'70s outfits for women

Updated February 21, 2017

The 1970s produced a number of iconic women's outfits from kaftans to halter tops and hot trousers. The decade embraced over-the-top style, synthetic fabrics such as polyester and viscose rayon and bold colour choices. Find clothes from the '70s at thrift stores or online retailers. Use your '70s outfit as a Halloween costume or to make a retro fashion statement.

Skirts and Dresses

Women in the 1970s loved to wear skirts and dresses. Trendy in the '60s, the mini skirt's popularity kept going strong into the '70s. However, if you're not comfortable putting together an outfit that shows off so much leg, don a new midi, which hits the leg somewhere between the knee and the ankle, or a maxi skirt, which touches the floor. For people who don't want to worry about matching a top to skirt, wear a dress. Women in the '70s wore granny dresses, which often had high necks with lace trim and floral print that draped over the body. They also wore kaftans -- long, loose dresses -- for casual wear.


If you want to wear trousers and still achieve a '70s look, put on a pair of bell-bottoms. These trousers flare out at the knee. Or go with a pair of hip-hugger jeans that sit below the natural waistline and fit very tightly. In the past, many women decorated these jeans with embroidery, studs and even bleached them to change their colour. For a more modest look, wear a pair of wide-leg trousers made out of woven polyester, heavy crepes or wool jersey knits. For an quick and easy '70s outfit, put on a one-piece jumpsuit constructed out of denim, cotton or spandex. Jumpsuits came in bright solids colours or prints such as leopard and paisley.


When putting together your '70s outfit, match your skirt or trousers with a flowing, peasant-style shirt or a blouse with flared sleeves. In the early '70s, the sleeve only had a slight bell shape that began just above the elbow and tapered at the wrist. However, as the decade went on, the flare on the sleeves became much fuller until they resembled the billowing fake sleeves of the Victorian era. If you are comfortable showing skin, pair your bottoms with a halter top, sequinned bra or tube top.


Don't forget 1970s fashion accessories when putting on your outfit. Belt a jumpsuit with a wide belt. Add a beaded or macrame belt to your bell-bottoms or hip-hugger jeans. Many women wore large peace sign necklaces on heavy chains. They also wore surfer's crosses made out pewter. These crosses featured a man on a surfboard in the middle of the cross. No outfit is complete without shoes. In the early '70s women often wore platform shoes with a 2- to 4-inch sole and a thick, high heel. Platforms came in animal prints, glittery finishes and even transparent materials.

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About the Author

Kristen Marquette has been a professional writer since 2009 when FireLight Books published her debut novel, "The Vampiric Housewife." Since 2000 she has helped students hone their written and verbal skills in English as a tutor. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.