Jaimi Struble Mrs. Hengesbach



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Jaimi Struble

Mrs. Hengesbach

English 10

3 December 2013

Fashion in 1970s America

Fashion in the 1970’s was a way for people, to express their feelings about the times and the changes that were happening around them. Fashion was very diverse and colorful. It was influenced from music, television and different ethnic cultures around this decade. The new range of style that was introduced during this time is what really defined the 70s.

Music was a major contributor to the fashion of this time period. The followers of folk and psychedelic rock bands dressed in bell-bottom jeans and casual shirts with bold patterns such as paisley or floral landscapes (Hayden). Women would wear long, flowing cotton dresses. Later in the '70s punk rock music influenced its followers to dress in more rebellious, noticeable styles such as torn clothing, and black leather. Also Mohawk hair was in style during the 70s. The creation of disco music in the latter part of the decade created a completely different atmosphere. Women wore very glittery dresses and the men wore tight pants. Younger people would gather in nightclubs, dressed in disco clothing that was designed to show off their body and sparkle in the light. Disco clothing was usually made from stretchy fabrics like spandex or synthetic polyester (Skwirk). There were also other influences like movies.

Films and TV shows also had big impact on fashion. The movie "Easy Rider" came out in 1970 and emphasized the self-expression of that time. By the early '70s, men adopted the film's styles of tight pants, long sideburns and hair and biker boots (Hayden). Famous actor John Travolta depicted the disco king in the movie "Saturday Night Fever" and hence men started combing their hair back and wearing white disco suits. Women were also inspired by movies and TV shows. The actress Diane Keaton in The movie “Annie Hall” encouraged women to wear more traditional men's clothing such as hats, tweed jackets, and neckties worn with baggy pants or skirts. According to the book Fashion and its Social Agendas, “feminists in the 1970s proposed alternative modes of dress to substitute for fashionable styles, specifically various forms of trousers, worn with other simple and casual clothes, such as T-shirts and low-heeled shoes. Also Farah Fawcett in "Charlie's Angels" inspired big, outrageous hairstyles for women (crane 25). Not only did music and movies influence the fashion but different ethnicities did to.


Tons of different ethnic cultures inspired the style of clothing during this time. Loose shirts were inspired by ethnic prints of Mexico, India and the Far East (lad). Many African Americans would express themselves with patterns and symbols from Africa. Men wore small rounded hats that many Africans wore and both men and women dressed in the flowing robes decorated with the bold patterns and colors of Africa (Pearlson). The influence of the hippy clothing and the mix and match of different styles of fashion came from every corner of the globe, and slowly began entering into mainstream fashion. And traveling became easier and easier travel meant that people brought ideas and accessories from abroad. Others people would copy or look up to designers to provide styles that fitted the style of that era.

Clearly the 1970s were a time of flashy out of the box styles that everyone loved. But After going through music, movies and ethnicity it is clear that fashion was influenced from a little bit of everything. Weather it was from right around them or across the world people were still able to create a unique thing that was there’s. The 70s were a lot like todays fashion in a way. We still copy or get new ideas from other designers and other countries.

Works Cited

Hayden, Nancy. "What Influenced Fashion in the 70s? | EHow." EHow. Demand Media, 15 June 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Skwirk. "Fashion in the 1970s." Social Features of the 1970s. N.p., 09 July 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

"1970's Fashion." HubPages. N.p., 3 May 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Crane, Diana. Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000. Print.

Hayden, Nancy. "Fashion in the 70s." EHow. Demand Media, 15 June 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2013.

Lad, Kashmira. Buzzle.com. Buzzle.com, 23 May 2013. Web. 20 Dec. 2013.



Pearlson, Susan. "What Influenced Fashion in the 70s?" Vintage Fashion Guild Forums. N.p., 27 Apr. 2013. Web. 21 Dec. 2013.


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