Home Pop Culture Fashion Fashion in the 1970s

Fashion in the 1970s

Fashion in the early 1970s seemed to have little rhyme or reason; while both sexes were wearing tie-dyed shirts, ‘unisex’ bell-bottoms and second-hand military attire (for an ironic-yet-stylish comment on the Vietnam War), women were also wearing mid-calf hemlines and granny dresses.

Women began to wear Hot Pants and ra-ra skirts (but not bra’s – they burned them instead) while men wore flares, sideburns, Zapata moustaches and b-i-i-i-g collars.

Nothing was too short, too low, too high, too colourful or too overwhelmingly patterned, and all the rules of good taste were broken. But just for once, people seemed to actually like the clothes they wore.

Evening wear was a riot. Women favoured the Big Flouncy Dress™ (as frequently modelled by Michelle Dotrice and the birds from Man About The House). Boots were high (boy, were they HIGH!)

As the decade progressed, Disco made its mirror-balled debut and synthetic fabrics took on a life of their own.

Satin, polyester and velour abounded, as did gold lamé, designer clothes and shoes (Gucci, YSL, Charles Jourdan), French cut jeans, high-waisted super-wide pantsuits, Short bomber jackets, strappy high-heels, spandex bodysuits, slinky wraparound skirts, halter tops, boob tubes, blouses with puffy sleeves and wide gathered waists, tiny gold belts, Tuxedo striped hot pants, off the shoulder flowing flower-print dresses, one-shoulder dresses, cigarette lighters or coin purses hung from the neck, and strong perfume by Halston or Chloë. Phew . . . are you ready, do the bus stop!


Eye shadow was big business in the 70s . . . pale blue, pale green, silver, gold . . . anything as long as it was shimmery. For maximum disco effect the eye shadow could be teamed up with white eyeliner.

Foundation was pale, lipstick was bright, and blusher was more often than not in baby pink (and often had sparkles or glitter in it).

But the 70s were the Lip Gloss decade! Preferably scented and flavoured (coconut, strawberry, cherry and bubblegum flavours were popular).

By the time Punk Rock came on the scene in the late 70s, fashions changed as radically as was possible – While bikers and Hells Angels had dressed in black and shoved metal studs through their clothing for most of the 70s, the new punks sported every colour under the rainbow but preferred to shove the metal studs (and safety pins) through their ears and noses.