cozy while exercising. The suit pairs easily with white crew socks and Nike Elite tennis shoes with their waffle tread and iconic large red check on the side of the white shoes. Helping to keep him comfortable while exercising, you find a large stretch fabric headband that he wears with his outfit.

Men’s velvet suit

Men felt lucky when they were dressed in a beautiful velvet suit, like the one offered by Yves Saint Laurent. This burgundy jacket buttons up the front, and it has large front pockets and rounded corners at the bottom. It also has a huge pointed collar. It pairs perfectly with the matching burgundy pants. While not nearly as wide as some options in the man’s closet, the pants flare out slightly from the knee. The flat-front pants have two slash pockets. He wears it with his white dress shirt and a turquoise tie. These pants are great for wearing with his platform shoes with their thick cork sole.

Men’s hippie outfit

The man had spent some time at the disco because we found his bell-bottom jeans. They looked sharp when tucked into his rounded-toe cowboy boots with their beautiful pink folk art design painted on them. His wide braided belt was hanging with his pants. Hanging next to it is his yellow-green and blue-green paisley shirt that buttons down the front. The man wore the bell-bottoms and satin shirt with a brown vest with lots of fringe hanging from it. He also ensured his long hair was kept out of his face with a beaded leather headband.

Men’s corporate outfit

The well-dress businessman often wore plaid pants and a solid-colored button-down shirt. A great example is brown, white, and tan small-print plaid pants worn with a dark brown shirt with a large pointed collar. The pants had a flat front and two stash pockets. No businessman would have been without a wide brown or black belt. A button-down suitcoat was worn with the pants, and it also had a large collar. The suitcoat would have had four large pockets, with two located near the top and two located near the bottom. Each of these flap pockets would have had a snap closure. Depending on the company’s formal, he would either have worn it with a wide burgundy tie or a colorful neck scarf tied with a square knot.

Man’s jumpsuit

A black men’s jumpsuit with matching sequins was another fantastic choice for a night spent discoing. This jumpsuit had a deep v-front and a large collar. It was long sleeve and not worn with a shirt, and it likely had a single crease down the front of each leg. The man would have worn this outfit with Cuban heels. In addition to being perfect for the discotheque, it was also ideal for wearing to a party at the yacht club. The man would have worn the jumpsuit with a large gold medallion necklace. He would have sported a baseball cap if the party were a more casual affair.

Men’s leisure suit

Black white group men 1970s street
Source: Ian Sanderson on Unsplash

A 1970s man would wear a leisure suit on a cold winter day. The unstructured leisure suit could be worn with a button-down or rolled-neck shirt. If the suit were a solid color, like lime green, the man would have worn a patterned button-down shirt. In this case, a lime green suit may have been worn with a shirt containing yellow and shades of gold. Quite possible, in a big paisley print. Then, he would have worn white crew socks and a wide brown belt. He might wear it with platform shoes or Cuban heels.

Men’s Punk Rock

While the punk rock style quickly went to all black, the original style saw men putting on white tees, usually with a picture of their favorite punk rock band on it. Then, men wore short leather jackets that were purposefully distressed. On the bottom, guys wore a pair of black jeans that were distressed. These jeans were in stark contrast to the stonewashed or denim jeans worn by most people. The jeans were ripped and had holes in them. Then, they wore Converse tennis shoes with white crew-length white socks. Guys spiked their hair as tall as they could get it before opting to dye it with food dye. On the other hand, some guys chose to shave off all their hair.

Typical 70s outfits for women

Like men, women had a lot of choices throughout the 1970s. Therefore, if you peak into a woman’s closet from the 1970s, you will find many unique options. Of course, some choices lasted for years while others lasted only one or two seasons. You will also find a wide variety of colors, including bright ones and earth tones. The availability of synthetic fabrics made it so that many women who could not afford designer clothes still had fantastic choices to wear. Of course, women had to have clothes for different activities and periods, so the woman’s closet would be full.

Women’s jumpsuit

Female model poses jumpsuit

Women had the choice of several styles of jumpsuits in the 1970s. While you could find brightly colored ones in the early 1970s, many pastels and other colors were available. For example, a light orange jumpsuit was perfect for a lovely fall day. One of the reasons many women loved jumpsuits was the ease of wearing them. For the most part, women only needed to slip into a pair of quarter-strap platform sandals, and they were ready for a day of running errands. The light-orange jumpsuit has feminine touches because it has large ruffles near the neck and bell-shaped cuffs.

Women’s maxi dress

70s african woman paisley dress sunglasses

Paisley maxi dresses with empire waists were a favorite of many women. These long dresses usually had loose-flowing sleeves, and most options had a V-neck neckline. They were trendy for entertaining at home because their full design made them easy to move around in. Pair the maxi dress with a pair of platform sandals with a cork sole. If the woman was going to be outside, she might pair it with a floppy hat. Women often carried leather handbags decorated to match the dress’ design and a braided handle.

Women’s wrap dress

Wrap dresses were a great option when going out to dinner or the office. These jersey dresses are wrapped around the woman’s body. Most were held in place with a thin fabric tie that was just barely there. While the first ones often were in very bright colors, the colors became less intense over the decade. These dresses came to at least the knee, with many full-length options available. Women often wore platform sandals and carried leather patchwork purses to complete the look.

Women’s punk rock outfit

The punk rock movement was all about dressing in black. Women often started with distressed black jeans. You may find a pair of holy jeans surrounded by gold safety pins, which was the more mainstream choice. Then, they wore a black tee-shirt that often had a favorite band graphic on the back. Stud collars were often the neckwear of choice. In addition to having pierced ears, tongues, belly buttons, and cheeks were pierced. Most women borrowed from men’s boots, with lace-up work boots being popular. Some women shaved their hair all off while others colored it with food dye and spiked it as high as they could get it to stay.

Women’s hippie outfit

Mature woman fun dressed seventies style

Women continuing the hippie movement into the 1970s would have worn bell-bottom jeans with platform shoes or clogs. They often paired it with brightly colored ty- died tee shirts, although Mexican ‘peasant’ blouses were also worn. These white cotton blouses had a narrow square v-neck opening and were decorated with hand embroidery in vibrant colors. Often, there was a bright rick rack on the top. Many options had two large pockets without flaps on the front. Women often paired the look with simple natural stone necklaces and a visor. If a woman needed to carry a handbag, she often carried a small ethnic purse that hung from the shoulder with this look.

Women’s pantsuits

If you were a woman in the 1970s, you probably had more than one pantsuit in your wardrobe. Although not always true, the top and bottom were probably made of stretchy material. High-waisted pants on an elastic waistband were a popular option. They were popularized by the Brady Bunch, which premiered on September 29, 1969. Carol often wore a light purple pantsuit on the show that consisted of a long sleeveless vest worn over a white blouse. The vest had faux buttons down its front and a small pleat at the bottom. She was often seen wearing chunky heeled sandals with this outfit.

Daisy Dukes

Premiering right before the close of the decade, Daisy Dukes quickly became a popular wardrobe choice. This look was created by cutting the legs off a pair of tight-fitting jeans. It was normally worn with a cotton plaid shirt with short cup sleeves. While the cutoff jeans that were allowed to fray naturally fit close to the body, the tops were much looser. On occasion, it is also worn with a halter top or a western shirt left open and tied at the waist in a knot to allow part of the stomach to show. Daisy Duke always had a pair of lightweight summer sandals on her feet.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about these outfit ideas as much as I have enjoyed bringing them to you. Keep reading because I will give you specific ideas on dressing in the 1970s style if you are invited to a party. Instead of heading to a thrift store like hippies often did, I will share how to create these iconic looks from modern pieces.

What do you wear to a 70s party?

By this time, you should have a great idea of what people wore in the 1970s, but you may still be confused about what to wear to a 1970s-themed party. These parties can be great fun, and you should go if you get invited. While you can often find great options at thrift stores, you actually may already have clothes in your wardrobe that can work for these parties. Keeping some guidelines in mind can help you rock the 1970s look.

Men’s fashion ideas for a 70s theme party

The first step in choosing clothes for a 1970s-themed party is deciding the look you want to create. Generally, you have four choices. Gutsy guys may want to go for the short athletic look, especially if they have great-looking legs. In that case, you may want to cut off or tuck under the bottom hem of your favorite pair of shorts and grab a tee shirt. Men can also go for a late hippie look. In that case, think bright colors and bell-bottom pants. Alternatively, it is easy to put together an early punk rock look by dressing in black, but don’t forget the gold safety pins. Finally, guys can easily pull off a business attire by wearing a suit coat.

Long-collared shirts

Pretend you are going to a discotheque by wearing a long-collar shirt. These shirts had extremely long collars that usually ended with a sharp point. There are two different looks that you can choose between. The first look is to wear a tight-fitting shirt with a long collar. The collar should come down the front of the shirt at least 1 in, 2.54 cm. Wear it open down to the bottom button or two and wear an oversized gold medallion. Alternatively, wear a pretty paisley or earth-toned shirt with a fringed leather vest to create an early rock look.

Leisure suits

Leisure suits were all the rage in the 1970s, and you can still easily create this look. The Jerry Rosengarten-designed leisure suits had wide lapels and four front pockets covered by flaps. Where possible, choose one made from polyester that has a wide lapel. The coat and trousers should match. The trousers usually had some flare in the leg. Wear them buttoned up the front with a paisley shirt with a long collar or a roll-top knit shirt. You can wear them with a wide tie or with a neck scarf. Wear them with a black or brown wide belt. Opt between platform shoes or Cuban-heel boots when wearing your leisure suit.

Bell-bottom pants

Bell-bottom pants were all the rage in the early 1970s. Take this look to the extreme by wearing elephant bell-bottom pants when possible as they had 24 in, 60 cm, leg openings. Whichever choice you make, choose a high-waisted pair of jeans that fits well through the knees. Pair them with a tie-dye tee-shirt where you have sewn or ironed on your favorite 70s band logo. The shirt should be long and fit a little loosely to help balance out the look of your wide pants. Opt for platform shoes with a cork sole. Complete the look by wearing a leather headband decorated with beads.

Loud patterns

People have nicknamed the 1970s the Peacock Revolution because of its bold use of color. While tie-dye may be the first idea that comes to your mind, there are many other choices. Paisley prints are a toned-down option where pastels and lighter colors were often used. Many men’s suits and trousers had bold plaid patterns. In other cases, suits were salmon, lime green, or bright green colored. Large geometric shapes were another popular choice. Very few monochromatic outfits were worn, except by punk rockers, and color choices were often complementary or split complementary.


Man sideburns sunglasses

How you style your hair can be vital to pulling off an authentic look at a 1970s party. You can opt for a shag look, be sure to keep the sideburns. On the other hand, opt to shower and forget to brush your hair before throwing on a leather headband. If you are going for a punk rock look, choose gravity-defying hairstyles. While you are spiking your hair as tall as you can get it on top of your head, be sure to color it a bright color. You can get temporary hair coloring at the store or opt to do it with food dye. Alternatively, you may want to shave your hair off or get a talented barber to shave a design into your scalp.


Pick the right shoes to complete your 1970s outfit. Generally, you will want to consider four different choices. Low-profile athletic shoes were popular with punk rockers and guys who loved running. Cowboy boots were a popular choice with those going to the discotheque. These boots were often made of exotic leather and had handpainted designs on them. For everyday wear, platform shoes with soles up to 4 in., 10 cm., thick were a popular choice, especially those with a wood or cork sole. Another popular choice was clogs with a leather upper.

Women’s fashion ideas for a 70s theme party

Women can find lots of choices to wear to a 70s theme party. The great news is that many items still available at your favorite department store have changed very little since the 1970s. Instead of making a considerable investment for the party, consider buying things that you will incorporate into your regular wardrobe afterward. You will look great at the party and get to enjoy the items for a long time later because they have become staples. In other cases, you may have items in your closet already that might even win you a costume prize at a 1970s party.

Halter tops

Halter tops were a popular summertime option throughout the 1970s. In the beginning, women wore them trimmed with a different material than the central part of the top. Bright colors and bold patterns, such as horizontal stripes, were trendy. Halter tops were paired with bell-bottom pants and platform shoes or clogs at the beginning of the decade. Then, it became customary to wear them with knee-length shorts. As the decade was ending, short lengths came up. Choose options made from synthetic fabric to give your outfit a more authentic vibe.

Platform shoes

Platform shoes were a popular option for footwear in the 1970s. They often had extremely thick cork soles. A popular summertime option was a leather sandal platform shoe. These shoes had a single leather strap across the foot to help secure them in place. Some designers, however, took platform shoes to extremes by offering light-up models or ones with a design in the heel. While many options were flat across the sole, others had a thick forefoot area and then rose where the foot arches before ending with a chunky heel.

Bright Colors

While tie-dyed shirts were a popular option during the hippie era, as that period grew to a close, women still wore bright colors. For example, consider the 1970s women’s pantsuits. These polyester outfits often consisted of a brightly colored pattern on top and a pair of pants on the bottom that was the same color as the brightest color on the top. There were also colorful colored options and loud prints in wrap dresses. These are still available in stores, and they have changed very little in design. Just make sure that you choose a brightly colored one. Women in the 1970s also wore bright-colored jumpsuits with black patent leather belts around their waist, so do not limit yourself to just thinking about tee shirts.

Flare pants

Flare pants are an excellent alternative to bell-bottom pants to wear to a 1970s party. While bell-bottom pants were almost always made from denim, flare pants were made from various synthetic materials, including polyester. These pants came in multiple colors, and they flared out a smaller distance starting about mid-calf. These high-waisted pants were almost always worn with a neutral-colored wide belt. Women often paired them with a paisley button-down top with a long collar. They usually wore either platform shoes or Cuban heels with them. Another popular option for footwear with flare pants was earth shoes.

Bell-bottom trousers

Bell-bottom pants were almost always made of denim. The flare starts at the knee instead of the calf in flare pants, and they had much larger leg openings than flare pants. You can pair them with a pretty paisley top or a tied died shirt. If you are going to wear elephant bells, consider pairing it with a long shirt with beadwork on it in a geometric design. Ideally, the shirt will have batwings. If you have longer hair, consider letting it hang loose with a thin leather headband around your head to create a Cher look. You may also want to wear a string of natural beads.


Girl red blazer sunglasses

Almost every woman wore huge sunglasses during the 1970s. The lens on these sunglasses usually had a round shape, traditionally made from plastic. You may also want to wear a mood ring. These rings had a glass bubble that contained a chemical that changed colors according to the person’s mood. You may also want to wear a long bead necklace, especially simple designs with natural stones. Gold jewelry with large peace signs or another statement piece was a popular option. Women also often wore gold oval earrings. Receive bonus points if the earrings are not a perfect oval but have a unique design.

You are now ready to go to a 1970s party as you are armed with facts to amaze your friends about fashion in the 1970s, along with a prize-worthy costume. Keep reading for some concluding thoughts about 1970s clothing for men and women.


I have shared a lot of information with you about 1970s fashion, and why not share the information with some of your friends. Then, plan a 1970s-themed party very soon. Applying the knowledge I have taught is a great way to help you remember it, so gather your friends together and let the good times roll.

If you have any questions, be sure to let me know. I will try to answer them or get an answer for you if I do not know the answer. I have a team of great people backing me up, so we can get a correct answer for you.

While waiting for party day to arrive, check out some of our other posts. They are filled with great information that you will want to know.

Lee este artículo en español: La Moda en los Años 70

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