Blast from the Past: 1970s fashion

Welcome to Blast from the Past – a new blog series where I investigate fashion from the past and reinterpret them into modern looks for today. This week, we are focusing on fashion from the 1970s.

The 1970s was a pivotal time in both fashion and history. Worldwide, decolonization and self-determination was taking hold in former colonies which influenced the popularity of African and Asian-inspired prints in the fashion industry. In North America, people started to embrace virtues of individualism that had been afforded to them as a result of the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Music became more and more diverse with the increased popularity of R&B, Funk, Punk, Heavy Metal and Disco.

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Lava lamps and papasan chairs are iconic furniture from the decade – reminiscent of rocket ships and outer space, remnants from the space craze of the 1960s.

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Hallmarks of Fashion:

  • Silhouette: tight on top, loose on the bottom
  • Tops: peasant blouses, ponchos, capes, t-shirts
  • Bottoms: gauchos, flared jeans, bell bottoms
  • One-piece everything: maxi dresses, one-piece swimsuits
  • Prints: floral prints, African and Asian patterns
  • Colors: pastels, rust, tangerine, forest green, pistachio green, neutrals
  • Hats and accessories: Cloches, wide-brim floppy hats, turbans, pearls
  • Shoes: Clogs and knee high boots
  • Natural makeup: brands started to acknolwedge feminism so they started to market makeup as a way to empower yourself
  • Disco makeup: the ‘smokey eye and red lip classic’ was pioneered in the 1970s
  • Lips: deep berry colors, peach, pinks
  • Nails: the French manicure was invented in the 1970s
  • Makeup for WOC started being more recognized in the beauty industry

Today, many of these looks are still popular. Floral peasant blouses, flared jeans, knee high boots and capes are all fashionable today along with the smoky eye and red lip combo. Berries and pinks are also trendy for Spring 2015.

Personally, I’ve always gravitated towards 1970s fashion especially with the long and loose silhouettes. Here are a couple of modern looks I pulled together that channel the 1970s.

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree 

1970s casual For a casual day out, bell bottoms need not be dramatically flared at the bottom. Instead, jeans with a small flare is enough to hint at the 1970s. For the top, you can go with a classic 1970s peasant blouse but I selected something that looked with a moder nboxy structure that resembled a t-shirt with a floral print. The 1970s strongly come out in the floppy hat and neutral colored clogs. For makeup, keep it simple with an orange lip. Peach was a favorite color for the 1970s but I decided to go with a bright orange-red for a bit more punch.

Dancing Machine 

Dancing QueenGreat for a night out on the town, a wrap dress is versatile enough to take you from dinner to the dancefloor. The wrap dress was invented by Diane von Furstenburg and became popular as it complemented women of all sizes. I chose a wrap dress in a forest green color which was popular in the 1970s. For shoes, a pair of clogs in shimmery rose gold help the offset the dark forest green.

For eyeshadow, you can go with the rose gold color palette from the Naked 3 (rose golds and neutrals) in a smoky eye with a red lip. After all, the smoky eye and red lip look was invented in the 1970s. I kept accessories to a minimum except for pearl studs to be able to dance the night away.

Love Will Keep Us Together 




This outfit would be great for a spring wedding. A maxi dress in a floral print completely encompasses the 1970s. I chose one with a black background and pink and green flowers. This is a versatile option for any occasion be it a formal date, dinner or wedding (indoor or outdoor). For accessories, I added a purple cloche for added flair and pearls on the wrist. I added some mixed material earrings for the look but kept the color palette pinkish or purple. For makeup, eyeliner and a plum lip as was popular in the 1970s and now. Black and dark wooden clogs add casualness to the look but still add height to the look.

Do you own any 70s inspired pieces in your closet?

you’ve been stylesyah-ed! xo


6 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: 1970s fashion

    • thank you so much for your kind words! it’s because of readers liek you that I strive to create more original and inspired content. 🙂

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