70s fashion beckons. From the intriguing choices that Jacqueline Kennedy sported to clothes worn by glamorous icons like Debbie Harry and Grace Jones, seventies fashion was all over the place in the most glorious way. There are the Afro hairstyles as seen among the band Boney M. all the way to the oftentimes ridiculous outfits of the 1970s favorite ABBA.
You won’t be wrong if you say that fashion trends during the 1970s changed as fast as the seasons of the year. Or even as fast as the clouds racing across the skies. Outfits sparkled, glittered, fascinated, and startled. It can be confusing to say what outfit was meant to be worn at home, at school, or in the office, and what was reserved for a Saturday night fever. Men in bell-bottomed trousers and striped v-neck velour shirt; women getting lost in their cowl neck sweaters.
Mid 1970s fashion in a rural English setting. Noteworthy are the belt, the medieval-style sleeves and the pageboy hairstyle. Photo by Mike Powell CC BY-SA 2.0
1970s fashion – Pauline, Kerry, Georgie, Angela, New Plymouth, 1970. Photo by Phillip Capper – Flickr: CC By 2.0
Headscarves were a must-have fashion accessory of the 70s. Photo by Ed Uthman – Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
Classic 70s chic in Berlin, 1970. CC-BY-SA 3.0
Linen dresses with traditional Russian Vologda lace by Alla Levashova. Photo by Осколкова Татьяна Константиновна CC BY-SA 4.0
The early 1970s fashions were a continuation of the hippie look from the late 1960s. Photo by Ed Uthman CC BY-SA 2.0
Fashion models in Leipzig, GDR, 1972. One unmistakably 1970s patterned fabric worn four different ways. Author: Ulrich Häßler CC-BY-SA 3.0
In Kings Road, London, 1971, Swedish jewelry designer Efva Attling and Lars Jacob.
Want to jazz up an outfit 70s style? Simply add fringes or tassels, like the statement necklace worn with this simple two-piece in 1970. Photo by Vwpolonia75 CC BY-SA 3.0
Flared jeans and trousers were popular with both sexes as can be seen at this German disco in 1977. Photo by Deutsche Fotothek CC BY-SA 3.0 de
For men, wearing your hair long turned from hippie to mainstream. This couple were photographed in 1973.
Lars Jacob, 1971
We love the look of this fabulously coordinated family. Bold prints really liven up the turquoise and white theme. Photo by
Timeless classics. Comfy knitwear for a trip to the grocery store. Photo by Debbie Mc CC BY 2.0
A jet flies over Neptune Road in Boston, Massachusetts.
Liberal attitudes of the 1960s impacted on beachwear just like every other part of fashion. By 1970, bikinis were much more popular than one-piece swimsuits. Styles evolved and became more daring as the decade progressed. Photo by Adományozó/Donor: Urbán Tamás CC-BY-SA 3.0
It’s the low-buttoned shirt and mustache that scream 1973. Taken in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota.
The late-1970s palette was all about mild earth tones. These two fashionable ladies are rocking bold block color outfits with the characteristic simple, wide-cut silhouette. Photo by Adományozó/Donor: Schiffer Pál. CC BY-SA 3.0
Photograph of a bride and her attendants in New Ulm, Minnesota, 1974. The ladies’ lace detail and page-boy’s suede collar were “in” in the 70s.
Quick snack in fountain square.
Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi, Empress consort of Iran, meets President of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, 1972.
Recess at a school in Chattaroy, West Virginia, near Willamson, finds a girl ready to play softball.
Kids on 3rd street near prospect park, Brooklyn, New York. Looking cool in denim flares and contrasting prints.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970
Unidentified young woman in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
This was the era of disco balls and crazy Funkytown dancing while hopping on the dinner table. Of sideburns and chest hair, of completely bright tones typical of the beginning of the decade to completely pale colors prevalent at the end. Think favorites like brown, orange, black and white, grays.
Tight fitting pants? Yes, please–no matter if you were a man or a woman. In fact, there seems to be no other decade in which women favored trousers more than skirts. If the early 1970s were all about tall boots and low-cut shirts, by the end of the decade every woman owned at least a few pairs of tight-fitting pants.
The favorite textile material was a strange deal: polyester. Strange accessories? There were so many that some debris had to spill into the 1980s. Like those tennis headbands? Olivia Newtown-John opted for one in her song “Physical” and the year was already 1981. Butterfly collars? They might look strange today, but they were a thing too.
By the early 1970s, miniskirts had reached an all-time popularity. This young English woman is wearing a fringed suede miniskirt and shiny polyester shirt.
CC BY-SA 3.0
Men were wearing stylish three-piece suits in a wide range of colors. The wide lapels and bold necktie are characteristically 1975. The lady’s necktie, another 1970s staple, completes her beautifully coordinated outfit.
Virginia Shea and Sharon Cardillo on the doorstep of a house on Neptune Road, Boston, Massachusetts, 1973. Virginia has chosen a suede-look jacket and turtleneck to complement her flared pants, while Sharon shows us how double denim works.
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne, 1973. CC BY-SA 3.0
Mid-70s. Western inspired outifts worn by country music group Asleep At The Wheel.
It’s the 1970s, so anything goes! Just make sure your hair is sleek and waved.
American model Renée Gunter modeling Haute Couture clothing in Japan. Photo by Renee Gunter CC BY 3.0
The 70s kids in a cool 70s kitchen.
Windbreakers Parachute and Hockey by Alla Levashova. Photo by Tatyana Konstantinovna Oskolkova -CC BY-SA 4.0
This lady embraces the subtler color tones of the late-1970s with her rib-knit sweater
Freshman college girls between classes, Memphis, Tennessee, 1973. Photo by Ed Uthman CC BY-SA 2.0
A lot going on in this picture – sideburns should make a come back
The trendy ‘tubes’
Model Ulla Jones in 1976
Fashion critics would comment that some of the best clothing pieces of the decade perfectly harmonized with outfits of the late 1960s. And perhaps, all of it was an afterglow of the loud and clear Hippie movement.
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And suits? Nothing sharp and smart as seen today. If an epitome was the white piece of John Travolta, imagine the rest: velvet ones, prominent lapels, and way too often unbuttoned shirts to a dangerously low level, just to show off that love carpet.
If there could be a sum up of the fashion trends and fads of the 1970s, from this point of history, perhaps nothing seems to have been more adventurous. People were simply bold, experimenting, attention-grabbing with their outfits.