Friday, February 24, 2012

Why You Should Love The Seventies

I've got to say, lately I'm finding myself drawn to some distinctly seventies looks! It sometimes seems like enjoying the 70s is some sort of "guilty pleasure", unfashionable amongst the vintage scene. It's a decade which sometimes gets a bad rap in fashion history (second only to the eighties) and - held responsible for the rise of poor quality, itchy crimplene and other synthetics, and a reputation for brown and orange everything - is often neglected by "vintagists" (while being embraced by mainstream fashion, in heavily diluted form). But the 70s did actually provide a wealth of fashion within quite a short time - one of the reasons it's been regularly plundered for inspiration by designers almost since it closed! So here are my four top reasons why you should love the Seventies:

1. Diversity Rules

To some, it's a decade where fashion was directionless, with diametrically opposed subcultures including punk, hippie and disco competing for the style spotlight. But, contrarily, I see these as reasons to love the seventies. It was in many ways the first "anything goes" era, where fashion became truly divergent. Really for the first time, fashion was not prescriptive: Skirts could hit anywhere from mini to maxi, you could opt for blousy and romantic, sharp tailoring, "ethnic" fashions like kaftans, or skintight lycra.

2. The Fit n Flare Silhouette

The standard silhouette - if there were such a thing in the 70s - was a fit-and-flare shape, flattering to virtually all figure types and a welcome alternative to the boxy, waist-eliminating shapes of the mid- to late-sixties.

3. Pick A Revival

Brands like Laura Ashley and Gunne Sax headed up the Victorian-Edwardian revival with high collared ditsy-printed cotton prairie dresses decorated in crochet lace edging.

source

Meanwhile, mainstream fashion was taking influences from the 1930s, 40s and 50s - each of which I'll be examining in more detail over the coming weeks.

4. Easycare fabrics

The frail silk crepe-de-chines and notoriously temperamental rayons of the 1930s and 40s are totally gorgeous, but so delicate that even entrusting it to the dry cleaners can be a nerve-wracking experience. So there's really something to be said for being able to chuck 1970s polyester and heavy cottons in the washing machine.

So come on, what do you love about the 70s? Who are your 70s style icons?

21 comments:

  1. I definently have a soft spot for 70's flares and high waisted denim. I also love Biba's designs from this era.

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  2. I love everything about the 70s. In winter it's all about flared denim, leather jackets and flat caps or tweed midis and boots (think tough 70s lady journo or film cop undercover). In summer, it's the floaty maxis, Edwardian and fit-n-flare minis.

    And for special events (as you may have noticed recently) MARGOT of Good Life fame alllll the way! ;)

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  3. I have to say that I do have a growing fondness for 70s styles - you're right that there is quite a diversity in the decade. Last weekend I bought a fantastic zig zag patterned 70s dress, which is totally channeling the 30s, I love it. And it's a real wool knit, which is even better. I still have to post about it on my blog, but it's my new favourite dress for definite.

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  4. noooooooooo! well ok maybe, i can see where you're coming from! But I swear I had that long yellow dress as a bridesmaid dress when I was 8 and some things haunt you forever... :)

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  5. I don't like the 70's fashion perhaps because it's the era when I was born and when I look at some childhood pictures I think "But why did I have a such bad look!!!"
    70's fashion is the opposite of what I like in the 40's-50's. 70's is a natural fashion for hair and make-up. You can wear 70's clothes to be relax but to be elegant it's not the era to chose. I look at some pictures of my parents' wedding dating back 1975 and I laught a lot: large pants for my father with a huge velvet bow tie, long hair with wide glasses... my mother dress was not so bad with a princess waist... but her hair was so curly... like a afro style but for a blonde!
    Moreover I think the color I love the less is probably ORANGE, THE color from the 70's...

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  6. I used to dress my son in 70's kids' fashions when he was little. Flared trousers and short denim jackets look cool on 2-year-olds, too :)

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  7. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for the 70s! Perhaps it's because I grew up wearing a lot of old Laura Ashley dresses I thrifted, or loving the hippie look, but I still think it's a decade that shouldn't be dismissed just because of the polyester and sometimes less than flattering aspects. ;) (Because let's be honest: even the beloved 30s and 40s even have a few "fashion missteps"! ;) I especially love the Victorian/Edwardian revival look, but the 30s/40s throwbacks are also a favorite. I have a couple dresses that have the perfect 40s silhouette, but date from the 1970s--and I'm much more inclined to wear those on a daily basis than the few genuine 40s dresses I own. The other aspect I love is that 70s sewing patterns are still so plentiful! I've been snatching up quite a few at the thrift stores lately!

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  8. I actually like the majority of the 70's style, particularly the 70's does 30's/40's look and the ethnic/Boho/Biba styles. But the FABRIC! Ugh!! I just Loathe the polyester knits they had. I find so many cool dresses/blouses etc, from that era that I just don't wear because they feel like crap on the body. I have a smallish collection of patterns that are in line to be made, so I'll get some of the style without the itch.

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  9. I have always held to the notion that if you wore it the first time it was fashionable, you shouldn't wear it the next time it becomes fashionable. I stay away from actual 70s vintage clothing, but I have a few 70s patterns that resemble 30s or 40s fashion because they are cheaper and easier to find in larger sizes.

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  10. I LOVED all things 70s punk as a high schooler! Also, who doesn't love all the movies made in the 70s, and the TV shows :D

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  11. The 70s were my first exposure to fashion (since I was a kid and all....). You do get revivals of past eras - which really sparked my interest in those original eras. I do have to say I have a TERRIBLE weakness for disco dresses and have a pretty serious collection of them. Of course the polyester is a problem but I'm willing to over look it for something truly fabulous. Platform shoes also came back!

    My summer sewing is usually from 70s vintage patterns. A little flip of the hair, a flutter sleeve dress some (spray) tanned legs and it's summer time!

    Oh and the 70s also gave us punk, the Clash, David Bowie and Queen. :-)

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  12. Some of it was ghastly, but every decade has had that, some of it was great, think Biba and lots of purple and the art nouveau revival/twenties etc. I liked that part and Gunne Sax except that they seemed make their clothes only for the positively emaciated, really stupidly small sizing, even for the times. I was a child then but I remember seeing my grown up cousin's magazines and liking Biba very much, and the bell shaped sleeves of white broderie anglais blouses that she wore, with a long black velvet pinafore, her hair was done up in that high bun with the loose tendrils. I thought she was fabulous and wanted to be just like her when I grew up!

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  13. I've never enjoyed much of anything fashion-wise from the 70s (household-wise is a different story, there was definitely some fun furniture and accessories that came out of that era). However I've always rather liked the prairie revival from the 70s. So I'll look forward to being enlightened to things in that era I didn't know I liked in your future posts. :)

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  14. I never used to like 70s fashion mainly because of all the hideous synthetic fabrics that I came across in op shops, synthetic fabrics in a Sydney summer is just not ok. ( charity/thrift shops for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere). Since I started sewing more intensely and adding to my pattern collection I have come across some really cute 70s patterns in local op shops for about 50c. I really like the 70s take on the 40s because I find it fits my hourglass shape better. I also like that it was eclectic, so you can dress in styles from different eras on the cheap. So basically I agree with everything you have written.

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  15. I LOVE the 70's-I feel at home in it possibly bc I was born in that time but I love the music and it just always makes me feel good. I love the clothes-they were fun and flirty and for everyone's figure. I actually dressed entirely 70's for about two yrs in college. I have a photo posted in my blog under a post about my hair trends. But I wore bells (bellbottoms) and polyester tops all the time-it was so much fun!!!! LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! xox

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  16. Thank you so much for this post and for the ones coming. I have been following vintage fashion blogs for a few months and have noticed that the 70's are either love or hate and not that popular anyway. I love them: I like the big collars, the bell bottoms, the gathered sleeves and the fact that it can be such a relaxed, comfy style... everyday stuff for a stylish gal. 70's fashion can also be incredibly sophisticated and elegant too... I like that versatility! I must admit I don't like the synthetic fabrics, but we've got a wealth of sewing patterns to recreate the look with modern materials and that can't be bad!

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  17. Can't believe this, but when I was a teenage home-sewer in the 70's, I made the dress in the Butterick 3941 pattern. Junior size 7 if I recall (those were the days), using a print of small orange, pink and brown floral on a cream field. Pure seventies.

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  18. Thank you so much for this post! I love the 70s for all the reasons you list, it'so nice to see other people like it too!

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  19. I'm an unashamed Seventies girl. The Thirties and Forties-styling suit my shape, and the fabrics and glam rock twist suit my personality and lifestyle.

    As for style icons, too many to mention. Special note to Noosha Fox, Stevie Nicks, Bianca Jagger, Doctor Who companions and all of Pan's People ;)

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  20. Thank you for such a great post! I have always had a soft spot for the 70s and lately have found myself drawn towards more of a 70s look. Right now I'm wearing an outfit not too disimilar to one my mum wore in the 70s when she first started working. I'm looking forward to your other posts!

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  21. Charlotte! I agree with so much of what you say. In fact you have deffo inspired me, i think i'm going to have to write a post about my unashamed recent love affair with the 70s!

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