Clothes That Were Worn Back in the '70s

Updated April 17, 2017

The 1970s was a time when women finally began wearing what they wanted -- miniskirts, trousers and even strapless dresses. Aside from this rebellious clothing style, the '70s marked an era in fashion in which men and women often wore similarly styled, or unisex, clothing and accessories.

Dresses and Skirts

In the '50s and '60s, women were not supposed to wear dresses that revealed their kneecaps. For casual wear, women began wearing miniskirts and dresses that featured the new halter-top and off-the-shoulder styles. Gypsy skirts were also popular in this era, characterised by flowing lightweight material that could be found in plain colours or with intricate patterns adorned with sequins and embroidery. For evening wear, many women still covered up their legs by wearing long, empire-waist gowns known as peasant gowns.


In the '70s, men and women shared one clothing style across the board -- trousers. Bell bottoms were popular in the 60s, worn by both men and women in the '70s. Bell bottoms were tight trousers that hugged the hips and thighs and flared out just below the knee or in the middle of the shin. Bell bottoms could be found in denim or khaki during the beginning of the era, while the hippie influence was predominant, and in brighter colours in the later '70s, when the disco trend influenced fashion. One-piece spandex jumpsuits, for men and women, were also popular in the '70s. These one-piece outfits usually featured bell-bottomed leggings and were often belted at the waist.


The platform shoe, or wedge, was worn by both men and women in the 1970s. These shoes had a thick platform sole and a 1/4-inch to 4-inch heel. Platform soles were also featured on vinyl boots and even sneakers


Accessories are an important element of clothing style in any era, and in the '70s, one of the most popular accessories was sunglasses. Sunglasses featured very large frames with typically yellow, blue or purple lenses rather than traditional colours. Large hoop earrings were popular with women, as well as showy necklaces that often accented the neckline or chest, since shirts for both men and women were low-cut and worn open.

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About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.