Ideas for a 70's fancy dress

The age of disco and glamorous, flowing locks is perfect for a fancy dress party outfit. You can go to town with as much glitz as you like for a '70s costume. With new synthetic fabrics, disposable income and a Venice Beach lifestyle portrayed on T.V., people in the 1970s splashed out on ready-to-wear fashion. So put together your outfit from a range of statement pieces.


Disco fashion is one of the most iconic images of the 1970s, epitomised by John Travolta's white polyester suit in "Saturday Night Fever." You can buy and rent costumes like these from local party shops or online suppliers. Any clothing made from synthetic, slightly shiny, fabric has potential. Look out for pointed-collar shirts to wear with tight trousers. If you have tight curls, comb and fluff them into an afro, which by the '70s took on a mainstream glamorous look, alongside its political roots. Other items to create a disco outfit include hot pants, flares, heels and peasant tops with scoop necklines and floaty sleeves. Psychedelic colours were popular with '70s disco goers, so wear bright eye shades, with false lashes and disco-ball shimmer.


Away from the disco dance-floor, natural looking hair and make-up was fashionable. Ali MacGraw in Love Story embodied the typical '70s preppy image. To create this, flared jeans or cords are ideal. If you can't find these in a flea market, you could wear boot-cut jeans. Team these with home-made knitwear. Popular colours included orange, mustard, brown and cream. Unpick the sleeves from a chunky v-neck sweater, and wear it as a '70s style waistcoat. Wear long hair freshly shampooed and fluffy, blow-dried to hang and swing. To change the look of your regular long style, wear clip-in fringe.

Law and order

Famous T.V. cop shows showcased an idealised '70s lifestyle of glamour and the new fashion spirit of relaxed adventure. Shows such as "Charlie's Angels," "Starsky and Hutch" and "Policewoman" provide inspiration for easily recognisable '70s outfits. Farrah Fawcett, star of the first series of "Charlie's Angels," had the most famous hair of the decade. Create her naturally glamorous tumbling locks by setting long hair on giant rollers, rolling the sides so they flick out once unwound. Once set, blow hair out with a radial brush so that it swings and bounces. Cheat your way to '70s shine with a dab of serum. Get a Venice Beach glow all over with bronzing gel. Good items to create 1970s T.V. cop looks include jumpsuits and police accessories, such as toy handcuffs, badges or caps.

Key items

You could just add a few classic '70s touches to your outfit to get a perfect period-feel costume. Platform shoes are ideal for both men and women. They come back into fashion quite often, so they usually can be found in thrift stores or cheap fashion stores. Chunky wooden ethnic look beads were also popular, as were roller skates, pointed-collar shirts, slinky jumpsuits and sandals. Wear natural make-up, but use plenty of bronzer and a slick of lip gloss to get the iconic American fantasy beach look of the '70s. For real authenticity, you could use a classic shampoo, such as the relaunched Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific or Clairol Herbal Essences, to perfume your hair.

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About the Author

Shefali Choudhury is a qualified make-up artist and nail technician, with more than 12 years experience of professional makeup in beauty, film and theater. She graduated in fine art from Central Saint Martins and has been writing professionally since 2007.