Fashionista 1970's

By Monica Hatswell

The fashion in the 70s very daring, carefree, and divers. It varied and changed frequently whether is was platform shoes, huge bell-bottom flares, or tight, shiny, disco- inspired hot pants or the harsh punk kind of look.

Womens fashion

As the women's freedom movement took hold in the 1970s, women's fashion broke free from social judgement. Bras and corsets were thought to be too traditional, and were discarded by many women. Women also had a newfound freedom by wearing traditional male clothing like baggy trousers, men's jackets, vests, over-sized shirts, ties and hats. Fashion trends such as miniskirts, bell-bottoms and long hair carried over from the 1960s with the fabric being bright and bold patterned.

The global occurrence of disco took off in Australia from 1975 to 1980 with the influence of US artists suck as KC and the Sunshine Band, who drew upon influenced from homosexual subculture of the time. Young men and women often gathered in nightclubs dressed in new disco clothing that were designed to show off the body and shine under the bright dance-floor lights."disco attire was about embracing the glamour and individuality of the scene in an outfit that was comfortable to dance in and that stood out just enough to attract a potential dance partner"(Mankowski, N/A). Disco clothing was usually only worn at night and was often made from stretchy fabrics like lycra and spandex, or synthetic polyester and velour and decorated with sequins. Popular items of disco clothing for women included short 'hotpants', bodysuits and towering platform shoes. Not everyone agreed with disco attire "Many feminists denounced disco fashion as backlash, condemning the return to feminine and sexy fashions as a resurgence of traditional female stereotypes, sexual objectification, and a threat to their cause" (Mankowski, N/A), but fellow designer Norma Kamali believed that women wearing body wear were “working through a lot of things (raised by feminism) . . . confident enough to be both feminine and aggressive.”

When it got into the 1977 the fashion that followed it was the music of punk, which involved dog collars, and safety pins and graffiti dubbed t-shirts. The whole idea of Punk was to rebel against the mainstream fashion which made it quite a bold outrageous new style.

In the 1960s ladies also started wearing “hip hugger”, jeans that sat several inches below the normal waistline. These jeans were often surprisingly tight and were decorated with embroidery or studs and may have even been bleached to vary the color. This type of jeans carried into the 70s, 80s, 90s, and are still fashionable present day.

(Fashion, N/A)

(Women’s 1970s Makeup: An Overview, 2013)

(1970's Fashion, 2012)

Hippie Fashion 1969-1972

The hippie movement of the late 1960s continued into the early 1970s with its style entering the fashion world with new ethnic-inspired style copied from fashion from all around the world. Many young people strongly opposed Australian involvement in the Vietnam War so the hippie movement was a way to make peace in their own way. Whatever their motivation was , many young people in the early 1970s adhered to the values of peace, love and freedom and sought an alternative, 'hippie' way of life. Clothing styles and fabrics were inspired by non-Western cultures, such as Indian and African. Natural fabrics and tie-dyed and paisley prints were also popular. Many people handcrafted their own clothes and accessories and personal items were often decorated with beads and fringes. Bare feet or leather sandals were typical fashion and flowers and peace signs became symbols of the movement.

(Baby Boomers "We change the world!!!", 2010)

Mens Fashion

Men's fashion became more bold and daring throughout the 1970s. “The spirit of the new generation of men is more liberated. They don’t have the fear of not being virile. Before this, there were always taboos” (Yves St. Laurent, 1970). The hippie influence of the late 1960s crossed over into the fashion of both sexes. For men, this meant wide, colourful ties and bright, fitted shirts with big collars. Many men grew short beards, sideburns or moustaches and let their hair grow long.

Flared trousers were popular with both men and women throughout the decade, ranging from a small flare to huge bell-bottoms. however by the end of the 1970s trouser legs had gradually straightened again.

Glam Rock came into Australia in 1973 with the influence from British music stars like David Bowie and the band T-Rex. This style of fashion the men dressed in elaborate costumes, wore make-up and platform shoes. This wound down in 1976, but came back after the 1990s. Shock rockers took things a step further in the late 1970s, using elaborate sets and stunts in their performances to excite the audience. The painted faces, costumes and fireworks of the band KISS were very popular in Australia.

(David Bowie And The 1970s, 2012)

(1970s in fashion, 2013)

(Kiss, 2013)

Mens Fashion 1971

(Mens Fashion 1971, 2010)

Teen fashion

The 1970s was an era where independence was practiced a lot by teenagers. Teens expressed their independence by wearing what they wanted. Unisex clothing was popular as so was anything bright. But some of the trends were toned down and more laid-back looking. Some of the trends from the teens carried over from the 1960s and and also into the early 1980s.

During the 1970's boys would mainly wear jeans to school, and shorts in the summer. The main type of shorts were called stubbies, these shorts were very short and came in blue, black, grey, green, brown and white. With stubbies long football socks were popular, in the colour of their favourite football team. T-Shirts were also popular and Australia boys often wore a t-shirt and stubbies or tracksuits for school and after school.

During the period of the 1970s, girls and teens started to wear trousers. Trends bent towards the unisex look: hip-huggers and bell-bottoms that were extra long were worn most of the time. Since many companies did not make jeans for women. The A-line miniskirt was also very common and so was the platform sole. Girls were also being influenced by the hippie era. Natural fabrics in paisley or tie-dye were favored. Skirts could be micro, mini or midi length. Floor-length maxis were not worn very often by teenagers as they were considered granny dresses. Hot pants and short shorts were worn with halter tops in the summer.
Comfortable shoes, such as Hush Puppies, clogs and woven leather sandals worn by both sexes were considered fashionable and large straw hats were also worn by young girls as well as several layers of beaded necklaces and beaded belts.

Punk brought in the fashion of denim and leather for teens. Shredded t-shirts were worn with ragged worn and torn jeans and ripped fishnets were worn with short black dresses. Parachute pants, tight denim jeans or leopard print stretch pants were paired with combat boots or Doc Martens to complete the hardcore look. the accessories for teenage girls consisted of studded jewelry and lots of safety pins as the pins were used on clothing and as body piercings. In the late 1970s when the Sex Pistols band came into the spotlight, some boys would dye their hair unnatural colors like pink and style it in spikes or Mohawks. This was a direct opposition of what was considered fashionable at the time.

Girls often wore their hair long and straight with the part down the middle and shorter, wavy, feathered hairstyles later in the decade just like the adults. Sideburns, longer hair and facial hair were all in fashion for teen boys in the 1970s.

(Seventies Children's Fashion Clothes, 2013)


The most notable accessory during the 70s was the platform shoe that became popular in 1967 through to early 1980s. Worn by women of all ages and some men as well, these shoes were in every fashionable and unfashionable store in the country. The soles on these shoes, boots, or sandals ranged from about 2 to 4 inches thick. Many of them were in wild prints, some were glittery, and others were even transparent.
Later in the decade, people that were against this flamboyant shoe was introduced to the contrast of the platform, the “Earth Shoe”, a product of Scandinavia, sported a thick sole and a thin heel, the opposite of most traditional shoes.
In 1975 a pair of shoes with leather uppers and soles made of recycled car tires, popularly known as treads came into fashion in Australia worn in by teenagers, both male and female. Treads were typically worn by surfers and people who spent time at the beach. This show went out of fashion in 1978.
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(Shoes - Paragon, 'Parisienne', Lacey, Platform, 1970s, 2004)

(Shoe - Biba, Platform, Right, 1970s, 2004)

(Shoe - Parker Coronal, 'Venito', Platform, Right, 1970s, 2004)
(Shoe - Ardo, Platform Slingback, Right, 1970s, 2004)

(Shoes - 'Treads', Black, Brown & Cream, 1975-1978, 2004)

Platform Shoes - 1970s Fashion Trend
(Platform Shoes- 1970s Fashion Trend, 2012)

Womens Makeup

The seventies was a diverse decade for how make up was done. Continuing on the from 1960s the hippy trend brought out more of a natural look to be popular, so if it looked like the woman was wearing no makeup at all, she had met her goals. Therefore, foundations were fairly thin and light, so nude kinds of foundation that evened the skin tone were a big seller. In some cases, women went for a tanned look, using a natural-looking bronzer to achieve the effect. For blush, makeup experts suggested a rosy cheek look and achieved this by using a translucent gel blush that added a touch of color to an otherwise neutral face that gave the skin a healthy glow.
When it came to choosing eye makeup, women of the 70s played up their eyes and drew attention to them as much as possible. Therefore eye shadows were usually worn in pearlescent shades, especially blues and greens, but neutral pinks and browns were chosen as well. These shimmering colors made the eyes glow and, like the blush, added some color to the natural look. Eyeliner was another important tool in every 70s women's makeup bag. Cat eye was popular to draw on the top and bottom eyelids. Mascara, in contrast to eyeliner, wasn’t used very often in the 70s, but if it was it was If it was used just to lengthen the lashes. On the lips women would wear more of a natural look. Most 70s girls preferred to draw more attention to their dramatic eyes so they chose lip gloss or frosted lipstick in very muted shades of pink, peach, or even nude.

The mid 70s disco makeup consisted of glittery, glossy and shimmery makeup, designed to be seen in dark light. Mean while, while disco was sexy and bold without shame, the makeup from punk worn by both men and women was very bold in a dark way. Punk came together as a rebel against mainstream culture, so makeup was highly expressive. It included hard facial makeup, pale skin with dramatic eyes, brows and cheeks. Lipstick was mostly either red or black and was often applied to create a “smack in the mouth” look. Blush was applied leaving a bold stripe along the cheek bones with no blending or soft edges

(Women’s 1970s Makeup: An Overview, 2013)


In the 60s hair was often big and involved the use of lots of curlers and plenty of hairspray, but when the 70s came along, free-thinking hippie generation voted instead for hair that demanded little care other than washing and brushing, so a lot for girls tended to wear their hair down and straight, split down the middle with no fringe and if they didn't have naturally straight hair, they straightened it. Also to make sure that not everyone looked the same the used of colorful headbands became popular.

Men also started to wear their hair long in the 60s and it carried over into the 70s. Young men tended to wear their hair straight and parted down the center and the length ranged from shoulder-length to much longer. This style began to fade away by 1973.
Another popular style that came into the mid to late 70s, worn by men and women was the shag. An unkempt, messy look that came in various lengths. It was a soft, layered cut with more layers at the crown of the head and thinner hair at the bottom that could include a fringe.

Hairstyles that resembled those of Elvis Presley were also popular. It demanded some pretty thick hair to pull this one off.The style was swept back on the sides and generally accompanied by long sideburns.The release of the movie “Grease” probably had something to do with this 50s-type style becoming popular once again.

Another style in the 70s for women was the feathered hairstyle that consisted of a centre part and the hair was layered in backward-facing curls all around the head that framed the face and generally fell in layers to just below the shoulders. This hairstyle became commonly known as the "farrah" as it was most commonly worn by the acress Farrah Fawcett.

A similar haircut to the bowl cut came into fashion called the wedgie haircut. The Wedge was also a very creative haircut because it worked for most hair types except for really wavy or curly hair.

(Hair styles over the decade, 2013)

(Dorthy Hammel And Her 70s Wedge Hairstyle, 2005)

American Hairdresser - 1970 September
(American Hairdresser- 1970 September, 2012)

Although heavily influenced through mass media through the United stated and Britain. Australians have tended to put their own spin on the dominate trends to give them an Australian flavor. Also in the 1970s, Australian fashion manufacturers and designers tended to use the work of local textile designers rather than sourcing their materials from overseas or large textile manufacturers.

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