'70s dress-up ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

During the '70s, an earthy and natural daytime look contrasted a nightlife of flashy disco and funk. The 1970s included remnants of the 1960s, such as the hippie chic look. The decade also is responsible for setting the stage for 1980s fashion excess, such as glam and punk rock influences. Utilise some of these ideas should you decide to dress up in this decade.

Hippie Chic

For both men and women, the hippie look from the 1960s went from a symbol of social rebellion into the more socially acceptable mainstream during the '70s. Flower children brought bright colours to make-up. Luxury-edition folklore rings replaced coloured glass with real gemstones. The hippie look had a back-to-nature appeal, using materials such as cotton, wool and silk. Tops and dresses had soft patterns and prints that were influenced by folk, country or ethnic attire. Flared trousers and platform shoes were 1970s chic. According to author Charlotte Seeling, denim was popular for all social classes and made a political, philosophical or fashion statement. Miniskirts also reached the height of their popularity and became a mainstay in today's fashion.

Both men and women can dress like a 1970s hippie by wearing bell bottoms and platform shoes. Women can throw on a peasant top with folkloric embroidery or an ethnic print. Men can sport a polyester form-fitting top with a vintage print and a butterfly collar. Women can dress in an ethnic print minidress and platform boots.


Disco fashion ventured into new extremes. A full-glitter silver suit with flared trousers was typical during the '70s. According to Seeling, "Polyester shirts in screeching colours, Lycra body stockings, silver lurex halter-tops worn with hot pants, old lace blouses with glitter jeans ... everything was on show, including naked skin (if artfully painted, of course)."

When deciding what to wear for '70s disco dress-up, remember that bell-bottomed trousers with platforms were also popular in the discos for both genders. Look to John Travolta and the cast of "Saturday Night Fever" for disco fashion inspiration. Men can directly copy Travolta's iconic full white suit and black-collared shirt in the movie. Women can wear hot pants and leotards or slinky dresses with platforms. The possibilities are endless with design options that include glitter, bright colours and numerous prints.


African-American funk musicians influenced fashion in the 1970s, and they dressed splendidly. They also chose prints that were multicoloured or snakeskin and were often draped in fine Italian silk. Want to look funky? If you're headed to a party and you don't happen to have an afro, get a wig to complete this look. Dress in a shirt with frills or a black turtleneck, bell bottoms and platform shoes. Throw on a vintage leather coat if it's cold outside.

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About the Author

Kat Consador is a freelance writer and professional competitive Latin dancer. Her work has appeared in eHow and various online publications. She also writes for clients in small businesses, primarily specializing in SEO. She earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology from Arizona State University.