Fashion of the decade - the 1970s

Fashion of the decade - the 1970s

Through the changing faces of men’s and women’s fashion during the seventies, bell-bottomed pants ruled. That was a classic look throughout the whole decade, but to think 1970s fashion was nothing more than that would be a mistake. It was a time of experimentation and changing styles that carried over from the sixties.

From Hippies with love

In the early seventies, men’s fashion was largely influenced by bold colors and textures. The hippie look continued into the early part of the decade but then evolved into more showy fabrics which saw men turning to a slightly smarter, cleaner look. Satin shirts, often with ruffles, lace or big bold patterns were often paired with hip-hugging bell-bottoms and platformed shoes. Bright colored suits in corduroy or crushed velvet became a staple for men on a night out. And for a more casual look, men wore bell-bottomed jeans, with Tie-dye tees or flannel shirts. Pleated pants were also popular and were worn with sweaters, Oxford shoes or platforms.

Bold styles just kept on going

By the mid-seventies, the hippie look had all but faded, but the bold style of it was the basis for what came next. A more casual everyday style was in with which saw denim worn with tight t-shirts which often displayed elaborate designs, protest slogans or sports logos. It was all about individuality and expression, and pretty much anything went. Many young men used the slogans or logos on their t-shirts to align themselves with sports teams, brands or social movements.

There was the European influence

Men’s suits adopted a European flair with Italian style slim-fit suits rising in popularity. These included straighter, slimmer pants and we started to see a gulf develop between formal and informal wear. Many informal styles stuck with bell-bottoms, but chinos became popular too, particularly among young professionals keen to look different from those that were still wearing fashions that descended from hippies. Chinos were worn with a flannel shirt, sweaters, and leather jackets.

Then came the disco era and elaborate clothes for nights out

When disco hit in the late seventies it redefined fashion for everyone. Three-piece suits with wide lapels and huge collars, along with flared pants were all the rage. Shirts were spectacular in color and design with frills adding to the look. Think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Everything about disco fashion was big, loud and fun – just like the music.

While daywear was toned down

But disco styles were pretty much reserved for discos and everyday fashion was far staider – almost as it couldn’t compete with the elaborate styles seen inside discos at the weekends. The color pallet changed to more earthy shades. Browns, grays, and blues were popular. And of course, denim just kept on going as a mainstay of style with even double denim being seen as acceptable. And as the decade drew to a close, the biker look which would continue into the eighties became popular. This was another simple look incorporating denim jeans, boots, a plain t-shirt, and a leather jacket.

A true evolution in fashion was on the cards.

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