1970s Fashion Extremes

The Long and The Short Of It

The 1970s were years of fashion extremes. Hot pants, tight shorts in eye catching colours and fabrics epitomized the limited impact of the women’s liberation movement on fashion. Flares on trousers grew wider and the floor length maxi and calf length midi arrived as alternatives to the mini skirt. Denim was the fabric of the decade, brushed, patched coloured and decorated.

Striding in out in Flares

Striding out in Flares

Disco fever

Discos encourage the fashion for satin hot pants, afro hair and stretchy tops. Saturday Night Fever results in‘medallion man’ with his droopy moustaches, satin shirt open to the waist and tight waisted flared trousers. Oxford bags had high waists and large side pockets.

Looking picture perfect in hot pants

Picture Perfect in Hotpants

Glam rock to second hand

Flared trousers, wide collars, tank tops and long hair – permed or cut into heavy layers 2feather cut” were essential for the 1970s man.‘Glam rock’ typified by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury makes unisex fashions mainstream.  Soon even the most masculine men occasionally wore a smear of eye shadow lip gloss and mascara.
The anarchic street style of punks was also hugely influential.

The oil crisis of 1973 throws the Western world into recession. Second hand clothing becomes so popular it develops its own style ‘charity shop chic’. Logos and trademarks decorate everything from T shirts to shoes.

Hippy movement

Victorian styles in natural fabrics made Laura Ashley the most popular British designer. Loose fitting clothes of the hippy movement were cheaply made in the Far East.

Revival 1970s maxi dresses

Selection of Revival 1970s Maxi Dresses


  • Saturday Night Fever– disco clothes.
  • Glam rock – glitter, cat suits
  • Bay City Rollers – cropped trousers, tartan trimmings
  • Charity shops – studenty layered looks
  • Punk – tartan, slashed tops, studded belts