The fashion of the 1970s was a time when fashion was evolving in many ways. Women at that time had more freedom of wearing what they wanted when they wanted to. Fashion was also spreading around the world and was also culturally spreading and bringing new fashion styles to the U.S. as the years went by. Here are some of the major fashion fabrics and garments famously used in the 70's.
Micro Mini, or Maxi: Skirt lengths of the 1970s
The 70's was a time when women chose who they wanted to be and if they felt like putting a short mini skirt one day and then the next day a maxi dress, midi skirt or some hot pants the day after- that is actually what every women did in that era.
For nightwear women usually wore full length maxi dresses, night trousers or glamourous halter neck catsuits. Some dresses had Motown style, others less.
For night in the beginning of the early 1970s it was either straight or flared Empire line dresses with a beautiful shiny sequinced fabric bodice and extravagant sleeves were the style for a night out of party and fun.
One mostly worn style was the Granny dress with high neck. At times the stand neck was pie-crust filled, or lace trimmed. Often they were created from a floral print design in a warm brushed fabric or viscose rayon crepe which draped and put together well into empire line styles.
Another largely successful evening style of the 70's was the halter neck dress, it could be either maxi or above the knee.
At a Disco dance party, girls might wear hot pants. Instead of women usually wearing a mini dress, a women would suddenly confuse men by covering her legs completely, it was rather a liberation of women to want to start wearing pants just like men did.
Convenient Travel Made The Fashion Mind Grow
The growth and influence of the self styled hippy clothes and the 1970s fashion from every place of the world made its way into the world of fashion. Convenient travel meant that others were able to bring ideas and accessories from other places around the world. Other people looked for designers to provide styles that matched the feeling of an era, that had come back to nature and was Anti-Vietnam-War in perspective.
Caftan or Kaftan
The Hippies of the 60's brought with them clothes fro other cultural backgrounds that has never been seen before in the west. Nehru jackets and loose flowing robes that came from humid hot countries made its way to other cities around the world and made its way to fashion, developed of course by designers such as Yves St. Laurent.
From the mid late 70's, Caftans, Kaftans, Kimonos, mummus, djellaba (a Moroccan with pointed hood) or jalabiya (loose eastern robe) and several other styles from every part of India and Africa, were in turn transformed into home style robes for casual wear. They were done in every fabric you can think of, but were especially best worn as glamour dressing when sewn in exotic fabrics and edged in silver, gold, other metallic sewn trimmings.
Flared Trousers, Bell Bottoms, and Trouser Suits
One type of fashion that was the rage back in the 70's was the use of Trouser and Trouser Suits. Pants started off gently flared and grew into wide bell bottom proportions by 1975. these pants were slowly decreased to straight and wide until the end of the 70's they were back to narrow once more. Some famously used fabrics include Heavy Crepes, Wool Jersey Knits, Courtelle Jersey Jersey and Woven Polyester suiting like Trevira. The favorite fashion colors of the 1970s were:
- Emerald green
- Apple green
- Bottle green
Famous celebrities of that time such as well known actress Farrah Fawcett from the series "Charlie's Angels" helped popularize flared trousers, and rough cut hairstyles that required constant use of tongs, or heated rollers to make the hair flicks. It is easy to see how many women at that time modeled Farrah's style during that era.
Also heavy crepes that were used to make wide legged trousers often would look exactly like the chanel trousers of the 1930s. They were either worn with small knitted short vests or scoop neck tank tops. Waistcoats were also inmensely popular in any length, from hip length to maxi.
The Platform Soled Shoes
By the early 1970s platform shoes started with a slim sole that moved from 1/4 inch up to about 4 inches when they increased in popularity. Once they were high enough, people would look for handy and helpful shoe repairers to take off the cheese holes from their sole base shoes. A typical platform shoe with a 1 inch sole was a little bit comfortable that would stop at the development of hard skin and would make you have the feeling of having stones in the soles of your shoes.
For women who still loved to show their legs, it became even more sweet in the early 70's to see women wearing creamy white tights with black patent shoes.
1970's Tank Tops and Mix and Match Knitwear
The Tank Tops of the 1970s was a garment that would later follow the scoop neck camisole top of the 80's, the shell of the 90's and the vest of the millennium. It may seem silly and laughable right now, but back then it was a really common piece of clothing worn along with a blouse, or just worn blouse free with a matching V neck long style cardigan just like a modern matching set.
Also at the same time colored schemed clothes decreasingly began to appear at stores and boutiques. Suddenly it became possible to buy a skirt or trousers and a top! Just imagine how easy that was to go into a clothes store and as easy as that look for tops and knits without having to suffer long, painful hours of looking for the right top and knit. Later mix and match collections of seperates were the norm in department stores by the 1980's.
Some Fabrics Used in the 1970s
- Courtelle: Courtelle Jerseys were mostly used in all types of pieces from trouser suits, tank tops, to neat little dresses.
- High Bulk Polyester to Low Bulk Polyester: Crimplene had been so famous in creating the correct A line mini dress of the 60's and was used for every piece of clothing you can think of. High Bulk Crimplene began to disappear by the early to mid 70's finer fabrics like Lirelle started to appear.
- Trevira: This fabric was used to create wide Bay City Roller Trousers with wide square pockets down the leg sides and I they were the top inspiration for the combat trousers of today.
- Viscose Rayon: In the late 1970s fabrics of the 80's started to appear. This fabric which was in crickled textures were used alongside very fine crepe de chine polyester fabrics. The small dollybird or granny print fabirc, looked great in Viscose Rayon.
- Satinised Polyester: Satinised polyester jacquard blouses had been fashionable since the beginning of the 70's, but had been always expensieve to buy. But on the positive side new technology has let the satinised polyester to be matched with the crepe de chine to make fabrics of real extravagance that almost looked like real real silk and which were ideally great to the glamourous dresses of the 1980s.
- And of course Cotton was always, and has always been the top ideal source of fabric for every type of fashion piece.
The 1970s Disco Fashion
Disco fashion appeared in the 1970s and is most often remembered by it's hot pants and spantex tops. Shiny clinging Lycra stretch disco pants in really strong and bright shiny colors with stretch sequin bandau tops were mostly seen in professional dance wear began making a huge influence in discos as disco dancing became a serious form of dance.
Disco paved the way to dress codes and a door screening policy. Disco clothes was never a right form of clothes to wear during the daytime, but during the night-time it was only possible to wear it to let the participants be a part of the action, to be a part of the environment of strobe lighting, mirrored balls and spotlighting of individuals at almost any time.
Movies that greatly depict how the 70's Disco fashion was are "The Saturday Night Fever" of 1977 starring John Travolta who famously illustrates the fashion of Disco, as well as the importance on how much it means to let go of all your worries and stress of the working week on the weekend just by having fun.