Fashion is cyclical. Trends tend to repeat themselves and this couldn't be more true than right now, with the resurgence of the hip influences of the 1970's.
Following a decade of revolt against conservatism and conformity leading to a deterioration of social order and liberation, where peace, compassion, free love, excess, positive vibes and the goals of the community, society and nation were all that mattered, the 70's brought a new and different attitude.
Gone were the days of communitarianism and collectivism - of focusing on the "common good". Now, it was all about the individual. Pursuing one's goals, interests and passions as well as establishing independence and being self-reliant was far more important than the goals and interests of any social group or the community, state and nation. This was the "Me Decade". Individualism was the new craze and what better way to express your individuality, exhibit your personality and attract attention than through your clothing.
This newfound freedom of self-expression along with the rise of the ego, gave people the confidence to experiment with fashion to create unique looks and flaunt their originality. Consequently, randomly teaming together items of different fabrics, textures, patterns and colours was popular and explains why the 70's were termed "the decade that style forgot".
However, in respect to fashion, the 70's are arguably one of the most iconic decades. From the loose-fitted, free-flowing hippie chic - faded denim, tie-dye, leather, suede, fringe, studs, flirty florals, satchels, sandals, mules, off-the-shoulder styles and embroidered peasant designs in earthy tones to cool and casual fashions and active wear - sweaters, sneakers, t-shirts, tracksuits, jumpsuits, jeans, crop tops and headbands to glam wear - sheer backless evening gowns, halter neck catsuits and for men, three-piece "leisure suits" with matching flared trousers and shirts with ruffles.
Next, there was a shift back to conservative cuts as a result of more women entering the workforce due to further progression of the feminist movement. Appropriate attire was now required, especially for ladies in office roles. Pencil skirts, high necklines, jersey wrap dresses, cowl neck tops, tunics, pinstriped pantsuits, fitted blazers, thick-heeled shoes, wide-legged flares and belled sleeves were introduced with bold lines, geometric patterns, psychedelic prints in pastel shades (particularly various hues of green), celebrating femininity in a smart, fashionable way. Wedge heels, big hair, over-sized sunglasses, gold jewellery, small shoulder bags, scarves and mood rings also featured prominently at this time.
The most famous style of this era was the tucked-in, tight-fitted ribbed top, swooping bell-bottom pants and platform shoes. To compensate for showing less skin, cuts naturally became a lot narrower, more form-fitting. Tight around the top, waist and thighs accentuated the butt and outlined the contours of the body, creating an hourglass silhouette whilst the flare from below the knee exhibited a long, lean line, all in all displaying the figure in a sexy way without showing too much skin.
Then, the film Saturday Night Fever was released and disco took over the world! People turned to dance for further self-expression and to release any pent-up energy from the working week but mostly, to have fun, feel young and carefree. Fancy and flashy, slinky and stretchy, shiny and sensual clothing was necessary to enable free movement whilst performing the Bump, Bus Stop and the Hustle during dance contests at local discotheques. Plus, with all the dancing came the need to bare more skin. Plunging necklines, bandeau tops and hot pants in skin-tight spandex (lycra) for the ladies and for men, shirts were cut lower, left unbuttoned with wide open collars to expose the neck and chest and sleeves rolled up. Platform shoes added height to help you stand out even more as you side-stepped, hip-bumped, gyrated your pelvis and twisted your hands to the steady beats and electric bass line.
Even off the dance floor, it was equally important to look your best as you posed, flaunting your fit, healthy figure under the dazzling mirror balls and strobe lighting, ready to be "spotted" by the light beams. As such, shiny polyester, satin, silk, rayon viscose, velour, stretch fabrics, sequins and metallic shades, particularly gold, were used to intentionally reflect the lights, making you shine and more important, noticeable. Gold chains and medallions were also worn for this reason.
With the revival of the 70's-inspired designs currently in vogue, designers have clearly not forgotten this decade. I like that the colours are more vibrant this time around. As a throwback to this funky, fun era, I have paired Cue's sexy 70's style striped satin skirt with a black cape sleeve top (yes, I am on a bit of cape kick at the moment!). It's a sexy, modern way to bring the hip 70's vibe into the now. Groovy baby!
"The seventies is what I love. Soft, touchable beauty is what I love." ~ Tom Ford