Clothes People Wore in the '70s

Updated April 17, 2017

The fashion of the '70s is best characterised as diverse and individualistic. It was a decade of extreme change that encompassed such diverse trends as the hippie movement and the disco era. Women wore minis, midis and maxis, in addition to hot trousers, bell-bottoms and straight-leg trousers. Men wore polyester leisure suits with wide lapels, garish wide ties, fringed vests and sported long sideburns and massive afros. Tie-dyed shirts, ripped jeans, platform shoes and punk fashions all were worn in the '70s.

Women's Wear

Mini, midi or maxi -- women wore than all. Girls wore micro-minis to work as well as midis -- skirts or dresses cut off at the shin. Maxis went all the way to the ground. Necklines dipped and halters were very popular. In fact, the clothes people wore in the '70s was a mixture of different styles. Catsuits and jumpsuits in denim, clingy jerseys and shiny fabrics in the new manmade polyester fabrics filled the discotheques. But women were just as happy to maintain the hippie look of the '60s with loose, flowered kaftans, peasant blouses and of course, the bell-bottomed trouser that was worn ubiquitously by both men and women.

Men's Clothing

Hairy chests were exposed during the 1970s as men wore polyester shirts with a few buttons undone under their white, pale blue or green leisure suits. This was in homage to John Travolta in the seminal movie "Saturday Night Fever," which ushered in the disco craze. Lapels on suits were wide and shirts often were covered in paisley prints. Jumpsuits and unisex styles were common; suits were often worn without ties. Earlier in the decade the hippie look spilt over from the '60s and later in this era some men adapted the punk style worn by such British bands as the Sex Pistols.


Although the hippie era and the disco era were polar opposites, both movements influenced the fashion styles of the '70s. Beads, neck scarves and flowers in the hair were popular accessories for the flower children while wide ties and garish colours and prints characterised the ties that men wore. Long sideburns were popular as were large afros. Women copied Farrah Fawcett's feathered hair or cut their long, straight '60s hair into a shag.


Both men and women could be spotted wearing psychedelically coloured platform shoes during the '70s and this type of footwear dominated the scene. Women wore dangerously high platform shoes and boots, often with hot pants. Cowboy boots for both sexes also were popular. Square-toed shoes were fashionable until 1975. when the pointed toe returned to style.

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About the Author

Beverley Burgess Bell has been a professional freelance writer since 1986. She has worked for Medigram, a medical poster and Rodar Publications. She also was editor of "Epilepsy," Canada's national newsletter and wrote for various publications including "Future Health." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Concordia University in Montreal.