The Evolution of Fashion in the 1970s

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Fashion has experienced tremendous changes over the past many years following the innovativeness of designers in addition to the ever change in demand. However, the evolution of fashion was evident in the 1970s compared with the previous decades. During this decade, fashion underwent evolution in diverse ways as demonstrated by the people’s varied tests for clothing. The 1970s fashion was more flamboyant and was characterized by bright colors and outstanding clothing that blended with hippies. The fashion trends during the 1970s are attributed to the hippie movement that influenced people to embrace leisure suit. The paper seeks to demonstrate how the affinity for strong colors, wearing of flares and bell bottoms, the Victoriana trend, disco dressing style, the “hippie” style, wearing of the risqué dresses, hairstyle, and type of shoes characterize the 1970s’ fashion.

            People of the 1970s had strong affinity for bright colors. The assertion is evidenced by their choice of clothing with strong colors to demonstrate happiness. For instance, beige as well as brown colors was common for women clothes. Likewise, the clothes for men were blue, salmon, or orange in color. In addition to colorful ties, men wore bright fitted shirts (Riding, 2013).  Apart from color, all the clothing was made from natural fibers. Some authors argue that the embracement of bright colors was influenced by the non-western cultures like Indian and African (Riding, 2013). Apart from bright color, straight and flared line dresses fitted with belled sleeves were acknowledged as the dress style. Equally, granny dress was highly embraced. The granny dress was designed with a high neck with a lace that trimmed its size. This dress was mainly floral printed.

            The wearing of flares and bell bottoms were very common in the 1970s. In the start of this decade wore short shorts together with skin tight t-shirts. However, this dressing style did not last for long as the pants were flaring wider annually. The continuous adjustment of the flares led to the introduction of the bell bottoms after some years. The choice of flares and bell bottoms was aimed at elongating the people’s legs. These clothes together with a floppy hat on top of a pair of straw wedges made a person appear great. The wearing of suits became popular in mid 1970s following the embracement of pants by women. Unlike in the sixties, women in the seventies wore pants in almost every walk of their life. For instance, female executives wore business suits together with pants. Similarly, this decade experienced a significant rise in demand for pant suits, leisure suits in addition to the track suits by the average persons. Equally, jumpsuits as well as playsuits were huge in the 1970s. People loved the suits because they demonstrated their body formation.

            High necked sweaters and blouses as a result of what is referred to as the Victoriana trend was well pronounced in the 1970s. Almost every woman was in a possession of a cowl neck sweater. Equally, women wore high necked blouses together with dresses with not only high collars but also bibbed fronts. An excellent example of a renowned person of this period is Joanna Lumley who loved wearing floral blouses fitted with frilled edges at the neckline. These clothes were mainly made from white common and they became popular because of renowned brands like Laura Ashley (Morgan, 2018). The acceptance of most fashion clothes in the 1970s is attributed to the celebrities who introduced them to the public. For instance, Bianca Jagger introduced her style to the public following her marriage with Mick Jagger (Nordstrom, 2017).    

            Disco fashion was widely spread in the 1970s and it is one of the popular styles that make the ‘70s popular. Young people used to attend nightclubs wearing disco clothing which was designed not only to show off the body, but also to shine when exposed to disco lights. This unique eveningwear was primary made from fabrics that were stretchy like Lycra and spandex in addition to synthetic polyester that was decorated with sequins. Some of the men’s disco wear during this era include flared trousers along with necked satin shirts as demonstrated by John Travolta in the image provided below (Riding, 2013). The disco era is also associated with platform shoes as well as tight bell-bottom jeans. Moreover, the embracement of the colorful patterns during the seventies is believed to have contributed to the revolution of the disco culture.


            The “hippie” style is believed to have emerged in the 1970s. The clothing for women was dominated by the flower power as many dresses were decorated with floral patterns. Almost all women selected dresses for every occasion. That is, they clothes that were silky smooth with loose fitting were considered evening gowns. Short dresses as well as long dresses were considered appropriate for any situation. However, younger women had a strong affinity for shorter skirts. Equally, the wearing of belts was very popular in the 1970s just like the necklaces and jackets. The wearing of pants known as Palazzo pants that resembled a dress remains a strong mark of this era. These pants appeared like exaggerated bell-bottoms when a woman stood with her legs apart and long skirt or dress when the legs were close together (RetroWaste, 2018). 

            The seventies were highly characterized by the wearing of the risqué dresses. In addition to wearing bare-backed dresses and extremely low-cut dresses, majority of the women loved wearing see through dress with no undergarment. The assertion is evidenced by how women walked in public places with clothes showing their pants. Likewise, the wearing of miniskirts was very popular during the 1970s. Majority of the women preferred short skirts to longer skirts arguing that longer skirts made them look old. These clothes were aimed at presenting women as sexy.


            Hairstyle is one of the men’s fashions that were widely pronounced in the seventies. Apart from growing short beards and sideburns, men allowed their hair to grow longer. As demonstrated in the image provided below, hairstyling in addition to grooming was not exclusively for women during this era. The wearing of fake facial hairs including moustaches was accepted. The observance of hairstyles by men was influenced by the Beatles’ “moptop” style. Others were influenced to grow long hair by musical styles such as rock bands and pop music (Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook, 2018).   

            The choice of shoes also featured the 1970s fashion. Both men and women embraced the platform shoes (Feitelberg, 2017). However, these shoes were more common in the black culture when compared with other cultures. The introduction of these shoes was aimed at increasing the height of individuals, and specifically men married to tall women. That is, the platform enabled men to occupy their social status in the society. These shoes were also worn by women in the society during that era. The platform shoes were made popular by the musicians who liked wearing them during performances. Studies show that most people in the 70s including students liked wearing platform sandals with tights (Lowbrow, 2017). Apart from platform shoes, lace-up boots were widely worn by women in the 70s (Feitelberg, 2017). Women had boots for every occasion that were demonstrated by their unlimited varieties. The colors of the boots were also diverse as a woman could be seen in purple thigh-high boots and another in white vinyl stretch boots. The popularity of the boots was very great that some men also found themselves wearing approximately 2 inch platform boots. The design of the boot’s heel varied with time as early to mid 1970s was characterized by wedge heeled boots that disappeared in late 1970s following the introduction of short heeled boots.  The wearing of the granny boots that used to exist in the 1920s was also popular during this era. Women embraced these boots because additional beauty was added to the initial design to make them appear beautiful and slightly different from the 1920s’ boots. Unlike the crinkle boots, the granny boots had laces from the front which stopped below the knee. 


Platform shoes                                        Platform boots            Crinkle boots

            In conclusion, the 1970s’ fashion is characterized by the practice of individuality. People dressed differently due to the availability of different designs of clothes. The era however is associated with extensive wearing of flares and bell bottoms. People also liked wearing clothes with strong colors as a symbol of happiness. Women of the 70s also wore short shorts along with skin tight t-shirts. They also wore high necked sweaters and blouses due to Victorian trend influence.  The 1970s is also renowned for the disco fashion. Disco clothing that showed one’s and shined when exposed to disco lights was highly embraced. Almost like disco clothing, women’s clothes were dominated by the flower power. This era is also associated with the increasing wearing of risqué dresses by women. The 1970s also experienced significant advancement in men’s hairstyle. Men grew short beards and sideburns as well as allowed their hair to grow longer. Moreover, the design of shoes demonstrates the uniqueness of this era. The wearing of platform shoes by both men and women was very common. Women also wore boots for different occasions. Some of the boots that are associated with this period include the platform boots and the crinkle boots.


Feitelberg, R. (2017). WWD Decades: Seventies Fashion. WWD. Retrieved from               11076893/  

Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook. (2013). Men’s 1970s Hairstyles: An Overview.

Retrieved        from

Lowbrow, Y. (2017). Platforms: The Official Footwear of the ’70s. Retrieved from   

Morgan, G. (2018). 1970s fashion in 2018: How to adapt for now. SAGA. Retrieved from fashion-today

Nordstrom, L. (2017). The Seventies: Celebrities Who Defined Their Decade. WWD. Retrieved        from  11081033/

Retrowaste. (2018). 1970s Fashion: Styles, Trends, Pictures & History. Retrieved from   

Riding, D. (2-13). The decade in fashion: The 1970s. Men’s Fashion Magazine. Retrieved from  

November 13, 2023




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