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From Hippie Chick to Disco Diva — Step Back into the Funky Style of the '70s

CEO Tinh Phung
Ah, the 1970s, a decade known for its fashion escapades! Women's fashion in the '70s was a celebration of disco divas and bohemian babes. It was a time when bell-bottom pants were so wide you...

Ah, the 1970s, a decade known for its fashion escapades! Women's fashion in the '70s was a celebration of disco divas and bohemian babes. It was a time when bell-bottom pants were so wide you could fit a small village in them, and tops featured hypnotic psychedelic patterns. Maxi dresses and skirts with enough fabric to launch a parachute became the go-to for those who wanted to channel their inner flower child. And of course, we can't forget the dazzling disco attire, where sequins and glitter made every woman a walking disco ball.

Fashion underwent a serious shakeup in the '70s. The decade began with the lingering influence of the '60s, as hippie fashion remained popular. However, as the years went on, disco fashion took hold, with designers like Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and Diane von Furstenberg defining the era's trends. By the end of the decade, the sparkly excess of the '80s was already being set in motion.

The fashion of the '70s has never truly faded away. It experienced a resurgence in the '90s, and boho-chic made multiple comebacks in the '00s. Even today, many present-day designers draw inspiration from the retro nightlife-inspired looks of disco fashion. '70s women's fashion is body-conscious and unafraid of colors, sparkles, and other bold accents like fringes and pointy collars. Let's take a look at some of our favorite looks through the years.

70s Hippie Fashion

In the '60s, hippie fashion emerged as a rebellious expression of youth culture. The looks were rooted in countercultural ideals and featured patchwork, tie-dye, crochet, and casual denim. However, as with many trends, hippie fashion eventually became commercialized and mainstream. It popped up in advertisements and department stores, losing some of its devil-may-care spirit along the way.

By the '70s, the hippie style was still prevalent, although it had a more refined look compared to the '60s. Many artists from the previous decade continued to embrace the style, and the influence of hippie fashion was still felt.

1970: Floral Prints and Prairie Dresses

Mainstream '70s fashion drew inspiration from hippie looks, even among women who weren't politically active or didn't listen to typical hippie music. Designers like Jessica McClintock and Thea Porter created designs that channeled hippie romance. McClintock's prairie dresses, often worn for weddings and proms, brought a sense of hippie aesthetic to wider audiences. Meanwhile, Porter's Middle Eastern-influenced caftans were worn by celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor.

Two women look at dresses at a London boutique in 1970 Two women look at dresses at a London boutique in 1970 - Chris Morris/Pymca/Shutterstock

1971: Tassels and Suede

Some women, including actresses, embraced a more dolled-up version of hippie style. The bombshell Raquel Welch, for example, posed in a cropped suede vest with long fringes, flared jeans, and sandals. Her outfit added a sexier twist to the boho look.

Actress Raquel Welch in 1971 Raquel Welch in 1971 - Emilio Lari/Shutterstock

1972: Breezy Boho Dresses and Skirts

Folk musicians like Joni Mitchell and the ladies of Fleetwood Mac embraced flowing dresses and boho prints in the '70s. Joni Mitchell's tie-dye dress, reminiscent of a far-away bazaar, and her casual sandals exuded comfort and a touch of worldliness.

Joni Mitchell onstage in 1972 Joni Mitchell onstage in 1972 - Shutterstock

1973: Bell Bottoms and Psychedelic Patterns

Cher rocked a psychedelic patterned ensemble with fringe detailing, paying homage to the original hippie style. Her look had a more put-together glam than the original hippies, showcasing the evolution of the fashion trend .

Cher on the Glen Campbell Show in 1973 Cher performs on Glen Campbell’s TV show in 1973 - ITV/Shutterstock

1977: Peasant Blouses and Bangles

Linda Ronstadt, known for her powerhouse voice and catchy musical repertoire, incorporated hippie fashion touches into her style. She often put flowers in her hair and paired casual denim cut-offs with flowy blouses. Her jeans, off-the-shoulder top, and pile of bangles perfectly showcased her hippie appeal.

Linda Ronstadt onstage in 1977 Linda Ronstadt plays the tambourine onstage in 1977 - Kent/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

70s Disco Fashion

Later in the '70s, disco took center stage. Shiny and extravagant, disco fashion was the antithesis of the hippie movement. Studio 54 became the go-to nightclub, and musicians like Donna Summer and the Bee Gees ruled the disco scene.

Disco fashion combined both maximalism and minimalism. Dresses were tailored in diaphanous cuts, easy to slip on without complicated buttons or zippers, but they featured bold colors and shimmering fabrics.

1976: Voluminous Sleeves and Sequins

The divas of the '70s often performed in dazzling disco-ready dresses. Diana Ross, for example, rocked a sparkling batwing sleeve ensemble, perfect for a wild night out on the town.

Diana Ross onstage in 1976 Diana Ross performs on TV in 1976 - MediaPunch/Shutterstock

1976: Metallic Knits

Disco style was all about making a bold statement. A sparkling, multicolored sweater dress paired with thigh-high stockings could be dressed up for a night at the nightclub or worn more casually during the day. Disco cool was all about colors and metallics, allowing people to channel their inner disco diva.

Model in sparkly striped sweater and thigh-high stockings in 1976 A model poses in disco fashion in 1976 - Shutterstock

1977: Halston-Style Gowns

Halston, one of the most iconic designers of the time, created fluid silhouettes with his bias-cut tailoring and fabrics like jersey. His muses, like Bianca Jagger, were often seen wearing his glamorous metallic dresses that embodied the essence of disco.

Bianca Jagger and Halston in 1977 Bianca Jagger and designer Halston in 1977 - Adam Scull/Shutterstock

1977: Sheer, Off-the-Shoulder Dresses

Both hippie and disco styles celebrated braless looks. However, disco fashion dialed up the sex appeal. Dresses were often sheer or featured skimpy straps, off-the-shoulder styles, halters, or no straps at all. The blousy top and long skirt worn by Karen Lynn Gorney in Saturday Night Fever perfectly combined seduction with dance party twirls.

Karen Lynn Gorney and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, 1977 Karen Lynn Gorney and John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, 1977 - HA/THA/Shutterstock

1978: Polyester Jumpsuits

Disco style wasn't limited to dresses; one-pieces and jumpsuits were also a popular choice. Model Lauren Hutton posed in a powder blue jumpsuit with a pointy collar. Although casual in style, its shape and details were very much in line with the disco era. Jumpsuits, exaggerated collars, and polyester were all disco staples that made their way into everyday looks.

Model Lauren Hutton in 1976 Lauren Hutton, 1978 - Shutterstock

1979: Form-Fitting Satin and Spandex

Disco fashion reached its peak with shows like Charlie's Angels. The cast's promotional shot featured shiny, tight, and brightly colored pants that bordered on parodying disco fashion. The vibrant shades and over-the-top sheen influenced the looks of the '80s.

Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, and Shelley Hack in a promotional image for Charlie's Angels Cheryl Ladd, Jaclyn Smith, and Shelley Hack in Charlie's Angels in the late '70s - Spelling-Goldberg/Kobal/Shutterstock

Groovy!

'70s women's fashion was all about being carefree and having a good time. Whether you were a hippie chick or a disco darling, you dressed to be comfortable and express your individuality. These styles offer a fun alternative to the watered-down, social media-influenced looks that dominate today. Hippie and disco fashion embody the energy and creativity of the '70s while feeling timeless.

So, why not embrace a hippie top or a disco dress? Step back into the funky style of the '70s and let it add some pep to your step.

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