70s Fashion

Three of these girls are showing that the mini was far from dead in 1970

70s fashion began where the 60s left off. Mini skirts were popular and flower power influenced everything. 60s' trends first adopted by the beautiful people became mainstream. Trousers were flared and shirts had big collars. For men the kipper tie soon became standard wear.

These girls (left) 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, 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 a strong ethnic influence.

Men's fashion adopted a look that would have been considered feminine a few years earlier. Shirts were tight fitting with big collars. Paisley or floral patterns were popular. There was also a trend towards unisex clothes.

There was a brief fashion for brightly patterned apache scarfs in the early 1970s.

The formal suit was still expected at dinner party in the 70s. But for younger men it was only worn in the office and 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.

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

Mini, midi or maxi

The popularity of the mini skirt was challenged in the early 70s and a group of (male) truckers organised a campaign to bring it back in 1970. The mini remained popular in the early 70s. But women could now choose 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.

Longer dresses and skirts were fashionable
from 1970

Longer dresses, inspired by the hippy era of the late sixties, were also in fashion. Paisley and floral patterns were 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

Platform shoe, 1970s

Two trends defined the 70s in a fashion sense: flared trousers and platform soles. Flares came from the hippy fashion for loon pants of the late 60s. Both men and women wore flared trousers. The flare was from the knee and reached exaggerated proportions in the mid-70s. Trousers were 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 worn by women and more fashionable men. Doctors issued health warnings about damage to the back in later life. But the fashion did not last long enough for people to have problems.

There was an element of thirties retro in the style of some of the shoes. They echoed the thirties' love of two-tone or co-respondent black and cream or brown and cream colours, but had a 70s twist. Bright colours also gave the shoes a space age look.


Long waistcoat, by Biba, 1970s Biba foodhall bag detail, 1970s

Nostalgia

Nostalgia had a big influence on fashion in the 70s. Barbara Hulanicki's Biba label popularised the look of the 20s and 30s. There was a brief fashion for loudly checked tweed Oxford Bags for men and women from around 1972. People wore them with platform soles in 30s' style two-tone patterns.

In 1973 Biba turned the venerable London department store, Derry and Toms, into an Art Deco palace. The new store, Big Biba, 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. But it did not make commercial sense. Biba was a place to hang out rather than to shop. A large part of the store's floor space was not used to sell merchandise. Big Biba closed two years later.

Laura Ashely halterneck dress, printed cotton, 1973

Laura Ashley, founded by Bernard and Laura Ashley in the 1950s, looked back even further. 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. It is still going today, although sadly Laura Ashley herself met an untimely death in 1985.

Formal occasions

For women the long dress was fashionable
in the 70s, for formal ocassions men still wore suits

The 70s were more relaxed than the 60s. But on formal occasions and in the office men still wore suits. The kipper tie, favoured by the fashionable in the late sixties, was a standard men's accessory.

Women wore long dresses 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 was a hangover from the flower power years of the late 60s. In many peoples' minds psychedelia was very much in, although the music scene had moved on by then.


Jeans and printed tee-shirts were increasingly popular in the 70s

Jeans and the casual look

In the more relaxed mood of the 70s jeans were popular. Initially little changed from the sixties, by the mid seventies most people were wearing flares. Printed t-shirts were also a hit, as were trainers and canvas shoes.

Late 70s fashion

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. 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 trouser suit.

Flares, denim, long hair and cheesecloth shirts were the staple of 70s men's fashion. Inspired by the hippy movement of the late 60s, this look echoed the hippy dream of free love and optimism. It did not fit with the closing years of the 70s, but mainstream fashion was unable to change.

Punk with Mohican hairstyle

70s Punk fashion

Punk came to most people's attention in 1977 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 for its shock value. It was 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 good taste. Ripped and bleached clothes were part of the look, as was spiked hair, dyed in bright colours. Punks wore black make up and safety pins as earrings. For most Punks, quite a few of whom were unemployed, the look came from modifyied 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 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' shows how quickly. One of Gregory's mates, Billy, who is a year older, has left school and got a job as a window cleaner. Billy 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 1980s' feel to the outfits worn by Annie (Diane Keaton), who wore crumpled socks, full skirts and layered jackets.

More fashionable men dropped the wide lapels and kipper ties in 1979. Pleated trousers sometimes with turn-ups crept into fashion. Jackets had narrower lapels and ties shunk to three inches in width.

Older people were slower to change from the 1970s look, but by around 1983, the 70s style was extinct.

Comments on 70s fashion:

1973 Chevrolet Nova SS Coupe (image by Bull-Dozer)

"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 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

"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

"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 helped so much for my fashion poster!! thought the female mohawks were a little weird though lol" MissyMCH 21/04/2010

"im finding a gorgeous stuff for my prom night.our themes is 70's.hmm..dont know what to wear.." holly pipe virgin 23/04/2010

"hi im rosie and im 11 im doing a HISTORY PROJECT on fashion in the 70s !!!!!!!!!" Rosiiiee 26/04/2010

"me doing history project from 1945 to 2010 and i'm on the 70s!!!" anonymous 02/05/2010

"im doing a fifteith jubilee for my school and im in the seventies" Brittany 06/05/2010

"I am a student at Stanmore College in London and I am currently studying Print-Based media. For my Journalist assignment I am looking at male fashion and how it relates to culture. I was just wondering if it would be possible for me to interview someone via email.

Thank you very much for your time." Reneece-Douglas 09/05/2010

"This website did not meet all of my needs... :(" Alicia Freeman 10/05/2010

"awesome stuff! Can't imagine wearing it tho . . . :) this site rocks; it matches all of my textiles teacher's criteria!XD" Feathersong 11/05/2010

"i cant seem to find any pictures of men" emily 11/05/2010

"The seventies style is so awesome. I love the hats and tops...." sarah 11/05/2010

"that girl had the same name as me! and came on the same day as me!:D ▼ ↑" katlin 16/05/2010

" im doing a project for popular time eras and this helped ALOT!!! thnx 4 the help ;) and mr. yeargan rox! peace out dudes!" dude ette 16/05/2010

"i need help my closet is full of dated (this time)clothes, where do i go to find 70s dated clothes??!!" poopoo 19/05/2010

"the 70s were probably pretty cool,considering im 11." Serena 19/05/2010

"i loved this article it really helped me with my research on the 1970's. it gave me a realistic picture of what it was like thank you very much for being such a help. i love the 1970'sit sounds like an amazing. my biggest wish has always been to time travel back into the 1970's........that would be amazing." christina smith 22/05/2010

"i am just looking for some 70s clotes for my schools 70s costum copetition..:)" andrea nunez 02/06/2010

"ahhhh the 70s i sound lika old person lol yhhh this website pretty cwl inti" Samatha 02/06/2010

"thnx" me 11/06/2010

"I still rock my bellbottoms i dont care what no one says.." Princeton Cockrell 19/06/2010

"Great website, to all those interested in the Punk Fashion of the 70s, go to http://yearzeromusic.com/distribution.aspx which sells some really cool accessories from the legendary 70s band X Ray Spex" Josh 06/07/2010

"doing my history profect bout fashion and this helps mee much :D" JESSSICAAA ;D 13/07/2010

"Very Very Very useful for school project!" Brittain 20/07/2010

"thanks a lot (: it was very helpful for my school project :D :D and from the look of it, I totally wanna live in the 70s (:" brooke c 29/07/2010

"I just want to thank the person who created this AMAZING website! It has inspired every aspect of my life and I'm working hard to re-create a 70's vibe in my community. I've completely redesigned my wardrobe. This has changed my whole out look on life. I LOVE YOU GUYS SOO MUCH! Thankyou so much ily babes xoxoxox" sandra70s!!!! 02/08/2010

"yaaaaaah thankzxxx 2 dis web i did mi home work in tym thankzzzzzz xx jenna" jenna 09/08/2010

"The 70s was the worst fashion era of any.Platform shoes,bright satin trousers, lurid colours, flares. Glam rock it wasn't. It was trash.All the same I wore it & now cringe at the thought." Nichola 12/08/2010

"I'm 19 and yet I'd rather wear clothes from the seventies its better than the crap that people wear today and call it fashion fashion doesn't even exist its all in your heads and everything is just being recycled over and its called fashion this world is so backwards" kioa scott 21/08/2010

"I'm 12 and am having a ball exploring the 70's era to influence my music and fashion tastes.

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

"hello i need some help with my assignent i hve to find out what people wear in the 70's so i can wear it for my dance assignment thx sooooooooo much xx" meagan 02/09/2010

"Interesting to note that you've missed the whole vergining funk soul boy look that that predated the move into 80s nu romanticism,and the Zoot suit Kid Creole look.

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,

REGARDS
SOULIE" Ian Batt. 03/10/2010

"My schools homecoming week is comin up and one of the days is 70's and this reeely helped. Thanks" Randommm 08/10/2010

"it gave me an A on my asignment ..i think ,i didnt hand it in yet:)but i will i tell u if i did" angel rock 27/10/2010

"Wow, you really now alot about the 70's. Ever thought about making a page about the 60's when the Beatles were in. We were like the most famous people in the world." Paul Mcartney 01/11/2010

"hi this really helped me with my school work and it was so interesting to find out about all the different fashion designs.
this website is great thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!! x" danniiiii 02/11/2010

"cool cool" Anton 03/11/2010

"This helped soooooo much and the girl with the pink mohawk waz Awesome!!!!!!!!!" Peat 04/11/2010

"I'm really glad that this waz here to help me!!! I think that this will make my project even better. This is exactly what I needed. :)" x 05/11/2010

"THIS WAS SOO HELPFUL!!! thnx soooo much. :)" >x 05/11/2010

"This was awesome for my project!!!!!!!!!" TwinA 05/11/2010

"Really useful website. I had to do a project in group about the 70's. Thanks a lot =)" Martin 13/11/2010

"please give us something more" ONYI4HANNAH 07/12/2010

"Can you please give us more information, ALOT more.. I need more for my assignment.. THANKYOU :)" 12/12/2010 12/12/2010

"i love this site!!!" adam williams 05/01/2011

"i love this site too adam!!! go 70's" tim widowski 05/01/2011

"This site is garbage. Big thumbs down." yinki jajinki 06/01/2011

"good morning...this is usefull...but not whta i was looking for soo........................................................................i will find it usefull later though xD THANKYOU I SUPPOSE." KATIEEEEEE. rah. D: 11/01/2011

"Hi all! I am a final year student and am currently working on a dissertation on identity. I have been looking at the punk era in comparism to todays society and i was wondering if i could get your opinion on one questions?

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

"Why do pepole go around like this now days then?" Jack Green 24/01/2011

"haha helped me with my fashion and beauty project!! :D" maisie 27/01/2011

"70's fashion is in this season losers, so get shopping!!" Beverly Hills 02/02/2011

"i like this web but needs better work i am age 15 and i live in Aberdeen." crosscontry girl 09/02/2011

"Hey, the '70s ROCKED!! I own a '74 Firebird and a '74 Charger. I also own not one, but several vintage pair of mens vintage doubleknit, dark brown polyester slacks with the slit pockets in back and the scoop horizontal pockets up front. Look very classy, and get compliments from strangers! Long live the '70s" Jayson 09/02/2011

"cool im doin a project of all the 1900s tiring but fun xxx :D" sophie bloomer 15/02/2011

"platform shoes are so ugly glad the fashion today changed. :) I only look forward to what my kids think of our clothing today lol" Autumn (: 25/02/2011

"loved this website a lot! really helped with my project. Dont like the clothes though.yuk!" megan 6/3/11 06/03/2011

"Don't forget feather cuts,they were mullets for girls. Colours-yellow, brown, purple, white. Ravel shoes- I rejected it all and became a punk, all my clothes came from jumble sales" Deb 28/03/2011

"Thank you so much for making this site! I have to do a decades project for school and this site helped so much! =D" Korihana 14/04/2011

"forever indebted to you guys. this page rocks. this truly show the power of fashion in the 70's and how much of a big impact fashion is in todays society. ^^" Emvee 07/05/2011

"Damn!!!!! These clothes are cool I'm emo/punk/rock. Also scene. Look it up it's my style!!!!!" Mia Nunziato 15/05/2011

"this website really helped me for my history project! its nice to know that people are using their time to put information on her to help others, thannks foo! :D" ------ 19/05/2011

"Dressed like Francis Rossi of the Quo and my pride and joy was a denim waistcoat! Later on bought a long denim coat with fake lambswool." Howard 06/07/2011

"The 70's was the last decade for great TV shows. Just thinking back to CBS's saturday comedy night line up: All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnet Show. That golden age of superior quality comedy is gone forever." Tim 17/08/2011

"oh gawd this site has made me cry...in a happy way! I loved my hotpants and platforms! those WERE the days.." ella 18/10/2011

"Does anyone remember the uni-sex Crombie coat with the tudor rose on the pocket? I wanted one for ages and ny Mum eventually gave in! I also had a pair of cream platform sandals which were so huge that one day I twisted my ankle on them! It still didn't put me off though. Two things I was never allowed was a poncho and a feather cut!!" kathy everitt 27/10/2011

"Helped me with my last-minute homework. Thanks!!!!" Noodle 22/01/2012

"If only this told me about children's fashion.
That would help me pass year 12 D: Oh well!
I'll keep looking!" Andrea 13/03/2012

"I liked the Friesennerz Jackets they were smart colourful and sexy please bbring them back prefably rubber proofed because rubber is better for the Enviornment." Paul 25/03/2012

"Doing a school project this was tons of help!!! Thanks bunches" Brekke 02/05/2012

"my school project needed to show about the fashion of the 70's, THIS HELPED A LOT!" someone random 14/05/2012

"Everyone finds this helpfull with progects and i am another one of those types of apreciaters" Autumn Beddoe 30/05/2012

"it helped with my poster thanks to them i finished my poster" aaryan 11/06/2012

"hey im doing a school project on this and it helped alot thanks lol love the fashion" ria 02/07/2012

"Thanks I have to dress up in 70s clothes at school this helped thanks" amber 14/02/2013

"very useful website. thanks :D" hannah 22/02/2013

"Can any one remember the name of the nightware partys they use to have at home in the late 60s early 70s was called x" Karen 17/03/2013

"I have 6 closets packed with 60's 70's style clothing, excellent condition..anyone interested????" Barb 02/04/2013

"I'm coming to this thread a little late but here goes. Re mini skirts! Although the maxi was popular over the Winter of 70 going into 71, the mini soon came back, but yes by the mid 70s the next generation of teenage girls (my sister in law was about 6 years younger than my wife) adopted the midi. But as the 60s turned into the 70s the mini at first got shorter than ever. Two reason for this. Firstly in the late 60s tights (nylon tights were still fairly new anyway) finally becamse cheaper than stockings and secondly the girls who were a little young for the first summer of love had now left school and away from teachers and with money to spend, were able to choose what to wear, and did so with a vengeance!
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

"It has been so lovely to find this site. I love the 70s, still listen to vinyl and 8 track and love the fashions. Also drive a '77 Austin Princess. It's a decade i have a fond affinity for, even though i was born 1980. Some of the best music and films." 70sFan 25/01/2015

"i love 70's fashion" chloe c ;) 27/04/2016

"cool great info" Theodora 05/07/2016

"Wow, this takes me back - I was in my early teens in the late 70s. I loved my cheesecloth shirt, platform shoes and flares, and yes, brown was so popular in that decade as well as other neutral colours. Movies inspired fashion a lot - Annie Hall, Grease and Saturday Night Fever. I do beg to differ with you that many punks were unemployed - lots of the punks I knew were posh kids with parents who were in professions like doctors, lawyers and academics." Jackie 27/11/2016

"it was fantastic, love you guys see you at the dinner party tn" daddy 17/04/2018

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