Fashion of the 1970s – Vintage Apparel Style Guide

While going through some of my grandmother’s old photo albums I came across pictures of my mother as a teenager in the 70s wearing, the now vintage, style of the decade. I went to question my mother who tried to take and hide the album while explaining that it was the style then. It prompted me to look more into 70s fashion and trends.


In the 70s, men wore solid colored shirts, as well as shirt with loud prints, that usually had long and pointed collars. The printed shirts were very often paired with leisure suits. These leisure suits came in a large variety of colors, some of these colors should never been seen again. In women’s fashion, halter tops and tube tops became popular, as well as some continued use of the loose fitting peasant tops that became popular during the 1960s.


Bell bottoms is a vintage style that continued from the 60s that were still popular throughout the 70s for both men and women. But for the women, there were now hip hugger jeans. These jeans sat a couple of inches below the normal pant waistline and were very often extremely tight. Women were know to decorate the denim pants with studs, or rhinestones, and some even bleached the pants to change the color or create patterns. Hot pants also came into style. These were very short and very tight shorts that left very little to the imagination, kind of like the shorts girls where today only with a higher waistline. Women also now had three skirt lengths to choose from, mini, midi and maxi. In regards to men, the only trend I could find was their pants got tighter, so not much going on there.

wiki girl in mini

A girl in Kensington wearing a mini skirt from Wikipedia


Platform shoes, which had two to four inch soles became popular for both men and women in 70s fashion, particularly for those who dressed in the Glam Rock style. While being extremely popular, they were responsible for many injuries since they were instable and not really practical for dancing at the disco. Other shoe trends were Cork Ease shoes, flip flops, clogs and disco shoes that would match your glittering, tight-fitting disco outfit.

Hair and Makeup

For most of the 70s women wore their hair long, much like in the 60s though other popular hairstyles emerged, and rather quickly. Some of these hairstyles include the afro, feathered hair, and shaggy hair. Men’s hair was typically worn long, and was often styled in layers. Tousled hair and sideburns also became popular in the earlier half of the decade. For make-up, unlike many past and future trends, women went for a more natural look. Their goal was to look like they weren’t wearing any make-up.

Girl With FlowersStyles and trends are constantly coming and going. There are trends that last a year, styles that define a group of people and then there are the trends that define a decade. Like many of the decades in the 20th century, the 1970s had distinct styles and trends that defined it. Some of these have resurfaced as vintage apparel from time to time, others my mother tries to forget but I’m not letting her off the hook that easily.

Here are some other resources to look at if you want to learn more about styles and trends of the 1970s:

1970s in fashion – Wiki page on the styles and trends of the 1970s

Fashion Blog Life – 70s Fashion – The 70s Fashion page of the Fashion Blog Life website is informative of many of the trends from the period.

Top 10 fashion trends of the 70s Christina Pinto, writer for @topyaps, has created a list of fashionable 70s trends that have also re-emerged today.

Classic70s – 70s Fashion This page on the Classic70s website has a great overview of the fashion of the time period

Retrowow -70s Fashion – Author of @retrowow has made a very informative page about fashions of the 1970s

One thought on “Fashion of the 1970s – Vintage Apparel Style Guide

  1. My nieces love maxi dresses. They think it makes them old and sophisticated to dress up in styles from the 1970s. In other words… when I was their age! Ugh. They get them here.

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