70s fashion began where the 60s left off. Mini skirts were popular and the flower power influence was everywhere. 60s' trends first adopted by the beautiful people filtered into mainstream wear. Trousers were flared and shirts had big collars. For men, the kipper tie was soon standard wear with a suit.
These girls (above) are at a party in the summer of 1970. They show that the mini skirt was far from dead.
70s' fashion took on a multitude of different styles and influences. As well as the hippy style of the late sixties, there was nostalgia for the past. First for the 20s and 30s, then the 40s and 50s and finally the Edwardian era. There was also concern for the environment and strong ethnic influences.
Men's fashion adopted a look that would have been considered too feminine a few years earlier. Shirts were tight fitting with big collars and were brightly patterned. There was also a trend towards unisex clothes.
The formal suit was still expected to be worn to a dinner party in the 70s; for younger men it was usually only worn in the office or for formal occasions. Jeans, increasingly flared, were popular with men and women for everyday wear.
By the end of the decade, change was on the way. Punk rejected everything that had gone before.
Mini, midi or maxi
The popularity of the mini skirt was challenged in the early 70s and a group of (male) truckers even organised a campaign to bring it back in 1970. However, the mini remained popular in the early years of the 70s, but women now could chose between, mini, midi, (mid-calf length) or maxi (full length) skirts.
Hot pants, ultra short shorts, sometimes with a bib and braces, were a variation on the theme. The girl on the above, right, is wearing a pair of navy hot pants with long white socks. Her blouse is in a floral pattern and has a big collar with rounded corners.
Longer dresses, inspired by the hippy era of the late sixties, were also in fashion, with paisley or floral patterns being popular.
I lived in Portsmouth in 1970/71/72 and was aged 16-18 at that time so had the best of it. Hot pants, mini skirt/dress, long dress and maxi coat, wide brimmed hats, seed bead jewellery and a headband round my head!! I was a true hippy to begin with and went to the Isle of Wight pop festival in 1970. Chris
Flares and platform soles
Two trends defined the 70s in a fashion sense: flared trousers and platform soles. Flares were derived from the hippy fashion for loon pants of the late 60s. They were worn by men and women. The flare was from the knee and reached exaggerated proportions in the middle years of the 70s. The trousers were often hipsters, sitting on the hips rather than the waist, and tight fitting.
The combination of flares and denim made flared jeans the fashion phenomenon of the decade.
Platform soles were mainly worn by women and more fashionable men. There were health warnings about damage that could be caused to the back in later life, but the fashion did not last long enough for that to have an effect. There was an element of thirties retro in the style of some of the shoes, which echoed the thirties' love of two-tone or co-respondent black and cream or brown and cream colours. Bright colours also gave the shoes more of a space age look.
Nostalgia had a big influence on fashion in the 70s. Barbara Hulanicki's Biba label popularised a look derived from the 20s and 30s. There was a brief fashion for loudly checked tweed Oxford Bags for men and women from around 1972. These were usually worn with platform soled shoes in 30s style two-tone patterns.
Biba took over venerable, old London department store, Derry and Toms, in 1973 and turned it into an Art Deco palace. The Biba store became a hip meeting place and a complete lifestyle emporium. The Biba look was a long cotton skirt, worn with a long sleeved shirt or smock, and topped with a floppy brimmed hat.
Biba was ahead of its time in providing a complete lifestyle store. However, Biba did not make commercial sense; it was more of a place to hang out than to shop. A large part of the store's floor space was not used to sell merchandise. Big Biba, as the store became known, closed two years later.
Laura Ashley, founded by Bernard and Laura Ashley in the 1950s, looked back further when they introduced British women to Edwardian style dresses and nineteenth century inspired floral prints in the mid-70s. Laura Ashley, unlike Biba, was commercially successful and is still going strong today, although sadly Laura Ashley herself met an untimely death in 1985.
The 70s were more relaxed than the 60s. However, on formal occasions and in the office men still wore suits. The kipper tie, favoured by the fashionable in the late sixties, became a standard men's accessory.
For women, long dresses were often worn for formal occasions. This wedding, left, is from 1970. The lady's floppy hat and long dress drew inspiration from the hippy era as well as nostalgia for the 1930s. The brown colour, also derived from the 1930s, was very popular throughout the 70s.
Long hair was fashionable for both men and women. Beards were also popular. This again was a hangover from the flower power years of the late 60s. In many peoples' minds psychedelia was very much in, although the pop music scene had moved on by then.
Jeans and the casual look
In the more relaxed mood of the 70s, jeans were increasingly popular. Initially little changed from the sixties, but by the mid seventies most people were wearing flares. Printed t-shirts were also increasingly popular in the 70s, as were trainers and canvas shoes.
Late 70s fashion
By the end of the 70s, flares were still mainstream fashion. This group, left, shows two younger men with long hair. One wears a suede safari jacket with a wide collar and brown, flared trousers. This look was favoured by Brodie and Doyle in the TV series, 'The Professionals'. The other young man with a short leather jacket and flared blue jeans is more casual and younger looking. The older man has a beard (a very fashionable look in the 70s) and wears a wet-look type anorak. The woman is wearing a suit.
Flares, denim, long hair and cheesecloth shirts were the staple of 70s men's fashion throughout most of the decade. Inspired by the hippy movement of the late sixties, this look, echoing the hippy dream of Free Love and optimism, did not fit with the closing years of the 70s, but mainstream fashion was unable to change.
70s Punk fashion
Punk came to most people's attention from 1977 onwards through the publicity surrounding the original Punk band, The Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols' promoter, Malcolm McLaren, together with his partner, designer Vivian Westwood, created the original Punk look. Their shop at 430 Kings Road, originally named 'Let it Rock', a Ted revival store, was called 'Sex' at the time the Sex Pistols band appeared. The look was based on a sexual fetish for black leather, mainly for its shock value, combined with ripped t-shirts carrying slogans designed to provoke. McLaren and Westwood changed their shop's name again to 'Seditionaries: Clothes for Heroes' at the end of 1976. The new name heralded a wholly Punk outlook. The stock featured bondage trousers, bondage dresses and a new t-shirt featuring the Punk message, "Destroy".
Punk was a rejection of anything that was considered good taste. Ripped and bleached clothes were part of the look, as was spiked hair, dyed in bright colours. Black make up and safety pins as earrings were often worn. For most Punks, quite a few of whom were unemployed, the look could easily be created from modifying second-hand clothes rather than from a trip to the Kings Road.
Punk itself lasted into the early 80s. Its importance though, was as a catalyst for change in the fashion world. Punk rejected the flared jeans and cheesecloth shirts which were popular mainstream fashion. It rejected the hippy style and the hippy view of the world.
Late 70s fashion trends
The end of the seventies saw the appearance of a number of youth cults formed formed in the wake of Punk. Amongst those was a revival of the Mod style of the sixties, as well as the Teddy Boy look of the fifties.
Mainstream youth fashion also changed dramatically; the 1980 film, 'Gregory's Girl' illustrates how quickly. One of Gregory's mates, who is a year older, has left school and got a job as a window cleaner. He has saved his money to buy a white jacket with enormous lapels. Gregory's contemporary, Steve, has a white jacket with lapels an inch wide. There was always a particular way to wear a school tie. In 1979 the knot was tied very near the wide end. The 3 inch long tie was tucked into a pullover, to give the impression it was a kipper tie. From 1980, it was folded in half length ways to reduce the width and pressed with an iron so it stayed put.
By 1980, school ties were often worn 'back to front' so that the 'thin end' was prominent. The fat end was tucked into the school shirt, behind the knot. A bit uncomfortable, but very trendy. Al
I was coming into my teens in 1979, but the punk look was still very much for the minority and most kids still had longish hair, shirts with big collars and flared trousers, although the flares were becoming smaller. Locally the mod revival at the end of 1979 killed off this fashion rather than punk. By 1981 seventies fashions and music had become a total joke and almost no one under 50 would be seen dead in flares. Even punk was being classed as old hat and too seventies. Glenn A
High fashion was very different at the end of the 70s. Ralph Lauren designed the clothes for the hit Woody Allen film, 'Annie Hall' in 1977. There was a distinct 80s feel to the outfits worn by Annie (Diane Keaton), who wore crumpled socks, full skirts and layered jackets.
Young people dropped flares and wide collars with breath taking speed. Older people were slower to change from the 70s look, but by around 1983, the archetypal 70s style was extinct.
Comments on 70s fashion:
"In the early 70s the fashions were changing. Shirts had those large penny collars flared trousers were happening. Also there was period where the smart dressed man wore a double breasted blazer with a matching tie and shirt rather wide ties. If I remember, with the girls wearing platform sole shoes, they were taller than the men. So platform shoes became the style for men. Of course, by the mid 70s men wore skin tight see through shirts open to the waist." Andrew Eves
"I'm a freelance journalist writing a feature for a glossy women's magazine about the fact that 70s and 80s fashion is becoming trendy again, with jumpsuits, puffball skirts, bleached denim, safari gear etc hitting the shops this summer. I'm trying to get in touch with people who have pictures of themselves wearing items like this at the time they were first popular.
Anyone taking part would be paid 20. I'm on an urgent deadline so please get in touch ASAP with firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested and I'll tell you more about it! "Judy Yorke
"it looks like a pink razorblade" Jack Daniels
"I have recently come into possesion of a Neon dancing lady sign that I have been told was from a shop on the Kings Road does anyone have any more info on this" Silvana Houghton
"I am doing a school project and this website is really useful. fanks!!!!" Kia
"i love 70s clothing i stil wear it :) peace out babe :P love yu all xx" Fish
"love the platform shoes. I have some boots in black just like them." harriette
"Very useful info! It was all about the 70's. Thanks" Wilf Hanson
"OMJ! I so totally adore this site. I rocks and it is like totally like totally awesome. I got me through tough times when i didnt know what to do." Nick Jenas
"hi im studying fashion its great!" leila
"there fashion is very cool and exciting. And could you add a bit more facts." Ben
"very useful for a school project. THANKS!!!" Bob
"As my handle or moniker says, I am the 70s man! I wear these clothes, listen to music on vinyl LPs, and own a 1974 Chevy Nova with pride. This stuff is too good it'll NEVER go out of style man! Can you all dig THAT?!" That70sMan
In case, like me, you were wondering what a '74 Chevy Nova might look like, I've found a picture. Actually this car is from 1973. It is a Chevrolet SS Nova Coupé. Thanks That70sMan, really cool car!
"i think the 70s fashoin is really good i love the clothes and there hair." amanda
"Hi.. this website was sooo helpful but please could you add more about the 90's fashion as i had trouble finding out about it for my school project! I love the punk rock look !!! woooo !! x" Cessiiee
"I was at primary school for most of the 70's...boys would wear hand knitted baraclavas and the girls all wore furry hats with strings and pom poms on the end or crocheted hats. There were lots of dungrees and cheesecloth shirts...hmmmm" lilya03
"This website has helped me look for clothes to help me find out what to where for my school performance 'disco inferno'" ami
"this site iss great lovee iht ! Thanks Millions :-D " Daniellee....
"i'm doin a school project and this website helped, so did the comments fnx x" kim
"hi.. it helped me do a piece of coursework it is great thanks :P" Eleighsha Shearer
"this helped me loads for my hw project ta. xoxox" gorgus gal
"Help me with school project! Ty. :3" Kali
"thank you" lorraine Cano
"i love 70s fashion it rocks" greame
"I lived in Portsmouth in 1970/71/72 and was aged 16-18 at that time so had the best of it. Hot pants, mini skirt/dress, long dress and maxi coat, wide brimmed hats, seed bead jewellery and a headband round my head!! I was a true hippy to begin with and went to the Isle of Wight pop festival in 1970. The fashion was the best ever and I love the revival of it all but am too old to wear it now!!" Chris
"I'm doing my final fashion project on music and fashion from the 60's to the 80's and this has been a great help !" Heidi
"I love the 70s !!! I love those platform shoes !!!!!!!" victoria
"nice =D" anonymous
"70s clothes made people look like idiots" Zach
"I think 70's fashion is so cool and most of it comes back into fashion for EG. Plimsols" Emily
"Some of the outfits were kinda cute, but other then that im glad i wasnt born back then!! ha ha. lameee!, but it has been a big help on my project! =] <33" Sara
"wow its so good." lauren
"By 1980, school ties were often worn 'back to front' so that the 'thin end' was prominent. The fat end was tucked into the school shirt, behind the knot. A bit uncomfortable, but very trendy." Al
"i am doing it at school very helpful Thanks!!" charlie
"Punk was the best. Anti-establishment and anarchist. way to go, contreversy. <3" HAMM
"we r doing a project about fashion through the ages and this website was very helpful!!!!!! thanks" bob
"this is sooo sweet! i love this fashion! and i will for ever! xxoxx" jess_x
"Cool dude" Nikky
"really good" maddison gray
"this website is great thank you" person
"thanks. it helped on my assignment." devin o
"Toally rocking" fredster
"hi i am only 11 and we are doing A PROJECT ON FASHION IN THE 70S AND IT REALLY HELPED" abby rogers
"70s made a good fashion statement about America at that time. " Kris
"did they wear tie die?" Danielle Bone
"THIS WEB SITE IS FREAKIN SKITTLES MAN! AWESOME!" KEKE.P
"heya i think that this site is great and it helped me alot in my tutor lesson as we are doing a presantation about 70s fashion..." demi wilkinson
"I have newspaper advertisements for fashion shops from 1969 featuring flared trousers, not 'loon pants'. This fashion would appear to have been establishing itself as early as 1968. The 1969 ads also feature the maxi skirt and maxi coat. The 1960s were amazingly influential. There is also an advertisement from November 1969 featuring the space hopper, which is recorded by some as arriving in the UK in 1971." Andrew Brett
"Oh no.Hideous and our parents forced us to wear things like this as children. Flared spacesuits in orange and blue!! Call the NSPCC!!" wendy
"i love the 70's! but cant find any proper 70's looking clothes anywhere! anyone know where i can get some?" pat
"this site was SOooooooooo helpfu l u saveed my LIFE !!! lol" caribou blue
"hey thxs it helped me a lot lv u" poopoo
"it was great with loads of info for my projetc i got a 7a and im in year five thanx alot<3 ♣M♥U" kakaboom
"Ya☻..I love the retro clothes.♥..And I love all the retro thinxs...thanx 4 this site ♪♫..70愀 ♠rocks♠" Tereza
"liked the fashion clothes :) & thnx 4 the clothes ilysfm" danielle
"perfect desing . i love all the that has a relicion with the fashion !" norma
"Lvin Da Fashion ! Hope It Cms Back Soon! xx Lve Shopaholicz xx" Aimee - Paige
"70's fashion sucks dude! peace out to all my fishes!" fish minion
"i fink there style is crazy but thats the 70s 4 ya !!! thnx 2 this website ive got on with my fashion project !! im on the 80s now ! lv xx rachel xx" rachel
"PAT, JENNY AND EVERYONE ELSE THAT WANTS HELP ABOUT FASHION. I AM AN 80 YEAR OLD WOMEN WHO WAS A FASHIONIST IN THE 70\'S AND 60'S. SO ANY HELP GUYS AND I'LL BE HERE WHERE TO FIND IT AND HOW TO WEAR IT. IVE KNOW IT ALL! LOVE FROM JOANNEX" JOANNE
"I was coming into my teens in 1979, but the punk look was still very much for the minority and most kids still had longish hair, shirts with big collars and flared trousers, although the flares were becoming smaller. Locally the mod revival at the end of 1979 killed off this fashion rather than punk. By 1981 seventies fashions and music had become a total joke and almost no one under 50 would be seen dead in flares. Even punk was being classed as old hat and too seventies." Glenn A
"i love fashion i alwayway have and i always will =] anyway i found this really helpful.i had to do a esay for school on this and it was a hugh help.so thanks lots xxoxx" melodie
"hy i am 9 years old and i love all your fashin a LOT!!!!ttyl" sunny lawrence
"HILARIOUS! Came across this website while organising a 70's murder mystery party and it has been great for food and clothes ideas....as I was born early 70's, I only have a vague recollection of the full extent of the flare and wedge power - but what I didn't bank on was so many of the comments coming from mere babes doing 70's school projects like it was a history project!! Oh my god...I'm getting old!" lo la
"really helpful thanks, i needed this information for a performance and the earer is 1970's this site was informative and helped me alot" Sophiee
"70's punk is greaat" Janizzle
"For me the the early 70's was the change from skinheads to suedeheads, moving up from church hall discos to Scamps in Sutton & Croydon, the 'great' smell of Brut, the fragrance of choice for the girls was Styx or Gingham, smart clothes, a razor sharp crease on your trousers, polished shoes, listening to the best music on import labels and where a night out didn't include getting rat ar*ed on drink or drugs nor was a punch up the the best end to the night. Where tattoos on girls were as rare a bird cr*p in cuckoo clocks, and by todays standards we had respect for ourselves and others.
I don't like getting old and even allowing for the rose coloured specs looking back creates, give them nights out anytime, we certainly had the better times, fashion and music...... Good Times" Bigbloke
"don't forget that the mod revival started around 1976/7, thanks to The Jam, and lasted till about 1984. i was a mod from 1983-4, and remember fashionized bowling shoes on sale, red white and blue, plain white, plain black, black, and, white, and black and red." wayne
"This is really gd! I love the t shirt tucked in to shorts & braces look :)x" Alissia
"I love this page, thanks for help on a project!" Franky
"What did kids wear in the 70's during summer?!" Katie Matheny
"i think the 70s fashion was good looking and totaly amazing than today." victoria davies
Thank you very much for your time." Reneece-Douglas 09/05/2010
Already I am heavily into disco and funk, plus am planning to have a 70's and 80's birthday party! Thank you to this site just for existing, and being a place that I can point my friends to!" Serena 29/08/2010
although possibly at the turn of 75 and into 1976 shops on London's Kings Rd like Acme attractions ,and Johnsons were selling retro American 50s gear,and at a cheaper price you could buy A line american looking suits and bum freezer jackets at your local Oxfam or such like.
the look was in tandem with some punk wear i.e. mohair jumpers check shirts,thin ties with small collared shirts, peg trousers,but also went on to embrace suits in all sorts of colors and tartan patters.
Winkle picker shoes, (a throw back from the 60s that could be bought from old stock at old shoe shops)plastic sandals,military overalls,,American like glen miller overcoats,and collage jackets all this was going on in club circles nationwide,while we danced to the likes of Brass Construction,or James Brown,,remember also there was a swing revival at this time,that didn't last too long.
Girls also wore fish tail pencil skirts or two piecce suits fom Oxfam stuff which is now classed as vintage,long 1950s style dresses with arm length black gloves,i and shot jackets.
I guess if you remember the hit comedy Happy Days then a lot of that stuff was copied by us,especially for day wear.
In closing i remember buying in Oxfam, an old 50s looking A line peg trouser suit (sort of gene kelly ish) buying a heap of white material and getting a friend to cut IT up and template the suit ready to make my new white suit,white with winkle pickers (poser or what)
All this was going on when most of the youth were still in god awful bags or flares,WE STOOD APART FROM YOUR AVERAGE FASHION YOUTH,BEING STARED AND POINTED AT MADE IT EVEN BETTER.I KNOW ALSO THAT FROM VISITING CLUBS IN LONDON,BOUNMOUTH,TORQUAY BRISTOL,NEWPORT (GWENT) ETC THAT THIS JUST WAS'NT A LOCALISED THING,
SOULIE" Ian Batt. 03/10/2010
this website is great thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!! x" danniiiii 02/11/2010
I was reading an article wrote by Bill Biggs in Slash Magazine he quotes, " the shock effect of the punk movement was fine but with no agenda or set of tangible set of values, only the style was absorbed in to popular culture."
- Do you think the young Punks we see today are true punks, the same as when punk first emerged? and have the same values?" Sarah 19/01/2011
That would help me pass year 12 D: Oh well!
I'll keep looking!" Andrea 13/03/2012
Because the skirts were now so short as to be very revealing and because tights weren't that well made at first (a horrible seam round the gusset) girls took to wearing two pairs of knickers!!! one under and one over their tights. Great for us guys :-)" Graham 01/05/2014
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Vintage, retro & social history