Although one would think that ’70s fashion was all about the disco look, there were many other clothing fads during this period. The ’70s continued what the ’60s made fashionable, such as the hippie look, miniskirts and bell bottoms. Films such as “Saturday Night Fever” and various bands and singers greatly influenced fashion trends that gave ’70s fashion its own distinct flavor.
Fabric in the ’70s was all about being stretchy, clingy and sequined. The disco culture made everyone want to dress up so that they could gain entrance into the top disco clubs. Women often looked like a disco ball themselves, with their miniskirts or wrap dresses adorned with sequins and flashy colors. Spandex, polyester and viscose rayon were often used for clothes. Gold lamé and leopard prints were also trendy, as was wearing all-white suits or dresses that would brightly reflect the disco lights in the club while you were dancing. Men could be seen wearing loose silk shirts underneath their shiny lamé suits and necklaces with big pendants resting on their chests. Another material that was often used for trousers was satin. In addition to this, remnants of ’60s fashion such as tie-dye material and frayed jeans were still being worn during the day. Jersey became a popular material for clothes when Diane Von Furstenberg first designed her iconic wrap dress in 1971.
Height was all the rage in shoes, and platform shoes could go as high as 4 inches. These shoes had chunky heels and could be open-toed sandals or covered with round toes. They were also seen in many colors and designs, most notably the sequined designs, which could be paired with a disco-themed dress. Such was the popularity of these shoes that even men would wear platform shoes with various styles to choose from. Clogs, which were first made in Europe, also became a fad because of their ease and comfort and were worn with or without socks.
Aside from the influence of “Saturday Night Fever” on the disco look, there were many other influences that gave the ’70s a distinct look. Music was a major influence and rock stars such as David Bowie and Marc Bolan of the band T. Rex introduced the glam look, in which men would wear makeup, glitter, outrageous hairstyles and outifts and platform-soled boots. Punk bands like the Sex Pistols popularized the punk look, which consisted of a Mohawk hairstyle, lots of leather, ripped pants and torn shirts with slogans meant to shock.
The ’70s were also a time for global awareness, and many ethnic-inspired fads came about. Clothes that had a peasant feel to them, such as lace trimming, eyelet fabric and bib-blouses, became everyday outfits. Bikinis and bags took inspiration from the Greek Isles, with macramé designs, and there were also Spanish influences with elaborate shawls and crochet waistcoats. The gypsy look, with dresses trimmed with bells and puff sleeves, also made an appearance, along with Eastern influences such as Chinese and Tibetan quilted jackets.
References and ResourcesFashion Era: 70s Disco Fashion
Past Reunited: 1970s Fashion