Always wanted to know more about this iconic era? Delve into the 70s with us and see how this decade's style STILL inspires us today, and how the power of the past can still influence our future. With graphics, florals, prairie, lurex and more, you'll be a pro at spotting a 70s dress in no time, and learn from all the original vintage style icons how to nail 70s style, and how to update the look for today.
Dress Styles of the 1970s
- As the 60s gave way to a new decade, Emilio Pucci’s graphic, floating florals in earthy tones captured the new mood. Floaty and full ‘bell’ sleeves took prominence.
- The development of more affordable metallic, lurex fabrics perfectly ushered in a longer silhouette to dresses as the opulence and hedonism of disco drew the 70s to a close.
70s Icons!Nina Simone
A huge proponent of the black civil rights movement as the 70’s dawned, both in her music and her life, Nina was a fearless style icon. Mixing the prints and shapes of the day with incredible native African headwear, she took black iconography to new heights.
As Fleetwood Mac became one of the most popular bands in the world, Stevie’s long hair and flighty dresses were a perfect match for the free flowing liberation she showed onstage. Still an incredible influence to many, her ability to seamlessly accessorise with top-hats and long scarves elevated her dresses to an ethereal plain.
That party girl/actress/model Jerry Hall dated two of the biggest rock stars of the 70s is in no small part due to her incredible agility in harnessing her sultry statuesque figure in the most sensuous dresses of the day. Maxi lengths of the 70’s were perfect for her endless legs and height.
After her legendary entrance into Studio 54 on horseback, jet-setting Nicaraguan socialite and former actress Bianca was a true proponent of sizzling 70s fashion, equally at home in a floaty gown as she was in sequins.
Shrugging off The Supremes in 1970 Diana became a style icon in her own right throughout the decade. Draped in bias cut 30’s inspired satins, dramatic maribou and sometimes even Elton John, her tall slender frame was perfect for the new shapes the decade brought. Her status as disco diva at the end of the decade brought her to a new audience.
How to wear 70s style now
- Pick out those wild psychedelic prints to match with trainers, heavy boots or even comfy, cute jellies for the beach!
- Let those winged, bell sleeves float with a pair of leg winding espadrilles, wedges or platforms. Great for bigger frames or set it off with a brown belt for nipped waists.
- Use the satin goodness of those 70s dresses to elevate those newly permitted nights out to the pub! Dance your night away like Diana!
- Pair those fab 70s dresses with a velvet jacket or faux fur suede for those cooler autumn days.
Party season is well underway and there's no better inspiration for vintage party wear than the infamous Studio 54.
The former nightclub located at 254 West 54th Street, bang in between Eighth Avenue and Broadway in Manhattan, was the pinnacle of 70's hedonism.
World famous for it's beyond imaginatively themed parties where everybody from postmen and retail assistants would be rubbing shoulders to disco tunes with celebrities and the incredibly wealthy, granted you were dressed fabulously enough to get past the lucrative doormen.
One time Bianca Jagger even rode in across the dance floor on a white horse - totally iconic!
How To Get The Look
With December being the time for celebrating, whether it be your work Christmas party or New Year's Eve with your very best friends, there's no doubt that it's time to dress to impress and this year we're fully inspired.
It's time to get on your dancing shoes and the higher the heel the closer to God. We recommend the biggest platform shoes known to mankind because le freak, c'est chic.
Not only does layering up to protect you from the bitter cold (seriously, it's minus two degrees at the time of writing this) but it gives you more of a chance to show off your look and exquisite styling skills. Throw a glamorous jacket over a sparkly vintage roll neck, a silk scarf over a retro jumper or even a raunchy fishnet body under a flared leg jumpsuit. Even making an entrance in a striking faux fur jacket for extra fabulousness wouldn't go amiss. After all, you can always ditch it in the cloakroom when things start hotting up.
Whilst Studio 54 unfortunately closed down forever following the owner's arrest over tax evasion, it's still possible to party like we're there.
Although arriving on an animal is probably more hassle than it's worth, it's almost necessary to go all out just to keep the spirit of the outrageous venue alive.
As we head into the summer and approach the halfway mark of 2019 it's a good time to look back and celebrate our favourite vintage-inspired looks of the year. Whether your wardrobe looks like it was brought straight from the 60's or you like to experiment with era-themed styling there is something to inspire you all.
1. The Shell Suit Of Your Dreams
Starting strong... our warehouse team showing you how to rock an 80s shell suit. Go hard or go home right?
2. Sassy Seventies
A dreamy, bohemian, vintage inspired look perfect for summer. Grab yourself a patterned mini dress from our huge selection!
3. The Perfect Season Transition Outfit
Leandra Medine is a bonafide style guru and this 70s inspired look has us swoooooning. If you're looking for a way to jazz up your denim why not try a statement jacket.
4. Flares With Friends
The fitting rooms in our Bristol store are perfect for an impromptu catwalk to strut around in your new vintage finds.
5. Sorbet Pink Perfection
We just can't get enough of seventies inspired dressing for summer, another of our favourite looks- so chic and flattering for all.
6. Berlin Street-style Inspiration
Vintage-inspired normcore dressing isn't going anywhere, so get on board!
7. Dad On Holiday But Make It Fashion
Talking of normcore, dad-style, a member of our Brighton store shoes you how to make the trend work for warmer days! Shop our men's city break edit here.
8. Dramatic Glamour
One of our favourite Met Gala looks of this year, Lily Collins pulled out all the stops in this vintage-inspired frilled gown with 60s bouffant and makeup. Definitely one to recreate asap!
9. Rock 'n' Rolla
Coloured vintage jeans styled two ways. A simple but effective way to work your vintage pieces.
10. Suave Seventies
11. Disney Dreaming
We absolutely love this fun 90s style- the Mickey Mouse patch is just the icing on the cake. You can shop our selection of vintage Disney clothing here!
12. Denim Chic
Kendall Jenner rocking both the work-wear and double denim trends all in one go. We love this simple and chic 70s inspired look.
13. Mint Madness
A swingin' 60s look by one of our Dalston store team. Minty perfection! Don't forget you can shop all of our true vintage pieces by decade online!
14. Classic Cowboy
Last but by no means least, Lil Nas X has us all embracing yeehaw culture with his vintage-looking Western outfits. Even if you don't have a cowboy hat from Gucci you can still get some Wrangler on your booty by shopping our branded denim selection here.
Feeling inspired? Head over to our online store to find the freshest selection of vintage pieces hand-picked just for us; or if you want a little bit more style inspiration why not check out our blog where you can see how to wear double denim, how to do monochromatic dressing or read up on what fashion in the 1970s was like.
Words by Eloise Gendry
The 1970s and denim go hand in hand together like Jimmy Hendrix and a guitar, or Bianca Jagger and a white horse at Studio 54. From flares and double denim to skirts long and short the decade shifted denim from a Counterculture statement to a fast fashion must have. We take a look at some of our favourite 1970s denim fashion moments to help you get the perfect look online and in store.
Flares in any shape and form are synonymous with the 70s, starting life off as Naval bell-bottoms bought by the youth as a distinctive sign of a Counterculture lifestyle. The demand for these recycled Navy uniform trousers outweighed supply and those who wanted the look started to get creative by cutting open the side seams of straight legged jeans and adding extra panels of contrasting fabric.
Manufactures and stores quickly caught on to the DIY flared jeans, and it wasn’t long before a flared jean could be seen in every High Street window. From Farrah Fawcett to the teenagers on the street, flared jeans were the staple of 1970s denim fashion.
The Wrangler Jacket
Denim jackets can be attached to many eras but for the 70s must have it was the Wrangler Blue Bell 11MJ. Made famous by John Lennon it is near impossible to find a photo of Lennon in the 70s without his favourite piece of Wrangler denim.
The Denim Skirt
The denim skirt was born in the 70s as a way to recycle damaged denim in the awakening of the environmentally conscious consumer. They came in all lengths from a take on the 60s mini to the longer bohemian cut with raw hems, centre front o-ring zips and the humble patchwork.
Originally the staple of Cowboys and Miners of Gold Rush California, double denim much like the flare became a popular 70s trend. One of the many advocates of the double denim look was Sonny and Cher. Sonny, in fact, was the first man on television to ever wear denim. Denim came to symbolise a fresh all – American sexuality so the more denim, the better!
With so many 70s pieces in store and online, it is so easy to recreate your own 1970s denim fashion moment or mix and match with your own style. Perhaps try your own bit of DIY on the unloved denim in the back of your wardrobe to create that patchwork look. If we can recommend one thing though is to try double denim, it may change your life!
Words Hugo Harris
Now we all know that the Cheese Burger was invented at the 1904 St Louis World Fair and Donuts were introduced by the Dutch settlers of New York, duuuhhh, but have you ever looked at your trusty canvas cons and queried “WHERE ARE YOU FROM, HOW DID YOU GET HERE?”
But we just got our mitts on a whole bunch, so I’m about to drop some serious Chuck knowledge with a brief history of Converse.
In the Beginning
Believe it or not, Converse All-stars were not invented for maximum traction on booze-soaked indie/nu rave dance floors of the early to mid-2000s. Nor were they invented to help assist the anarchy uprising of the mid-70s. The first incarnation was actually invented over 100 years ago in 1917, for the newly emerging American sport of basketball. The flat-footed, zero shock absorbent first Converse shoe was actually made for physical activity. Mental.
Original Converse ‘Non-Skid”, note no Chuck signature
Surprisingly, the All-Star was quite technologically advanced for its time. The rubber ‘ non-skid’ sole and the lightweight Canvas was the tits in 1917 and by 1918 they were making 20,000 shoes a day! It wasn’t till 1921 that a man named Chuck Taylor changed Converse forever.
Chuck Taylor, a semi-pro basketball player, started wearing the first Converse shoes in 1920. Converse noted this and gave him a job as a salesman and brand ambassador and toured America with his Converse team showing off their kicks. During these tours, Chuck suggested some design tweaks to Converse to help improve the flexibility and ankle support of the ‘Non-skids’. Converse adopted his ideas and in 1932 slapped his signature on the ankle patch and the Converse All Star we know today was born!
Chuck Taylor, great posture, greater shoe designer.
The Sports Sneaker
Converse All Stars quickly became America’s preferred basketball sneaker. It was the official shoe of the Olympics from 1936 to 1968 and during WWII All stars were the official athletic training shoes of the U.S armed forces.
Post World War II the Chuck Taylor All Stars became sporting standard for all basketballers, from Highschool gyms to the Pro NBA and ABA leagues, everyone was wearing Chucks on the hardcourt. It was so popular that in the 1960s Converse had captured 70-80% of the basketball market share, to put that in perspective industry leader Nike has about 40% of the basketball share today.
Trends and technology changed but Converse All Stars remained the same, and the inability to adapt to the sports market meant that the Chucks slowly faded out of the realm of the athletic sneaker world. The classic canvas All Star was last seen on the NBA court worn by Tree Rollins in the ‘79-80 NBA season, 63 years after the Chuck Taylor All Stars was born.
Tree Rollins, wearing canvas All Stars
Off the Court
Fortunately for Converse, another movement was shaking during Converse’s basketball boom. Back in the 50s, wearing athletic sneakers outside of the gym was seen as a slightly rebellious act, similar to Marlon Brando wearing underwear (a T-shirt) and blue jeans on the silver screen. Greasers started to slowly adopt Chucks and wore it as a subtle fuck you to the tie wearing, straight-laced “Man”. Converse’s low price point also helped, due to the no-frills canvas and rubber construction, it was affordable to the working-class and teens.
Rock n Roll
This counterculture association stuck and started gaining more traction throughout the decades. Slowly, Converse All Stars became apart of the uniform of nonconforming Youth. By the mid-70s, the counterculture explosion of punk reared it’s scraggy face and wrapped around its feet was our mate Chuck- The first commercially successful basketball sneaker, one of the first mass-produced sneaker, had become a punk footwear staple- OH THE IRONY. What also may have helped that the two largest punk bands on either side of the pond, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, were also donning them and that they also looked mint in a pair of drainpipe jeans.
Ever since Converse, All Stars have become synonymous with music and individualism.
Hair metal, Gangsta Rap, Grunge, Post Punk, Indie and New Rave; the music trends changed but the shoes remained the same.
Converse on the Catwalk
These subconscious advertisements from industry leading musicians and artists helped Converse gain a certified ‘classic’ and ‘cool’ rep and with Converse’s current and past collaborations with brands such as Off White, Comme des Garcons, Carhartt, J W Anderson and Dover Street Market, the classic Converse All Star will continue to remain relevant for another 100 years.
Icons and artists who braved the bleeding heel blisters of Converse All Stars include: Eddie Vedder, Farrah Fawcett, Elvis, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Blur, James Hatfield, The Strokes (and every Indie band of the 2000s), Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Hunter S Thompson, Jane Birkin, Pharrell etc etc.
Rapper Ice Cube
Robert Plant and his lemon rocking the reds.
Teenage Heartthrob turned Dad bod spokesman, Leo in Basketball Diaries
Gonzo Journalist Pioneer, Hunter S. Thompson in the white ‘Oxford’ All stars
Elvis, not Costello, wearing Converse on set
1970s style icon Jane Birkin
Words Damien Watt
WonderBras, corsets, push-ups and girdles; styles and fashions in women's lingerie have reflected not only the changing trends in women's fashion but also changes in societal attitudes to beauty, the body and politics.
Check out our break down of the history of lingerie and the changing trends and styles from the Mid 19th century lingerie to the 1990s.
1850 - 1900
Crinolines and corsets were standard elements of a fashionable ladies dress in the mid - 19th century. During this century skirts were voluminous and bell-shaped, the desired effect was first achieved by layering a large number of petticoats together.
In 1856 they were replaced by the cage crinoline - a hooped petticoat made from flexible steel. Skirt s continued to expand and they reached their maximum proportions around 1860. Skirts were so enormous two ladies could not sit together on the same sofa!
'Camille' by Monet 1866 - shows the vast hooped skirt that was fashionable at the time
A crinoline, courtesy of the V & A
1900 - 1910s
During the Edwardian period, fashion as always reflected the mood of the age. It was a decade defined by everything that was larger than life-size (for those who could afford it) in an age of excess and extravagance.
In fashion busts too became bigger, the effect was emphasised by the so-called 'health' corsets which were designed to relieve pressure on the abdomen, made the body firmly straight in front, by throwing back the hips and throwing forward the bust. This formed the body into an S-shaped stance so distinctive of the period.
During the 1920's skirts became shorter and waistlines dropped, this sleek and slinky silhouette was unforgiving to any form of bulky lingerie. An androgynous silhouette was the fashionable shape of choice throughout the roaring jazz-fuelled 20's - the bust was entirely boyish and women even took to wearing flatteners and lightweight slips in newly invented fabrics to achieve the desired effect.
The 1930's is renowned as the Golden Age of Hollywood and of glitz and glamour. Fashion looked to burgeoning Hollywood starlets for style inspiration. There was an emphasis on backless dresses bared to the waist, many of the dresses of the period looked as if they had been designed to be seen from the rear.
With developments in fibre technology, fabrics, colours, patterns and innovations with adjustable straps, padded bras and cup sizing, bras became more sophisticated than ever before and allowed for a more versatile approach to dress especially when it came to backless dresses. Wasp waists were also back in fashion coming into the 40's. In the summer of 1939, Vogue's reporter noted 'you must have a tiny waist, held in if necessary by super-light-weight boned and laced corsets'.
Tony Frissel for Vogue, 1938
Fabric shortages throughout the war impacted trends and styles in fashion, the waist remained nipped with skirts coming to just below the knee. The 'make-do and mend' campaign encouraged women to re-make and update their wardrobe by hand. Military terminology crept into everyday product marketing with the conical 'bullet bra' increasing in popularity, offering support and protection.
Dior's revolutionary 'New Look' in the late 40's waists were heavily corseted, hips were padded and shoulders softened with an emphasis on the bust. This hourglass silhouette was achieved with the help of a strong girdle, with attached suspenders to hold up stockings.
Pointed brassieres or bullet bras remained popular into the 1950's, helping to achieve the ultra-feminine look that was favoured throughout this decade.
Despite the sexual and feminist revolution of the 1960s many trend-led young women often looked like children, dressed in baby doll dresses, puffed sleeves, pinafores, gymslips and the Knickerbockers.
Lingerie reflected these styles with cute nighties, frilly knickers and unstructured brassieres becoming popular throughout the decade.
The cutesy styles of the previous decade were set aside in favour of a more sophisticated and sexy look. Lingerie became daring and luxurious with the use of silks, satins and sequins utilized to create the underwear for the decade of disco.
The lingerie of the 80's projected a bold, youthful and overtly sexual image. This was the decade that brought us thongs and G-strings with lingerie designers drawing inspiration from fetishistic corsetry and lacing.
The 90's saw the trend for underwear as outerwear fronted by the chameleon queen of pop, Madonna and also infamously known for her conical bra. This was also the decade of the WonderBra worn by supermodel Eva Herzigova.
Eva Herzigova in Wonderbra's 90's billboard campaign
Shop our selection of vintage lingerie here or for some more fashion history read our history of Levis jeans here.