You don’t have to have been born before the new millennium to know that the 1970s marked a major moment in fashion. From business attire like wrap dresses and suiting separates to bell bottoms and jumpsuits, iconic ‘70s outfits span the full spectrum — from downhome Daisy Dukes to disco fever.
During this era, fashion and beauty trends were, in a word, fabulous. Free-flowing capes and kaftans were just as ubiquitous as crop tops and clogs. Style icons also ran the gamut from Gloria Steinem to Diana Ross — which is probably why ’70s outfits are routinely among the most popular costumes for Halloween: There’s something for everyone.
Ahead, get inspired by 18 photos of celebrities from the 1970s and see how they sported the most recognizable trends of their time. Even better, several of these styles are back on-trend and shoppable today, so you can flaunt your ‘70s outfit interpretations any day of the year.
While most trends come and go, flared jeans will never fall out of fashion. Perhaps the most enduring style from the 1970s, this cut of denim is perfectly situated somewhere between a bell bottom and a bootcut, as seen above on Farrah Fawcett. If you’re looking for a simple ‘70s outfit for Halloween, start with a great pair of flares and build up from there.
Though the moniker may stem from the Dukes of Hazzard character, the up-to-there shorts have rock-star roots too. Blondie singer Debbie Harry was known to wear the style, so yes: That makes them a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
Diana Ross could wear a gold lamé gown like nobody’s business. This fabric includes a mix of metallic and synthetic fibers that was perfect for the draped dresses and disco lights of the era. Layer on the big bangles and some glitter eye shadow, and your ‘70s outfit is as good as gold.
For the perfect ‘70s outfit, channel the original witchy woman, Stevie Nicks. The Fleetwood Mac singer was fond of breezy, billowing tops, crochet lace shawls, kimonos, and dramatic capes. Just pair a fluttery top with fitted flares or a maxi skirt, add a tambourine and a top hat, and you’ve suddenly become the Black Magic Woman.
The Wrap Dress
Chances are you already have one of these time-tested wardrobe staples in your closet. The wrap dress, popularized by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg in the 1970s, was a workwear workhorse for women in the workplace. The colorful patterns and near-universally flattering silhouette made this ‘70s outfit staple so popular, you can still buy one — designed by DVF, no less.
Need to throw together a ‘70s outfit at the last minute? Opt for an accessory you may already have on hand: aviators. Although this design was first created by Ray-Ban for Air Force pilots in the 1930s, aviator sunglasses were ubiquitous by the 1970s, worn by men and women alike. Give ‘em your best Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and founder of Ms. Magazine, by styling your sunglasses with a turtleneck, jeans, and a center part. Simple, but iconic.
If you think Britney Spears was the first to bring the bare midriff to the mainstream, think again. Pam Grier, the ‘70s action star known for Blacksploitation films like Coffey and Foxy Brown, could be seen karate-chopping bad guys wearing sexy ‘70s outfits like crop tops and halter necklines on the regular. Give it your best Foxy Brown by pairing a colorful button-up shirt with oversized lapels with low-rise flare jeans. Knot the top right below your bustline, add a gold chain and hoops, and you’ve got it made.
Crochet designs, most notably the Granny Square, were huge in the ‘70s. This simple knit pattern could be made by anyone and transformed into everything from floppy hats and fringed vests to minidresses and tiny tanks. Before Cher became known for the over-the-top embellishments she’s known for today, crochet was a regular in her rotation.
Related: The ’70s-Inspired Swimsuit Is Back — Here’s How to Wear the Trend
Although it was invented in the late ‘60s by Yves Saint Laurent, the Smoking jacket for women was a ‘70s essential. And to this day, there’s no one who can wear a suit quite like Bianca Jagger. As suiting separates became a regular part of women’s outfits in the ‘70s, Jagger took the trend from office-appropriate to jet-set chic.
Look for a suit with large, pointy lapels and wide-leg trousers to achieve the look, and if regular workwear is more your thing, try accessorizing with a silk scarf, smart handbag, and oversized shades.
In the 1970s, any article of clothing was fair game for fringe. Cher embraced the trend with her swishy on-stage dresses, while others, like Jane Fonda (pictured), opted for a more casual look, pairing a fringed top with a suede miniskirt. Find literally anything with fringe, and your complete ‘70s outfit isn’t far behind.
There was nothing plain about the peasant styles of the ‘70s. Voluminous blouses and dresses with balloon sleeves were often worn cinched at the waist, as seen on actress Sophia Loren. To complete the look, style a billowy blouse with a flowy, floor-length skirt and wide leather belt. Or, give it a more modern spin with flared jeans and fun, colorful accessories. You really can’t mess this one up.
If you’re looking for a one-piece wonder to create a ‘70s outfit, you’ve come to the right place: anything from basic boilersuits to glittery, glamorous disco diva jumpsuits are fair game. Jerry Hall modeled an everyday version of the look on a 1975 Stephen Burrows runway, giving the one-piece a feminine flare with a tie belt and sweet hat. For a more dance-floor-appropriate look, opt for something metallic and low-cut with platform shoes and a sparkly clutch.
The textured cotton fabric ebbs and flows in and out of style, but in the ‘70s, corduroy was everywhere. Think: skirts, bell bottoms, jackets, and even waistcoats, as seen above on actress Jane Seymour. Go the coordinated set route, or style a pair of corduroy pants the same way you’d wear jeans. It’s an easy way to give any outfit a retro vibe.
Jackie O. Sunglasses
Popularized by the former first lady, oversized shades (or “Jackie O. sunglasses” as dubbed by the press) were an essential part of any ‘70s outfit. While Jackie was fond of styles by Nina Ricci and Ray-Ban, any pair of exaggerated eyewear would work to re-create this iconic look. Go all-in on the ‘70s accessories by adding a silk scarf tied around your neck, handbag, or hair if you’re going incognito. Simple yet staggeringly chic.
Love Story star Ali MacGraw wore all the trends, and wore them well, from turtlenecks to knee-high boots, miniskirts, and fringe. But she was also a fan of whimsical printed blouses and dresses that also defined the era. To create a boho-inspired ‘70s outfit, look for a colorful, printed cotton dress with flowy sleeves. Accessories with lace-up sandals, silver chains, and large pendants. Don’t forget the chic choker — a ‘70s outfit staple for any style.
If Studio 54 is calling your name, then you’ll want to channel ‘70s disco star and model Grace Jones. A combination of lingerie and luxe embellishments like feathers, chainmail, and chunky jewelry are essential in creating this kind of ‘70s outfit. And, for the full Grace Jones effect, out-of-this-world eyeliner is an absolute must.
Hats, Hats, and More Hats
The 1970s were, perhaps, the last decade where people truly wore a hat with every outfit. Try anything except a baseball cap — those are a more recent trend — and wear it with a simple turtleneck, jeans, and boots outfit, like Yoko Ono. She wore everything from berets to pageboy caps and pork-pie hats. Keep your hair flowy and undone for added effect.
No list of ‘70s outfit ideas is complete without paying proper tribute to the Queen of Disco herself, Donna Summer. It is impossible to overdo it on the glitz or glam here, but we’re partial to this ultra-sparkly look. Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour attire may have even been inspired by this icon’s on-stage outfits.
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