Hairdos in the 1970s were the polar opposite of the poufy, carefully coiffed looks of the 1960s. They featured styles that were more casual and easily maintained, but definitely still bold and expressive -- the afro, for example, was a classic 1970s look. Techniques like feathering came into vogue (most famously with Farrah Fawcett's iconic locks), and home perms were also popular. One classic look from the 1970s that has evolved and can still be seen on women today is the shag haircut.
Seventies fashion was a bold explosion of colour and design in contrast to the more conservative styles of the 1950s and early 1960s, and much more a continuation of the freewheeling psychedelic and hippie influences of the late 1960s. Bell-bottoms were typical of the flamboyant style of the decade. These trousers required chunky platform heels to balance out the voluminous cuffs. Shirts and suits had wide collars, and shiny polyester fabric was a frequent staple. The 1970s also gave us the leisure suit, a two-piece casual outfit for men, often brightly coloured and made of synthetic material.
Unlike the infamous mullet cut, in which the hair is short in the front and long in the back, the shag incorporates layers of multiple lengths to achieve a casual, "shaggy" look. Ideally, the shorter layers are cut in lengths that flatter the wearer's face shape with shorter layers at the crown for volume. For this reason, the shag requires a minimal amount of maintenance. Some shag dos featured flips, or feathering to add shape and dimension. In the 1970s, the shag style was popular with both men and women.
Famous Shag Haircuts
The shag was everywhere in the 1970s, sported by female movie stars, male rock stars and even professional athletes. TV stars from Florence Henderson as Carol Brady, to David Cassidy as Keith Partridge sported the look. Glam bands like Sweet and the Bay City Rollers wore shag haircuts. Actress and activist Jane Fonda was seen in a classic shag look in the movie "Klute."
More Popular Hairdos from the 1970s
The shag wasn't the only distinctive hair fashion to dominate the 1970s. Another popular look was the page boy, a medium length cut in which the ends were curled under with a curling iron. Feathering, in the style of Farah Fawcett, was also in vogue. Sections of medium to long hair were curled with an iron and brushed away from the face for a wavy, windswept look. Figure skater Dorothy Hamill helped bring the shorter, angled, wedge cut into vogue. For ethnic looks, afros were popular -- African American curly hair grown out long and left unstraightened for a more naturally shaped hairstyle.