The 1970s are one of the most revisited decades when it comes to fashion, and they continue to influence modern style. From flares to bell sleeves, shearling coats, and mini skirts, the ’70s birthed an eclectic mix of style influences that evolved quickly in a 10-year span. Skirts got shorter, boots got taller, and a range of style icons like Jane Birkin and Jean Shrimpton helped spearhead some of the era’s most memorable fashion moments.
The 1970s began with a continuation of the hippie look from the 1960s, giving a distinct ethnic flavor. Popular early 1970s fashions for women included Tie dye shirts, Mexican ‘peasant’ blouses, folk-embroidered Hungarian blouses, ponchos, capes, and military surplus clothing. Bottom attire for women during this time included bell-bottoms, gauchos, frayed jeans, midi skirts, and ankle-length maxi dresses. Hippie clothing during this time was made in extremely bright colors, as well as Indian patterns, Native American patterns, and floral patterns.
Women’s hippie accessories of the early 1970s included chokers, dog collars, handcrafted neck ornaments, and accessories made from natural elements like wood, shells, stones, feathers, Indian beads and leather. All of these replaced standard jewelry. Unisex hippie accessories included headbands, floppy hats, balumba balls, flowing scarves, Birkenstocks, and earth shoes.
Although the hippie look was widespread, it was not adopted by everyone. Many women still continued to dress up with more glamorous clothes, inspired by 1940s movie star glamour. Other women just adopted simple casual fashions, or combined new garments with carefully chosen secondhand or vintage clothing from the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s.
More simple early 1970s trends for women included fitted blazers, long and short dresses, mini skirts, maxi evening gowns, hot pants paired with skin-tight T-shirts, and flared pants. Pastel colors were most commonly used for this style of clothing, such as mauve, peach, apple green, pink, yellow, white, wheat, camel, gray, and baby blue. Rust, tangerine, copper, forest green, and pistachio became more popularized from 1973 onwards. Sweaters were a huge phenomenon in the early 1970s, often outfits being judged entirely by the sweater. This fragmented into more styles, such as sweater coats, sweater dresses, floor-length sweaters, and even sweater suits. Many of them were trimmed with fur, especially faux. Chunky, shawl-collared, belted cardigans, often in brown and white, were also commonplace.
In the early 1970s boots were at the height of their popularity, continuing onward from the mid 1960s. Women had boots for every occasion, with a wide variety of styles being sold in stores for affordable prices. Despite the wide variety, the most popular boots were Go-go boots, crinkle boots, stretch boots, and granny boots.
Take a look back at some of street styles of San Francisco girls in the early 1970s.