VINTAGE 101: 1970’s
The mid-to-late 1960’s flowed harmoniously with the vibe of the emerging 1970’s. Occurrences like the 1969 Woodstock music festival set the stage for the music-loving, peace-endorsing feel of the legendary early 1970’s. Rock concerts, outdoor festivals, bare feet and hippies reigned supreme. However, these flower children were soon faced with governmental opposition (such as violent government retaliation towards the 1970 Vietnam War protests), and their emphasis on nature, music, and beads soon took a more political and activist turn. The majority of the 1970’s in America focused on both internal issues and relations with foreign countries. Women continued to gain equality and power, resulting in the legalization of abortion in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case. International notable political events included President Richard Nixon’s resignation in relation to the Watergate Scandal, conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power, and an overall continued Cold War conflict between international Communist and politically conservative “westernized” countries.
The 1970’s was one of the most relaxed and natural fashion periods history had ever seen. It’s no wonder that people welcomed this “return to nature”. The extravagant 1960’s beehives and eyeliner, 1950’s girdles and high heels, 1940’s business suits and shellacked hair, 1930’s tight biased gowns, and 1920’s heavy makeup had created a fashion world where faux ness and furbelows were the norm. The flowing patterned maxi dresses and gypsy-esque skirts of the hippie phase rivaled the comfort of Greco-Roman togas and drapery. Even after the flower child trend had passed, clothing styles of the 1970’s remained on the whole effortless and un-fussy. Trends included flared pants, menswear-inspired billowing shirts, wide-brimmed hats and chunky platform shoes, as well as more body conscious looks like hot pants, strapless tops, and full acceptance of the previously controversial miniskirt. Granny glasses as well as oversized shades were popular, and those inspired by hippie fashion decked themselves out in beads and bangles, often in natural materials. Hair was generally worn loose and long, parted down the middle, and makeup was kept to minimal standards.
Girl of the Decade: the Hippie
Many people consider the word “hippie” interchangeable with a thorough description of the 1970’s. Tacky tie dye ensembles, accessorized with garish peace signs and headbands are passed off as authentic hippie wear in Halloween express stores and costume shops. A lot of people don’t realize that the hippie mode of dress was first and foremost based from their philosophical beliefs and worldview. It would be controversial for a group of people who believed in harmony, love, and a return to nature to embrace the latest popular trends. One couldn’t very well romp through a field of wildflowers in full makeup or groove to Janis Joplin in impractical stilettos. Sandals, loose dresses, and a lack of makeup were simply a practical means of dress for 1970’s flower children, suited perfectly to their bohemian lifestyle. More importantly than imitating their whimsical clothing styles, we should seek to find our own intellectual happiness and solace from the hippie.
Style Icons of the 1970’s
Free-spirited musicians like Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger (as well as his romantic partners Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall) promoted carefree and artsy fashions, while actress Diane Keaton, in the vein of earlier 20th-century films stars Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall, ushered in the “borrowed from the boys” trend.
Recreating the 1970’s
It’s exceptionally easy to work a 1970’s look:
1) Grab a maxi dress or a flowing blouse and wide-leg pants.
2) Add a fringed scarf, floppy hat, or slouchy fur coat.
3) Run your fingers through your hair and wear no makeup. Voila!
Despite the current popularity of 1970’s clothing styles, it’s always a great idea to see how Chictopians pulled off this vintage style. TwitchVintage, yes_i_dress, GirlOnAVine, and KikiKirsten- demonstrate the bohemian look to perfection.
Don’t let your interest in the 1970’s stop with this article!
- The Virgin Suicides (film)
- The Virgin Suicides (book)
Questions? Comments? Have a great idea for an upcoming vintage article? Let me know!