What Clothes Did They Wear in the 70s?

Updated February 21, 2017

Many people remember the 1970s as a time of platform shoes, bell bottoms and wild, bright colours. With the popularity of the hippie fashion and lifestyle, many people dressed according to their personal style instead of adhering to certain codes. This led to a wide variety of styles or dress, from the elegant maxi dress to the garish print catsuit.

Clothing Spirit

The free love feelings of the 1960s lingered into the 1970s. Disco, roller rinks and individual expression were kind. People dressed in order to show off their unique style. Some people lingered within the hippie stereotype, wearing loud, garish tie-dyed shirts, clashing clothing styles and ripped denim. Others devoted themselves to the designer hippie stereotype. Though they still wore bright colours and wild styles, they put more effort into matching.


Miniskirts, skirts that fall above the knee, grew popular during the 1970s. These skirts were available in straight or flared styles with a variety of muted and wild colours and patterns. Some women went to the opposite extreme, wearing maxiskirts, skirts that fell all the way to the ankle. These skirts sometimes contained large patterns, inspired by foreign lands, but were also popular in neutral colours, making them more appropriate for work.

Formal Occasions

Women often wore dresses or catsuits during formal occasions. Dresses were available in maxi and mini styles and were typically found in darker colours. However, many women wore bright dresses when going out on the town. Catsuits were typically loose around the legs and tighter around the waist. Halter necks were popular for both dresses and catsuits.

The three-piece suit faced a return to popularity during the 1970s. Many men wore these suits for formal occasions, choosing neutral colours for work events and bright colours for nights on the town. Some men, inspired by John Travolta's style in "Saturday Night Fever," wore white jumpsuits or shirts that exposed the top of their chest.


Women who wanted to bare their legs but preferred trousers to skirts wore hot trousers, which looked like slightly longer version of boy-short underwear. These shorts were popular for play, exercise or a night out at the disco. For work, many women wore pantsuits or long trousers. Men often wore long trousers, with or without pleats, for work. During casual occasions, both men and women donned bell bottoms. The brave wore bell bottoms with extreme flares.


Platform shoes experienced popularity during the 1970s. These shoes were available in both heeled and platform-only styles and utilise a thicker heel than the average pair of heels. Men wore platform shoes with no heel while women wore platform shoes with a heel. Popular materials for shoes included wood, cork and plastic. Most wore platform shoes with bell bottoms or minidresses. Other popular shoes included mules and shoes with ankle-straps. These shoes were more appropriate for work.

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About the Author

Breann Kanobi has worked as freelance writer since 2010. Kanobi regularly submits content online to Gamer DNA. Kanobi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television from New York University in 2010.