I’m a huge fan of ’70s fashion. The era created a host of trends that still stand up today, whether you realize they’re from that time or not. Think of our current obsession with bright over-the-knee boots, folk-inspired printed
dresses, velvet, corduroy, boho blouses, midi skirts, and so on. While the ’70s sweep over the runways every couple of seasons, there’s always a hint of it on the streets if you look closely.
Think of the iconic designer names that were indelibly marked into history during this decade, like
Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, and Diane von Furstenburg. It was also a period where mass-market, trend-driven fashion was more readily available. Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba kick-started the idea in London a decade earlier alongside boutiques like Bus Stop, and cool, connected girls were able to switch up their looks more readily, which likely led to the 1001 aesthetics and key pieces that came out of this electric time.
This glamorous period also produced a slew of unforgettable, high-octane, high-profile style icons. Think Farrah Fawcett, Grace Jones, Bianca Jagger, Diana Ross, Cher, and Debbie Harry. Their fabulousness was met in equal parts by the casual ’70s crew: Ali MacGraw, Diane Keaton, Jane Birkin, and company repped the kind of ’70s style that feels more like brunch in NYC rather than wild nights at Studio 54. Whether you’re into hippies, disco queens, rockers, punks, or retro nerds, I’d recommend following
@70sbabes on Instagram for a daily dose. What you’ll notice when looking through these archival shots is that so many retro fashion moments still feel relevant. Keep reading to see which 50-year-old trends we’re still wearing today.
Style Notes: Jackie O’s ’70s style (particularly on this holiday in Capri) is for all the minimalists out there. I love the simple vacay look topped off with a headscarf—a styling trick we’ve noticed recently on Instagram.
Style Notes: I’m a big fan of Princess Anne’s style archive, and this is one of my favorite looks. From the jumbo floral print to the balloon sleeves and shirred bodice, everything about this is very 2021.
Style Notes: Right now, pearls are all over everything, but this is one jewelry trend that pops up every decade without fail. In the ’70s, it was all about wearing long strings with shiny satin dresses for the evening à la Raquel Welch.
Style Notes: Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress has moments in and out of the trend spotlight, but it forever remains a true staple. Here is the designer wearing her classic creation way back in 1973.
Style Notes: Is it just us, or are these outfits everything you’d like to wear to work next week? Plain midi dresses, slouchy boots, and tonal colors are all on our radar for spring. Call your friends, and tell them the news.
Style Notes: There are countless cool-girl trends one can chart back to Debbie Harry (her back catalog of outfits is a treasure trove), but how much would you pay to get your mitts on this Blondie slogan knit right now? We know. A lot.
Style Notes: Slinky “naked” dresses have been present through the 20th century, but there’s something about a boudoir-inspired satin slip that feels A) very ’70s and B) very much like something we’ll be wearing this party season. Thanks to Diana Ross for doing this one—and the tropical setting—major justice.
Style Notes: While the pantsuit wavers in and out of popularity, right now, it’s big business for retailers. Bianca Jagger will forever be one of the original trouser-wearing icons—just look at this neck-tie all-white getup for proof.
Shop the matching Wide Flowy Pants ($70).
Style Notes: We noticed recently that much of Cher’s ’70s and ’80s style looks strikingly similar to that of Bella Hadid’s 2017 wardrobe, but let’s not stop there. Cher’s easy, breezy co-ord pictured here looks like it’s about to step onto the shop floor of Reformation, right?
Style Notes: Not only are these ’70s boots the right kind of pull-on, mid-heel style to fit into today’s current OTK demands, but they’re also in white, making them doubly covetable.
Style Notes: The power of the denim dress lives on. Whether you wear yours short and cheeky with matching platforms like this ’70s model did or you decide to opt for something more demure, the simple usage of this humble fabric can make any frock seem easier to wear.
Style Notes: A particularly hot ticket for summer is the idea of wearing one color (almost any color) head to toe with laser focus. This ’70s photo shoot could be a recent snap from Paris Fashion Week, and we’re suddenly feeling sage green as an option on the days we aren’t doing red.
Style Notes: The ’70s wouldn’t be anything without freedom-fighting hippies, and it just so happens that Jane Fonda was part of the club. Here, she’s wearing a Thea Porter dress—this designer’s seminal creations are still adored by boho girls like Kate Moss today.
Style Notes: Jane Birkin spent much of the ’70s not really wearing much clothing at all, but she did always have her trusty basket bag nearby. Over the past few summers, we’ve seen these traditional woven holdalls make their way back into fashion—don’t be surprised if they continue to reign this year.
Style Notes: Every time designers present their summer collections, you can bet safari references will be present—it all started, of course, with Yves Saint Laurent. Here, his muse, Betty Catroux, models the famous safari dress in 1969—a look that would rule during the first part of the following decade.
Style Notes: Where would today’s best-accessorized ladies be without scarves? Nowhere, that’s where. They were very popular in the ’70s, topping off many a look, including this Dior outfit.
Style Notes: Marisa Berenson’s silky pajama tunic, culottes, and matching scarf look precisely like pieces we’d wear out for a party night. Paired with gold sandals and a shoulder-robed coat, this glam look hasn’t dated from when it was captured in 1974.
Style Notes: Elizabeth Taylor looked fabulous throughout her lifetime, but the 1970s were a particularly OTT time for her (and then-partner Richard Burton). Here we have a spectacular lesson in making an entrance: Wear a bright-pink gown with excess beading, a truckload of diamonds and pearls, and then top things off with a matching turban.
Style Notes: In the ’70s, tie-dye and crochet were all the rage, and many dresses featured both trends in one. This shot of Rock Hudson with a group of women (don’t ask me what it’s about—I don’t know) showcases the looks in all their glory.
Style Notes: Donna Summer was the queen of disco, and her stage looks have set the scene for many a pop diva to come. This feathered coat–and-leotard combination wouldn’t be out of place at a Beyoncé concert today. Also, feathers as a general fashion trend are happening for fall.
Style Notes: Here’s Joanna Lumley looking all kinds of lovely in a green floral wrap dress that I could imagine Réalisation bringing out for summer. We’re enjoying the matching green shoes too.
Style Notes: To really complete the look, you need jewelry. Here is Ali MacGraw showing us how it’s all done by pairing multiple hippie, collected-from-around-the-world (probably) necklaces with her handkerchief-hem dress.
Style Notes: The 1970s can be instantly recognizable from one item: platform shoes. Whether glam-rock in metallic leather or in simpler sandal form, this stacked footwear dominated the decade and is now trending hard.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.
Up next, seven summer trends I’m fully ditching this year.