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The 1970s was a decade which rocked the fashion world.


(getty images)

70s diso banner

Ushered in on the coat-tails of the ’60s hippie sartorial statement,

the ’70s evolved into an era of fashion flamboyance:

a melting and melding of influences from every global corner.


(image from vintagefashionclub.com):

afghan coat

Popular outerwear

’70s design interpretation of an Afghan coat

Called a posteen, it is the

traditional overcoat of Afghani tribes



It was an era of fervent political activism dominated by

increased anti-Vietnam War protests, anti-apartheid rallies

and the second wave in the surge of feminist advocacy.

Cries for global peace and people equality

were the earnest pleas of the ’70s generation.


(image from archive. library. illinois.edu):

70s fashion, anti vietnam war protests, archive.library.illinois.edu 0123

(image from culturaldiplomacy.org):

70s fashion, feminist movement, demonstrations, italian, culturaldiplomacy.org972d0fec625e21e8f2a404747ff1b72f

(image from pbslearningmedia.org):

70s fashion, feminist march, black women, pbslearningmedia.org.WETA_For_All_Women_Thumb.jpg.resize.710x399



It was the decade of dance floor decadence,

exaggerated at celebrity hotspot Studio 54 (NYC)

(image from guardian.com):

studio 54

(image from visforvintage.net):

studio 54

(image from youtube):

studio 54

It was a span of pure fashion fun

which spoke to the passions of a generation.

It was That ’70s Fashion Show.


A few people, garments, bits and things that made

the credit list of That ’70s Fashion Show:

Iconic Garments


During the high-stepping ’70s, trouser fashion had a definite leg up.

It is arguably the first decade during which women

uninhibitedly donned trousers for any occasion-  liberating!


(image from look.co.uk)

trouser suit, white, bianca jagger, heathrow, '72

White trouser suit

worn by Bianca Jagger at Heathrow Airport, 1972


Later in the decade, actor John Travolta donned a white suit

to make cinema history with a big scene on the big screen-

 disco-dancing in the movie Saturday Night Fever.

(image from telegraph.co.uk):

70s fashion john travolta

White trouser suiting

‘Staying Alive’ on the disco dance floor

actor, John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever, 1977



The jumpsuit was the trouser fashion one-piece wonder.

Worn by ladies and gents, it was the ultimate in unisex wear.


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jumpsuit, unisex

jumpsuit, man

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jumpsuit, ladies, 70s


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strapless jumsuit

Strapless jumpsuit

worn by American model, Jerry Hall

Hot pants, which bared bottoms,

also had their moment in the spotlight.


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hot pants

Hot pants sizzles on a pedestal

However, it was the flared (wide-leg)  trousers

which became synonymous with ’70s fashion.


(from getty images):

hot pants, flares

Hot pants ensemble (l)

Embroidered flares (r)


(image from airmech.co.uk):

flared trousers

(image from weheartvintage):

flared trousers/platform shoes

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ladies in flares, cropped tops

Cropped tops and flared trousers


Jeans were worn tight, tighter, and tighter still.

(image from flashback.com):

70s fashion, skinny jeans, ladies, flashbak.com vintage-slacks-10

(image from duke.edu):

70s fashion, men, hair_flares, duke.edu Brother-Bait


Trouser fashion combined with the free-spirited vibe of the era,

lent itself to unisex design and styling.


'70s unisex fashion


Mini, Midi, Maxi – More

Skirt hem lengths were a barometer of ’70s attitude:

up,  down and everything in between.

Introduced in the late 1960s,

purportedly by British designer Mary Quant-

the ’70s saw the mini hem inch its way further up the knee.

(from favimages.net):

mini hem length

(from 70sfashion.org):

mini dresses

mini skirt, over knee boots

Mini lengths accessorised with over the knee leather boots


The calf-length midi and floor-sweeping maxi

were also en vogue skirt length options.

(image from studyblue.com):

midi lengths

Midi- lengths

(image from sammydvintage.com):

70s fashion, maxi, trousers, mini

Graphic maxi and fashion pals (from l to r)

trouser suiting, mini skirt, maxi, and mini dress

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70s fashion, maxi skirt

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maxi length wtih fringe hem

Maxi- length with fringe hem

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skirts, to knee

And of course, hem-length to knee!

There was no skirting the issue:

the ’70s was a decade of fashion variety-

imbued with a little bit of everything.

Topsy Turvy

For the ladies, tops ran the gamut from the flowy peasant blouse-

inherited from the ’60s hippie fashion scene,

to the stretchy tight tube top trend.

Whatever suited ones fancy.

(from favimages.net):

peasant blouse, maxi skirt

Peasant blouse

(image from pixgood):

tube top

Tube top

crop top, flared striped trousers, mary quant, 71

Cropped, striped halter top, matching flared trousers

and platform shoes (1971)

by designer Mary Quant

Men, shunned solid colours, and embraced patterned shirt designs with

every conceivable geometric shape and imaginable psychedelic swirl.

(from atomretro.com):

mens psychedelic shirtsmens psychedelic shirt

Kaleidoscopic effect

Whatever the garment, prints and patterns were central motifs .

(image from umich.edu):

70s trouser suiting

Designing Visions

There were several innovative designers whose clothing

seem to capture the prevailing social sentiments:

inclusivity, global awareness and global peace.

Fashion label, political tag

by Diane Von Furstenberg

Designed by Diane Von Furstenberg in 1972

the wrap dress seemed to fashion represent qualities expressed

by the then women’s movement:

unambiguous in intent, universal in appeal.

The DVF wrap dress became an iconic garment:

cut to compliment any size, any shape-

an “I’m Every Woman’ piece.

(image from fashionschooldaily.com):

DVF, wrap dress

Following a moral compass

by agnès b

French designer, agnès b (née Agnès Andrée Marguerite Troublé)

launched her clothing label in 1973.

Ever the idealist, she vowed

never to advertise-

considering it “immoral” to do so;

never to manufacture her clothing outside of France-

in effort to avoid participation in exploiting foreign labourers.

She promoted an idea of “democratic fashion”,

an accessibility of style choices.

Her design philosophy mirrored social sentiments of the time.


(from agnès b.com):

agnes b, striped t shirt

Signature piece from agnès b

simple, striped, fashion-accessible cotton t-short


World Wide Fashion

by Kenzo

No one fused various ethnic elements into clothing constructs

better than Japanese designer, Kenzo Takada.

His collections on the Paris runway,

were an eclectic, cosmopolitan style.

(image from kenzoparfums.com):

kenzo, ethnic influences

Of global perspective

Fashion Romanticism

by designer Bill Gibb

and knitwear master Kaffe Fassett


Scottish designer Bill Gibb and American textile artist Kaffe Fassett

collaborated to create clothing, which embodied key ’70s leitmotif:

colourful, romantic, exotic.

To the design equation,

Gibb factored in the element of romance, fantasy

and Fassett ignited the colour explosion.

by designer Bill Gibb

(image from redlist.com):

bill gibb dress

Of romantic fairy-tales

(image from vam.org):

bill gibb, drawing

bill gibb, leather and sequin

Leather and sequins

(image from bee and lotus):

bill gibb and kaffe fassett, vest, knit

Knit vest

by Bill Gibb and Kaffe Fassett

(image from moon and buddha):

gibb and fassett, a/w 75-76

Double breast knit maxi coat, a/w ’75 – ’76

by Bill Gibb and Kaffe Fassett

(image from handandeyemagazine.com):

kaffe fassett, knit, full length jumper

Full length jumper

by Kaffe Fassett


Accessorise me

At the bottom:  it’s a shoe in

The accessory of the decade was a pair of  platform shoes.

In the early 1970s platform shoes started with a quite slim sole.

As the decade progressed, this moved from ¼ inch up to about 4 inches-

an elevated status.

Worn with a pair of flared trousers, this look became

the iconic fashion image of the decade.

(image from topyaps.com):

platform shoes

(image from wmagazine.com):

platform shoes


(image from bbc.co.uk):

flares and platform shoes

Flares and platforms

(image from nzhistory.net):

flared jumpsuit, men, platforms

Flared leg jumpsuit and platform shoes

On top:  floppy hats

(image from examiner.com):

floppy hats

Made of felt wool, with or without a band

the floppy hat was s ’70s hat wear of choice


The ’70s fashion was invitation to a Mad Hatter’s Tea:

exciting, emotive, outrageous, surreal.

It was a time of a fashion revolution,

polyester ruled fabrication and bright colours held court.

There were ups and downs in hemlines;

a range of light-fit and loose-fit attire-

all elevated on platform shoes.


It was a monster mishmash of ideas.

It was fashion fun and then some.