Embrace Some Fashion From the 1970s

Fashion decade 70s coverFashions of a Decade: The 1970s

Submitter: Unfortunately, there are no fashion history aficionados at our school. This is a lone volume from a series, which is probably why it hasn’t been touched in years. It’s a pretty thorough overview of 70’s trends, and covers big influences like Saturday Night Fever, Elton John, Farrah Fawcett, etc. The mix of photos and painted illustrations is odd. Wouldn’t the teen reader want to see the fashions in an authentic context? The “poster-ized” renditions would look great on black velvet!

Holly: My library has this whole series, and it actually comes in handy for those “decade reports” that kids do every year – but it probably does work better as a full series. It’s not very  indicative of real people/daily life fashion of each decade, but gives a more extreme view of fashion. Kind of artsy, even. I can see why Submitter would weed it, and I would too in her situation. This is a classic case of “know thy user” and “know thy collection.” It’s a keeper here! (I especially love the picture of Diana Ross and her painted-on “outfit” – below.)

Mary: As the representative of teens in the 1970s, every time I am confronted with the “historical” 1970s, I have a minor anxiety attack. As a teen, I didn’t embrace any of these particular looks other than an attempt to convince my mother that gaucho pants would make me popular.


Fashions of a decade

Levi's and Village People

Bob Marley and Donna Summer

Punk girls

Jackson Five

Pinball wizard and Fiorucci

Jane Fonda




    1. We used to have this series, and I always assumed that was David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era on the cover. Now that I look closer, I’m not so sure.

  1. I was in high school in the 70s, in a large San Francisco suburban school. NONE of the students dressed anything like the “punk girls” or those in the picture below them. We wore Levi’s though! The 70s in the book, or at least the selected photos, must have been the very late 70s, like only 1979.

      1. I was so jealous that my HS friend looked great in gauchos…made me look like I got shrunk in the wash! I did rock the striped socks, though.

  2. I like the illustrations, which seem to me to be a way to get around copyright issues. Photo too expensive? Have someone re-create it in a painting!

  3. Wasn’t punk more of a UK thing any way? I was at art school in the late 1970s and the image was very popular amongst all the students, in varying degrees.
    What does seem to be missing is the UK Northern Soul look, with very wide trousers with pleated waists and high waist bands for boys, girls wore ankle length pleated skirts. There was also the Bay City Rollers look, with half mast tartan trousers and shirts with very long collars.
    The decade style forgot!

  4. Hey, could a Jackson 5 fan match names with the faces in the photo? It’s apparently the Jackson 6, but no sisters…But don’t stare too long–those 70’s patterns will make you seasick!

  5. Your words took me back. I finally convinced my parents that painter pants were the cool thing, and they gave in a got me a pair… right when we moved across the country to a small city which had never heard of painter paints and looked on them with askance. Sadly, I suffered through wearing them for more than a year before they came into style there.

  6. Where it says “Donna Summer, one of the most romantic and glamorous black American singers,” I misread it as “romantic and /ginormous/ black American singers.” Which makes sense, because she’s much bigger than that city in the picture.

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