the bold return of ‘70s fashion


photo: katie carpenter // model: emma joffrion

With the recent revival of classic 1970s fashion trends, you have likely seen iconic celebrities wearing colorful, patterned outfits with flowy flared pants or chunky boots and denim jackets that make you feel like you stepped through a time machine. The 1970s iconic styles can never simply fade away as the ‘70s was a time for reinventing yourself. 


The 1970s marked a time of revolution in the United States as the women’s rights movement gained momentum, the Vietnam War sparked outrage at home and major strides were made to protect the environment. Amidst this chaos, the world was getting used to breaking gender gaps in clothing. As more women entered the workforce during this decade, fashion shifted to cater to the working woman and started to expand the narrow, gendered view attached to clothing.


In the 1970s, fashion embraced bell bottoms, bright colors, knee high boots, denim jumpsuits and so much more. These styles made a whirlwind of noise in the fashion industry as the disco age, boutiques, diffusion lines and movies like “Annie Hall” became popularized. The evolution of the modest chic stripes and geometric silhouettes of the early 1960s to the flower power and hippie culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s changed the fashion industry. 


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  • photo: katie carpenter // models: nicholas pepper, candace drew and emma joffrion

  • photo: katie carpenter // model: nicholas pepper

  • photo: katie carpenter // model: candace drew

  • photo: katie carpenter // model: nicholas pepper

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One of the main trends of ‘70s fashion was an “upside down Y silhouette,” according to The Fashion Folks. Other popular trends included small shirts, flared pants or denim, shorts and skirts as short as possible and “Gogo” boots. More hippie styles would further flourish into maxi dresses, flowy skirts and tops and longer sleeves with very earthy and extravagant prints and colors. The unisex nature of fashion was primarily men and women dressing in the same types of denim, flowy tops and bohemian styles. In an article written by Ana Escalante for The Vou, she talked about how the ‘70s had major impact on “gender neutral clothes that were loved and celebrated, that was an unexpected phenomenon to unisex fashion.” Denim in this decade was now widely accepted for both genders. Some celebrities recognized for their iconic fashion looks during the ‘70s are Elton John, Cher, David Bowie, Stevie Nicks and countless others. 


Helene Pezich, a sophomore fashion merchandising student, said she believes the 1970s was an era of revolt when the ‘60s hippies were rejecting mainstream fashion and embracing the designs of the hippie culture. “I think the ‘70s trends were heavily inspired by a bohemian type of look, it was a style to act as a rebellion,” Pezich said. “The clothes they wanted to wear were not available so they started to make their own clothes with crazy colors and designs, clothes no one has seen before. Their clothes were unique and fun compared to past generations.”


Pezich said she feels that the 1970s gave everyone a look into fashion that was new and original. It gave people a chance to express themselves more through their clothing, as the trends were evolving progressively.


In current fashion trends, styles such as bold patterns, baggy jeans, loafers, loose-fitting tops, bright colors, and colorful pants have reemerged, harkening back to the flare of the ‘70s. What is more apparent in these trends versus the styles in the 1970s is that celebrities are bringing these styles back. Some celebrities donning ‘70s-inspired fashions include Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus and Emma Chamberlain. 


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A post shared by @harrystyles


Harry Styles is one of the most famous musicians in the world, and he has brought the‘70s vibe back. Styles rocks suits with bell bottoms, flare pants, loud colors and playful patterns like polka dots and stripes, fully embodying a ‘70s rock star. On the other end of the spectrum, YouTuber Emma Chamberlain is also a big supporter of the modern take on 1970s fashion trends. Her statement pieces consist of corduroy jackets, flare pants and loafers. Her laid-back style embodies the ‘70s hippie flare. 



Miley Cyrus’s ‘70s rocker vibe has been phenomenal, as her outfits have been centered around out-of-this-world prints and designs, eccentric shapes and an undeniable ‘70s rocker aura. 


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A post shared by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus)


Sophomore fashion merchandising student Angelique Proffitt said that the ‘70s was full of fun loving and unique styles. “I think that the ‘70s trends were super fun and vibrant, the floral patterns, the collars, jumpsuits, all of it was an exciting and unique era. My favorite trend would be the bright colored flare pants because they’re super unique,” Proffitt said. She also said she has noticed people wearing more neutral and muted colors, and she wants the colorful ‘70s vibes to come back stronger than ever. 


The 1970s showed a time of evolution in the fashion industry that became iconic to many fashion lovers. Many celebrities keep incorporating ‘70s fashion into their everyday styles, which maintains its relevance in all the latest trends. So don’t be afraid to don those flared jeans or pull on those bright prints — the ‘70s are back. 

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Hi, I’m Catie Pusateri, the Editor-in-Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we receive support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.