1970s fashion reviewOn December 2, 2021 by Emma Collymore
The fashion of the 1970s was much calmer than in the 1960s before, many new designs showed signs of nostalgia when designers enjoyed the influence of previous decades. It was noted that Laura Ashley was strongly influenced by dresses and prints in the Edwardian style. The Barbara Gulanicki Biba label created an image in the style of the 20s and 30s with long cotton skirts, long-sleeved shirts or a raincoat and hat with flexible brims. The use of colors inspired by the 30s, two-tone black-cream or brown-cream, could be seen in shoes and in the style of “office work clothes”.
Looking back, fashion designers continued to pursue new fashion trends for new ideas, ideologies and social freedoms that were sought for both men and women.
Clear fashion styles for some youth groups have again become apparent this decade in an attempt to identify different subcultures. Several major trends have emerged and gone, such as glam fashion (inspired by David Bowie) and disco fashion. (John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever,” 1977) Hippie / ethnic fashion trends for flared jeans, shirt-ties, rustic blouses, hair bands, and sandals have continued since the 1960s. More influence from other cultures became included as public awareness of social and environmental issues grew.
In the early 1970s, short skirts and “hot pants” launched by Mary Quant in the 60s were still very popular, however the dresses were available to everyone in three set lengths: mini (like a mini-skirt), midi (caviar length) and maxi (ankle). Long boho skirts and inspired hippie styles were very popular.
The shoes became more exotic with platform shoes that appeared in the early seventies, their huge soles a few inches thick for predominantly women and some men! This fashion about possible back injuries has been accompanied by health warnings, but you don’t hear many people say that in the 70s they injured their backs in platform shoes, although my mother blames her ducks for a pair of lifts.
Men’s clothing continued the bright bright note of the previous decade. Jeans are flared, once a symbol of handmade, and now fashion, along with a gauze shirt – this is perhaps the most common image associated with men of the 70s. However, glitter, heels, bright colors and disco clothes have been available for all sexes as the trends have passed.
Lapels on all shirts and jackets have grown in size, and a tie-tie has proved necessary for a smarter men’s outfit. Long hair and beards were considered very fashionable for men, hippies and psychedelic influences were still in fashion statements, although pop music began to move on.
By the late 1970s it was socially acceptable for most people to wear jeans and mostly flared jeans. T-shirts with a print have become very popular this decade along with sneakers and canvas shoes. The inspiration and ideals of hippie styles from the late 60s were not so obvious in society, but fashion remained.
Then Punk Fashion appeared on the scene with the original punk band The Sex Pistols. The legendary Vivienne Westwood was a partner of The Sex Pistols promoter, Malcolm McLaren, and is credited with creating the original punk image.
This image was based on black leather, torn denim and slogans on T-shirts designed to provoke and insult people who think about what were considered mainstream ideals. The punk message was to “destroy”. This destruction was all that was considered basic good taste. Hair with spikes is dyed in bright colors, and second-hand clothes are torn to pieces to demonstrate a rejection of conventional fashion and ideals. The punk trend continued into the 1980s.