The 1970s was a fun, experimental and inspirational decade in fashion, spawning some unmistakable styles that still influence clothing today. Whether you want to add a little ’70s chic to your wardrobe or need a dramatic party costume, you can easily find fashion pieces to make your outfit authentic.
The preppy, natural look of the ’70s remains influential to modern styling. Simple hair and makeup enhances layered knitwear, waisted jackets, fitted shirts and peasant-girl smock-tops. It is up to you as to how ’70s you want to make this look. Teaming a fine-knit tank with modern corduroy jeans, or a denim skirt and a shirt looks up to date with a natural preppy charm. Make the look more dated with flared jeans, handmade knit sweaters or vests and clogs.
1970s disco is the ultimate party outfit but it was often more chic than we remember. Polyester jumpsuits aside, it is easy to inject some ’70s flavor into an evening outfit. Modern men wearing fitted shirts with a wide collar, shades and flares look unmistakably ’70s, but can be cool, too. A loud pattern and bell-bottoms turn this outfit into a costume, but subtly flared jeans and a plain shirt is the modern retro style often seen in the indie music scene since the 1990s. Other costume options for men include renting or buying a disco “leisure suit.”
Women’s disco clothing includes bright colors, shiny fabric, flares, psychedelic patterned tops, platform heels and satin dresses. The look is dazzling, glitzy and eclectic but not as individualistic as 1980s disco. Hair should be natural and lustrous, either long and flicked out, a la Farrah Fawcett, or in a perfect Afro. Take clothing inspiration from glamorous 1970s disco superstar Donna Summer.
Authentic 1970s punk outfits are grungy and deconstructed. This is a different look from the bright-colored 1980s fashion punk. Old clothes are worn holey and shredded. Chains and safety pins hold clothing together, as well as being used to accessorize outfits. Punk developed in the UK in the ’70s and had its roots in politics, so the look is uniform and slightly military, if torn to pieces.
Famous ’70s film, TV and music characters make great costumes, or you could just copy one element of their style for a subtle retro tribute to the decade. Charlie’s Angel’s Farrah Fawcett was known for her lustrous hair and beach-glow, but she also epitomized the laid back glamour of the time. She was famous for wearing slinky maxi dresses and the all-American T-shirt and jeans, being photographed in cut-out ’70s swim-suits and even fashionable roller skates. Linda Carter’s T.V. heroine Wonder Woman wore a glamorous red, gold and blue outfit with a cape and boots. Wonder Woman costumes are easily available on line or through your local party shop. 1970s UK Glam Rock stars such as Marc Bolan and David Bowie, dazzled fans with bright colors, synthetic fabric, top hats, feathers, diamante and sequins. Glam Rock style is a good alternative to ’70s disco if you want to wear something dramatic but prefer guitars to John Travolta.
References and ResourcesFashion Era: The 70s Disco Fashion 1970s Costume History
Style Guru: Remembering Farrah Fawcett's Iconic Style
Fashion Templates: 1970s Fashion - Disco Glam
Punk 77: The Seventies
ResourcesDisco Disco: Donna Summer
Buy Superhero Costumes: Wonder Woman Costumes
Mooky Chick: Glam Rock Your Style