1970s formal dresses, evening gowns, prom dresses, and party wear for most women were very different than those worn by stars and entertainers. The latter wore liquid fabric draped gowns designed by Halston, all-over sequin evening dresses, or sleek and sexy slip dresses, just to name a few.
Real women couldn’t afford those luxuries, instead wearing long evening dresses in the peasant/prairie dress style, halter neck pleated gowns (popular in disco dress), soft Grecian inspired cape dresses, and column shaped lace dresses inspired by the turn-of-the-century elegance.
Here are some photos, first of common evening dresses, prom dresses, and formal gowns followed by short party or disco dresses, and then designer gowns for the stars.
1970s designer dresses were sexy, sexy, sexy! Deep cleavage lines, bias cut draping, metallic and shiny satin fabrics, and dramatic sleeves.
Short Disco or Cocktail Party Dresses
Short dresses were worn during the day, but could also cross over into partywear if the fabrics or design were “romantic” or fun, such as disco dresses in the late 1970s. Jumpsuits, too, were essential party outfits.
Purses – Small beaded or sequin clutch purses inspired by the Art Deco era.
Jewelry – Minimal. Perhaps some button earrings or hoops. A short or long bead or pearl necklace was always a classic. Arm bangles were popular for a few years as well.
Makeup – Metallic eyeshadow, a deep pink lip, heavy mascara, moderate blush and an all over sun-kissed glow.
Shop 70s Evening Dresses
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.