'70s-style dress clothes

Written by rupinder dhillon
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'70s-style dress clothes
Flared jumpsuits were popular in the 1970s. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Fashion from the 1970s is known for featuring bold and colourful prints, flared trousers and platform shoes. Men and women were able to choose from a selection of formal, hippie- and punk-styled attire. For special occasions, women typically wore dresses, suits or jumpsuits, while men wore 3-piece suits. Learn about the features of formal 1970s attire to add a vintage twist to your formal attire or create an accurate '70s costume.

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Fabrics and Prints

Polyester featured heavily in both men's and women's formal fashions of the 1970s. Trousers, tops, suit separates and dresses were commonly made with polyester. During the late 1970s, some dresses and bell sleeve tops were made with viscose rayon. Many formal outfits for men and women featured exotic, floral or tropical prints. Solid colours were also popular. Warm colours, such as browns and oranges, and bright colours featured heavily in men's and women's fashions.

Women's Attire

Women wore dresses, suits and jumpsuits for special occasions. Full length (maxi) and granny dresses, which featured high neck lines, were worn to formal evening events. Halter neck dresses were also popular. Many evening dresses featured draped silhouettes and empire waistlines. Trouser suits, featuring narrow or wide flared trousers and tunics, were worn to non-evening special occasions. Green was a very popular suiting colour. Halter jumpsuits, especially those with satin or satin-like fabrics, were suitable for evening events.

Men's Attire

Men typically wore 3-piece suits that included a shirt, a tie or bow tie and trousers to formal events. However, suits that did not feature a tie or bow tie were also worn, depending on how formal the event was. Green was a popular colour for men's suiting and solid, plaid and exotic patterns were often used. During the early and mid '70s, men's shirts and jackets featured butterfly collars and wide lapels, respectively. Flared trousers, vests and wide ties were also in fashion.


Platform shoes with soles that were up to 4 inches thick were worn by both men and women on special occasions. However, men mainly wore platforms to the disco, rather than black tie affairs. For formal events, men typically wore lace-up oxfords with a platform heel. Women wore platforms, mules and ankle-strapped shoes to formal occasions. The wedge heel was also popular. By the late 1970s, lightweight high heels became popular.

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