1970s in fashion

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In 1971 hot pants and bell-bottomed trousers were popular fashion trends

The 1970s fashion, often called the "Me Decade",[1] began with a continuation of the mini skirts, bell-bottoms, and the androgynous hippie look from the late 1960s and eventually became one of the most iconic decades for fashion ever.

Despite several iconic style trends, the world of fashion had generally fallen into disorder for most of the decade, although experimentation with newer styles continued. The 70s were perhaps one of the most individualistic decades for fashion ever. By the early 1970s it was difficult for many people to decide what was in style and what was not.[2] As the general public yearned for variety and comfort, people wore anything that they wanted.[1] Society had become so tolerant of individualistic clothing trends that little could be done to shock the common person. Fashion became more conservative in the late 70s.[2]

Generally the most famous silhouette of the mid and late 1970s for both sexes was that of tight on top and loose on bottom. The 1970s also saw the birth of the indifferent, anti-conformist approach to fashion, which consisted of sweaters, t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, a style which made a comeback in the 1990s.

The top fashion models of the 1970s were Lauren Hutton, Margaux Hemingway, Beverly Johnson, Gia Carangi, Janice Dickinson, Cheryl Tiegs, Jerry Hall, and Iman.


Early 1970s (1970-1973)[edit]

Hippie Look[edit]

Glamour Wear[edit]

By the early 1970s, miniskirts had reached an all-time popularity. This young English woman is wearing a fringed suede miniskirt.

Mid 1970s (1974-1976)[edit]

This photo taken in 1974, shows a girl inspired by the British glam rock craze which had a brief influence on fashion. Her glitter-adorned dress comes from Granny Takes a Trip boutique

Casual Looks[edit]

Active Wear[edit]

Tailored Styles[edit]

Late 1970s (1977-1979)[edit]

Relaxed Look[edit]

Group of friends in 1979. Two of the women are wearing the trendy tube tops, while the woman on the far left is wearing a rayon strapless dress

One-Piece Swimsuits[edit]

Disco Look[edit]

Swedish model Ulla Jones dressed in a lurex halter top and matching flared trousers


Early 1970s (1970-1973)[edit]

Iranian prince Reza Pahlavi wearing velvet Nehru jacket and geometric print scarf, 1973.

Bright Colors[edit]

Mid 1970s (1974-1976)[edit]

Teenage couple in California, 1975. The girl is wearing a crop top and high-waisted trousers. The boy is dressed in the classic t-shirt and jeans, popular male attire in the 1970s

Informal Attire[edit]


Late 1970s (1977-1979)[edit]

Flared jeans and trousers were popular with both sexes as can be seen at this German disco in 1977


Disco style[edit]

1970s Beauty Trends[edit]


In the 1970s, women's hair was usually worn long with a centre parting

Throughout much of the decade, women and teenage girls wore their hair long, with a centre or side parting, which was a style carried over from the late 1960s. Other hairstyles of the early to mid-1970s included the wavy "gypsy" cut, the layered shag, and the "flicked" style, popularly referred to as "wings", in which the hair was flicked into resembling small wings at the temples. This look was popularised by the stars of the television series Charlie's Angels. Blonde-streaked or "frosted" hair was also popular. In 1977, punk singer Debbie Harry of Blondie sparked a new trend with her shoulder-length, dyed platinum blonde hair worn with a long fringe (bangs).

In the 1970s, making one of the popular hairstyles for a woman didn't take a lot of time. These hairstyles, including Afro hairstyle, Shaggy Hairdo and Feathered hair (then known as "Farrah Fawcett hairstyle") were said to be perfect when you're on-the-go and would still keep your expressive style in-check.[20] For Blacks in the United States and elsewhere, the afro was worn by both sexes throughout the decade. It was occasionally sported by whites as an alternative to the uniform long, straight hair which was a fashion mainstay until the arrival of punk and the "disco look" when hair became shorter and centre partings were no longer the mode.

The most iconic women's hairstyle of the 1970s is arguably the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle. Popularized in 1976, the hairstyle was heavily imitated by many American women and girls. It incorporated waves, curls, and layers. The style mostly worn with bangs, but could also be worn with a side parting. To make it even more stylish, women and girls would frost their hair with blonde streaks.[21]

Steve McQueen with crew cut and large sideburns, 1972.

Continuing on from the 1960s, the ducktail and Pompadour hairstyle (then known as the "Elvis Presley hairstyle") were popular among young Italian-American and Mexican-American men in big cities like New York. Large quantities of grease or brylcreem was normally used to keep the hair in place. The early and mid 1970s generally featured longer hair on men, as way of rebelling against the social norms of years past.[22] Sideburns were also worn around the same time. Some of the most popular hairstyles for men include "Long and Luscious" hairstyle, mod haircut, and the "buzzcut" hairstyle popularised by action heroes like Steve McQueen. In the late 1970s, men went for the chop, ranging from crew cuts, to buzz cuts, to a shag. This was mainly done for an athletic look, and sideburns and facial hair went out of style.

Makeup and Cosmetics[edit]

Actress Camille Keaton in 1972. Throughout most of the decade, women preferred light, natural-looking make-up for the daytime

Cosmetics in the 1970s reflected the contradictory roles ascribed for the modern woman.[23] For the first time since 1900, make-up was chosen situationally, rather than in response to monolithic trends.[23] The era's two primary visions were the daytime "natural look" presented by American designers and Cosmopolitan magazine, and the evening aesthetic of sexualized glamour presented by European designers and fashion photographers.[23] In the periphery, punk and glam were also influential. The struggling cosmetics industry attempted to make a comeback, using new marketing and manufacturing practices.

Image gallery[edit]

Images representing the fashion trends of the 1970s.


  1. ^ a b "Troubled Times: 1961-79". Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Clothing, 1961-79". Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Paperpast Yearbook
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Fashion in the 1970s". Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "HIPPIES". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Gaucho Pants". Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
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  8. ^ a b c d e "1970s Dresses & Skirts: Styles, Trends & Pictures". Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Birkenstocks". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Earth Shoes". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "1970s Boots for Women: Styles, Trends & Pictures". Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Mood Rings". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c "Hip Huggers". Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Paperpast Yearbook
  15. ^ "Designer Jeans". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Pendergast, Tom and Sarah (2004). Fashion, Costume and Culture. MI, USA: Thomson Gale. p. 933. ISBN 0-7876-5422-1. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "1970s Fashion for Men & Boys". Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Doc Martens". Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Punk". Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  20. ^ http://www.buzzle.com/articles/1970s-hairstyles.html
  21. ^ "Farrah Fawcett Look". Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Long Hair for Men". Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c De Castelbajac, pp. 147–48.

External links[edit]