The fashion of the 70s was a continuation of the fashion of the 60s, with total freedom in cuts of fantasy and varied colors. The hippie movement is clearly reflected in this decade and some of the trends are preserved to this day.
70’s fashion: general characteristics
The fashion of the 1970s was very diverse, reflecting a new interest in free expression through clothing. The decade included a hippie, bohemian, retro and punk style. The general silhouette was long and thin, with a pile of hair, an androgynous style used by both sexes. Unisex beauty salons appeared, a time when platform shoes appeared, both for men and women.
The fashion of the early 70s continued pop art and psychedelic prints in bright colors of the 60, as well as geometric designs. The bohemian style of the hippies was mixed with a Victorian style with fantastic colors, as well as with ethnic elements. Art Nouveau adds romanticism with the flowing natural lines on posters, which are then moved to Edwardian style necklaces and ruffled chest dresses.
The release of the woman loosened the structures of the uncomfortable undergarments. The Gay Liberation Movement led gender styles and a sense of self-determination. People felt free of social dictates, no longer ruled by elite fashion houses.
The oil crisis led to a recession in the mid-1970s. A poor economy and youth unemployment tightened their pockets. An educated youth looked for clothes that express their individuality, as well as cheap.
The androgyny of 1970
As for the photographs of people in the 1970s, you can see that men and women wore similar styles. High-waisted pants were worn by both sexes. At the beginning of the decade, the legs were flared, towards the end of the decade, the legs were very wide. T-shirts with short and long sleeves were worn tight and under pants.
Women wore pants more often than ever. Trouser suits became common work clothes for women, and were combined with large, pointed collar shirts and male jackets.
The men began to wear flowing scarves and bright colors, which were previously reserved for women.
Hippies and Bohemians
A new interest in rural life and crafts was awakened. The followers of this trend wore simple clothes based on European peasant dress and ethnic styles. The shirts and dresses were loose, soft and simple cuts. Dresses based on Victorian and Edwardian styles became so popular that they were often used at weddings. They wore sandals, clogs or boots.
Dashikis and Caftanes were comfortable and attractive. The curly hair was released from the restrictions of the past and began to use the afro style. Men and women wore manes of wild curls.
Layered pearls and bracelets, and lots of large rings, were popular in this decade.
In the 1960s, young people went to dance clubs called discos. In 1970 a new style of dance music was called “disco”, a subculture popularized by young African-Americans and Latinos.
In the 70s, urban youth sought glamor in dance clubs. The women wore sleeveless dresses or satin fabric pants, decorated with sequins. The men wore tight, bright pants and shirts below open halfway to the chest. Gold necklaces or medallions completed the look.
Disco life was portrayed in the 1977 movie, Fever Saturday Night.
The recession of the mid-1970s lowered the superficiality of previous styles. A harassed working-class mentality led to a harder, anti-social reaction mood. Rebelling against the hippie movement and the elite culture, Punk embraced the dirtiest aspects of society, based on a low class delinquent culture. Torn pants, disheveled black hair and chains like jewels epitomized a youth that felt marginalized by unemployment and a dark future.
Tight black pants featured large zippers, straps and studs. The women wore miniskirts with broken fishnet stockings. Great work boots or exaggerated platforms. Wild hair molded into spikes and often dyed bright colors not natural – green or bright pink. The faces were pale, accented by dark eyes and dark red or black lipstick.
Punk has become a significant influence on fashion for many years and can still be seen on the catwalks of today.
Birth of imitations and cheap materials
The cheap imitations of the early 70’s, of high-end designs, appeared in department stores and new discount stores. They used synthetic materials such as rayon or polyester.