There is more to 1970s clothing than bell-bottom pants and disco shirts. Take a look at these authentic 70s outfits for women and create your own 70s wardrobe. From casual tops and shorts or hippie shirts and jeans or dresses for the office and jumpsuits for the disco dancefloor. Explore the 70s fashion trends that are making a comeback today and where to buy them online.
70s Outfits 1: Casual Flares & Jeans
The heyday for blue jeans was the 70s. Everyone was wearing them almost all the time. At home, with friends, to the office- blue jeans were comfortable and no one wanted to take them off. What makes 70s blue jeans unique was the high and tight waist with a wide leg that flared a little or a lot. Bell bottoms are the most famous but straight leg or flared leg pants were more common.
Jeans were paired with simple tops. Snug knit tops or polo shirts with large collars in stripes or solid bright colors. The loose peasant top or smock top with embroidery, crochet trim, inset lace and kneck ties became trendy in the late 1970s. Long tunic tops in vivid patterns like paisley, chevron stripes, and ethnic designs started the trend in the early 70s. These are also known as hippie tops.
70s Outfits 2: Colored Bells
Denim blue jeans were not the only casual outfit. Flares, loons and bell-bottom pants came in all sorts of bright colors and subtle patterns. They could be paired with loose tunic tops and peasant blouses or mixed with sportier knit shirts. Soft ringer t-shirts with groovy slogans and retro destinations are popular 70s shirts now. So are rainbow-striped long and short sleeve shirts, crop tops and large collar polo shirts. Knitwear was in style in the 70s and blended perfectly with the colorful pants.
For a dressier outfit try pairing wide-leg pants with a pussy-bow blouse and tailored blazer. Office ready retro style!
What about shoes? Besides platform heels, 70s shoes include:
- The sturdy clog
- Tall boot in bright colors or natural material
- Lace-up granny boot in leather or upholstery fabric
- Strappy heels (for disco dancing) in gold, silver, or white. Tall wood sole sandal heels.
- Wedge sandals for summer
- Open toe slingback heels in bright colors
- Retro sneakers or classic Keds and slip-on flats
- Shop 1970s shoes – Need wide sizes?
70s Outfit 3: Casual Summer Days
When days are warm and jeans are too hot a pair of high waisted shorts are your next best option. High waisted denim shorts are the classic knit shorts with or without pockets were the fashion in the early to mid 70s. Pair them with a striped tank top or ringer tee, polo shirt or crop top for a summertime retro style. Consider too the zip up romper for all in one ease.
For a summer outfit choose 1. High waisted shorts or short shorts with pockets 2. Optional belt- white, natural, or rainbow stripes 3. Striped or crochet sleeveless top, polo shirt or crop top 4. Wedge sandals or Birkenstocks 5. Rompers 6. Terry cloth skirt or skort
70s Outfit 4: Wrap Dresses
Diane Von Furstenberg is credited to create one of the most iconic dresses of the 70s, the wrap dress. Worn by stars and socialites it never caught one with the mainstream public but has since been revived again and again. It is back in style this year making it a great 70s retro-modern outfit to wear now.
70s wrap dresses were made of a light jersey that clung to the body with a thin tie belt that barely held in place. They were especially popular as a disco dress. Some mainstream styles were button-down shirt dresses with collars. They could be long maxi dresses but most were knee-length. Simple, casual, feminine and very pretty.
The more common dress was a tie waist dress. Slipover dresses were tightened at the waist with a tie belt or had a drawstring waist that tied in the front. Simple, easy, flowy and casual to wear it could be dressy enough for a party or as everyday fashion.
For your retro wrap dress outfit try 1. A pretty jersey wrap dress or party dress in a color and pattern that you love 2. T-strap, Mary Jane or Peep toe “vintage” style heels 3. Large bangle bracelet or short thin gold pendant necklace 4. Gorgeous long feathered hair!
70s Outfit 5. Maxi Dress
The other iconic 70s dress was the long maxi dress which gave a nod back to the turn of the century Edwardian style with lace trim ruffled hems, puffy sleeves, and an empire waistband. They could be simple or fussy, prints or pastels. The current boho trend favors maxi dresses in ethnic prints or white embroidered summer dresses.
For your maxi dress outfit keep it simple. 1. A long maxi dress in a floral print is on-trend now 2. Strappy sandal heels for summer, tall lace-up boots for winter. Add a floppy hat for a boho hippie vibe.
Under long dresses, 70s heels were hardly visible but with short dresses, they were meant to be seen. 70s heels could have a chunky square heel with a modest rise or a taller evening heel height. Most shoes were inspired by vintage styles of the 30s to 40s. Two-tone mary jane heels from the 20s, thin T strap heels from the 30s, and peep toe heels from the 40s were revived into new 70s designs. Shop vintage style heels shoes or all 70s shoes here.
An alternative to long dresses were short early 70s dresses in the mini shift or tunic style. Many were still in the 60s mod style with contrast white trim and collars. Big white necktie bows were also in style. Other dresses were more of a hippie or boho look with tribal prints, smocking, embroidery or crochet. Jumper dresses layered over a blouse were essential in fall. Denim dresses in all lengths were also big in the mid-70s. Shop short 70s dresses on the 1960s page or here.
70s Outfit 6. Disco Jumpsuits and Dresses
When the day was done women and men headed to the Disco for a night of dancing, socializing and showing off your best clothing. Disco clothing ranged from jeans and shirts (often white or sequin) to satin wrap dresses to everyone’s favorite – the jumpsuit.
Jumpsuits are attached tops and bottoms usually in the same fabric. 70s jumpsuits were wide-legged or bell-shaped with solid pastel colors or big prints. Most were sleeveless with a halter top or other arm and back revealing design. Being flashy was the name of the game on the Disco floor. Most 70s Halloween costumes are inspired by Disco fashion
For your Disco jumpsuit pick 1. A white or colorful sleeveless jumpsuit 2. Strappy thin heels or platform shoes 3. Plain jewelry that sparkles 4. Dramatic hair: long and frizzy or Afro-chic 5. Try one of these other Disco outfit ideas
Besides jumpsuits, women wore shiny dresses to the disco. Silver sequins on short dresses looked like mirror disco balls while metallic gold lame mid-length dresses dazzled under the lights. Most disco dance dresses were white, red, pink or blue. The 1920s fringe flapper dress experienced a revival at the disco too but it was the all-new wrap style dress in soft draping satin that had women dancing all night.
Shop disco dresses and jumpsuits here. Pair the dress with tall thin heels, platform sandals or silver boots. Add a faux fur wrap or coat for cool evenings.
70s Outfit 7: Evening Party Attire
For formal evening events, a long gown was preferred over a shorter dress (cocktail parties had both.) Floor-length column dresses draped like a Grecian goddess. Large capes and jackets came with many dresses that were sleeveless. White, ivory and pastel colors dominated evening looks for most women, but movie stars and musicians had a different wardrobe. Designer Halston and others put women in the spotlight put clients in sequin-covered dresses, velvet kimono sleeve gowns, and slinky halter top dancing dresses. Jumpsuits too were a popular evening look.
- Sequin gowns, white halter neck dresses, velvet draping- shop here. 2. Silver or gold sandal heels 3. Large matching drop earrings and bracelet 4. Small clutch purse on a chain
70s Hippie Outfits
The next outfit or several outfits are for the 70s hippie look. Mixing and matching separates, especially those with unique textures and materials in earth tone colors defined the casual 70s hippie look. Fringe vests and ponchos, patchwork skirts and pants, peasant dresses, decorated bell-bottom jeans, embroidered peasant tops, handmade headbands, floppy hats, Jesus sandals, and peace sign jewelry are just a few of the iconic hippie clothes. Shop more hippie costumes and clothing.
70s Yacht Rock Outfits
There is a new-ish trend for 70s themed parties taking place on boats, yachts, and cruises. Yacht Rock is a soft rock/lounge music genre. A Yacht Rock party turns to a few different clothing styles depending if its a daytime or evening party.
For daywear, anything nautical or sailor themed (red or white stripes, blue and white dresses, all white etc) is fair game. White pants and a striped shirt. High waisted sailor shorts and a red crop top. White jumpsuit and a red hair scarf. Red or blue striped sundresses. A navy blue blazer, white bow blouse, and jeans. Even a tropical-themed dress or Hawaiian shirt will be adequately yachty.
Add a captain hat or sun visor and big oversized sunglasses. For shoes, keep in simple in flat canvas sneakers or slip on shoes (like Keds Champion.) Wedge espadrille sandals also say “summer party time!” Find more nautical themed dresses, tops and bottoms here.
For evenings, its glam time. Think disco dresses, sequin jumpsuits or rompers, and evening formals with booties (more stable for a moving boat) or high heels. Add a faux fur jacket or long coat, big dangling earrings, and clutch handbag.
Mix it up! Create your own 70s glam + yacht vibe with any of the outfits on this page. Add sunglasses and a captain’s hat (yacht cap) and you’ll be ready to rock the yacht rock life.
70s Workout Clothes
In the mid-1970s exercise became a trend. Women and men were taking up tennis, running, aerobic dance, and basketball in record numbers. Specialty athletic clothes such as tracksuits, running shorts and sneakers were made nearly identical for women and men. Most sported 3 stripes or chevron on the legs, arms, and chest. Running shorts a side slit and were trimmed in contacting fabric. For women taking dance classes in tights and leotards or working out on a home gym in terry cloth exercise clothes were both fun and fashionable.
These iconic retro workout clothes have made a comeback in leisure fashion today but they also make awesome outfits for a 70s party. Pair a tracksuit or running shorts with a 3-stripe t-shirt, tall over the calf stripe socks, and retro sneakers for this sporty outfit idea. Dancers can pick a leotard and matching tights with a wrap-around skirt.
What will you wear to a 70s party? If you need help with your outfit, just ask!
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