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How to Recreate Decades of Fashion: 1970s

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

The 1970s are back (again!), and fashion’s most daring-yet-relaxed decade has never looked groovier! Flares, platforms, fringe, and suede are dominating department stores everywhere.

But the 70s wasn’t all afros and disco! In the beginning of the 70s, women’s styles were very flamboyant. Extreme, bright colors were in high demand and long, flowing skirts and pants were everywhere. In the summer, women wore very short shorts and skintight t-shirts. Hot pants, over-the-knee boots, billowy shirts, jumpsuits, and giant sunglasses were also incredibly popular. Oh, and you can’t forget about (my fave) the roller skates!

Every year, pants were flaring wider and wider. It was super common for women’s flare jeans to have a 32-inch circumference (that’s almost three feet!). Soon the flare exploded into bell bottoms, and it couldn’t go anywhere but smaller from there.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, suits emerged. Women were wearing pants in the sixties, but not all of them. By the time the 70s rolled around, women were wearing pants in every walk of life. Female executives were wearing business suits with pants and women at home were wearing jeans.

In 1974, Diane Von Furstenberg made one of the most famous fashion inventions to date—the wrap dress. Diane made her now-iconic wrap after setting out to create a relaxed, silk jersey dress that could suit every woman’s body with ease (it worked!). Originally available in a small range of super 70’s prints, she was quickly given the cover of Newsweek and declared the “most marketable designer since Coco Chanel.”

The Take-Away: Finally, after years of creeping progress, women could finally wear whatever they wanted. It didn’t take women three hours to get ready in the morning—they could do their hair and makeup in minutes! Sure, gender roles still played a part in wardrobe choices, but compared to previous generations, women’s fashion in the 1970s was nothing short of revolutionary.

Here’s how you can recreate some far-out 70s trends!

The Farrah

One famous (and badass) lady of the decade was Farrah Fawcett. She became one of the most celebrated TV icons ever when she took on the role of private investigator Jill Munroe in the hit series Charlie’s Angels. She and co-stars Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith defined the working woman’s wardrobe of the 1970s – checkered shirts, skinny rib vests, feathered hair, and, of course, a high-waisted pair of flares.

1. The Flares

If you want to look like you walked out of the 70s but you don’t own a pair of flare pants, you’re doing it wrong. Flare pants were THE staple of the 70s, and you can find them almost everywhere today. My favorites are these flares from Gap, which come in a couple cool colors. 


2. The Button Down

Farrah was known for wearing a white button down with her flare jeans. If you don’t have a white button down, grab your dad’s and tie it in the front. Instantly effortless and chic, and SO 70s!


3. The Shoes

Platforms, platforms, PLATFORMS! Girls, grab your platform wedges and strut your stuff in your flare jeans. You can find great wedges like these from DSW, but if you want to go a step further you can find platform clogs at DSW and Gap. 

4. The Finishing Touches

Farrah’s hair was iconic—feathered and curled away from the face (think Eric’s sister on That 70s Show). You can copy her luscious locks through this tutorial here!


The Diana

Our Supreme queen! After being a member of The Supremes, Diana Ross was all about lilac eyeshadow, loose wrap dresses, and XXL hoop earrings. She was a mega-fierce diva extraordinaire. She made every fashion leap possible: made her own clothing designs, modeled them, and paved the way for black women in fashion everywhere.

1. The Wrap Dress

The wrap dress is the unsung hero of the current fashion world. They are overlooked by so many people as “mom dresses,” but they literally look good on everyone and can look so sassy if you style them right. Try this bright little number from Diane von Furstenberg’s brand, or something similar (because her stuff is v pricey). 

2. The Shoes

Pair your wrap dress with a metallic strappy pump to look chic and stylish in your 70s get-up. You can revive your heels from prom or check these out from ASOS.


3. The Finishing Touches

If you can’t make your hair into an iconic ‘fro, that’s totally okay! You can do a hairstyle similar to Farrah for this look. Combine that with huge gold hoops, and you’ve got a look fit for a singing queen like Diana.


The Marie

Just look at Donny and Marie Osmond. Could they be any more 70s? The fringe, the platforms, and the glittering lurex trousers made their musical duo an even bigger hit. The Osmond family hit the big time in 1971, becoming clean-cut idols for teens around the world.

While we said it was fashion, we didn’t say it was always good fashion. One thing Marie did do right was her jumpsuits! They’re so in style today, you can never go wrong with a great jumpsuit.

1. The Jumpsuit

I mean it when I say that jumpsuits are literally everywhere right now, and they have been for a long time! When recreating 70s style, go for a bright patterned jumpsuit like this one from Topshop.


 2. The Shoes

Here we go again with the platform wedges! With your jumpsuit, pick a prominent color in the pattern and get funky and match your wedges! With this outfit, try these wedges from Payless (they’re only $25!!! Eek!!).


3. The Finishing Touches

Marie always had either super straight or super curly hair. To get her light and fluffy curls, use hot rollers to curl your hair instead of an iron. Put on some glittery eyeliner and a bit of lipgloss, and you’re good to go!


The Bo

Running along the beach in her nude halter one-piece, Bo Derek’s appearance in hit movie 10 earned her 1970s pin-up status. Every woman everywhere copied those braids and the scene became iconic (Google her, she’s gorgeous!). We don’t advise you to get cornrows and wear a nude one-piece, but you can get her classic beach babe style with these easy pieces!

1. The Daisy Dukes

Named after the character from popular 70s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy Dukes are super short and super tight shorts that women wore in the 1970s. It’s a style that seemed to stick, as girls everywhere wear a version of them in the summertime. Try these denim cutoffs from Forever 21 to feel the beachy vibes!


2. The Classic Tee

Women in the 70s wore super tight tees with their Daisy Dukes. Right now, Gap has these adorable vintage inspired tees in tons of colors that go great with the 70s aesthetic. They fit tight on the shoulders with a slight crop and look really cute tucked in. Reach for a crew neck shirt (rather than a v-neck) with your shorties to balance the sexy with some sweet.


3. The Shoes

In the summertime you probably aren’t wearing shoes very often but if you find that you need to run out somewhere that requires footwear, grab your go-to pair of cute sneakers (Nikes were all the rage in the 70s and beyond), and you’re all set!


4. The Finishing Touches

With this look, you don’t have to do much else to have the perfect 70’s look. If you’re feeling it, spritz some sea salt spray into wet hair to give it that beachy wave and put on a little mascara to look fun and flirty. 


The Joni

The poster girl of hippie chic, Joni Mitchell was undoubtedly one of the 70s’ ultimate style icons. She wore tie-dye blouses, earth-goddess hair and billowing kaftans like no other, usually completing her trademark look with bare feet and a guitar in hand. Her most re-creatable look involves a maxi skirt of sorts and a flowy top.

1.The Maxi Skirt

Start off with a patterned or tie-dye maxi skirt. You can get this one below on Amazon for just $7, or you can pick from one of like 40 other available colors. If you want to update your black maxi from last year, tie some rubber bands on it in intricate places and reverse tie-dye it in bleach for a cool effect. 

2. The Top

For the top, we’re going to go with one of the really popular off the shoulder tops! Try this one from Forever 21 for a billowy babydoll effect. 


3. The Fringe Vest

If you’re feeling bold, finish off your look with a statement fringe vest! The longer the fringe, the closer to (fashion) God. Try this one from Nordstrom Rack to get Joni’s effortlessly edgy-yet-cool boho vibe! A cropped vest will make your torso look shorter and your legs longer—score!!!


4. The Finishing Touches

Since Joni never wore shoes, we’re going to skip that category. Of course you could always wear sandals, but let’s pretend you’re going all out. You can finish off your look with a brown woven belt and super straight hair! If you want to go the extra mile, turquoise and matte silver jewelry are a must!


The Ali


The perfect mix of New England prep and bohemian goddess, Ali McGraw not only ruled the 1970s thanks to a little movie called Love Story, she also ruled the decade thanks to her personal style. Ali wowed during the decade in everything from short dresses to glamorous gowns paired with cool fashion finds like feathered capes (one of which she wore to the premiere of The Godfather). Her most iconic look was when she wore bandana dresses and gladiator sandals (like in the picture above).

1. The Dress

For this look, virtually any billowy maxi dress with sleeves would work (just make sure the pattern or color is muted and not too modern), which is pretty easy to find these days. Maxi dresses are surprisingly effortless and versatile—you can easily just throw one on during one of those *meh* days and look and feel like you care. Try this Ali lookalike from Free People if you’re in the market for a 70s inspired maxi.


2. The Sandals

Gladiator sandals are everywhere right now. You can go super daring with a knee-high pair like Ali, or you can take it down a notch from these versatile classics from DSW!


3. The Finishing Touches

For the final look we’re going to keep it simple with straight hair parted down the middle. Finish everything off with a couple of long necklaces and a choker, and you’re sure to wow with your boho accessories.


This summer, whether you’re at the beach or strolling around the city, a 70’s vibe is sure to give you that “I-don’t-care-but-I-actually-do” look with tons of attitude.

If you missed last week’s article on the 1960s, click here!

Zoe is a Senior at Boston University in the College of Communication, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in English and Psychology, and is the Campus Correspondent for her chapter. Originally from the Washington DC area, Zoe loves going to museums, concerts, and working at Baby Gap. In her free time, Zoe can be found crafting, watching Netflix, and scoping out the latest trends. Always catch her yelling enthusiastically about something, or making really corny jokes.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.