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For more information on this decade in fashion
history, check out our list of books and reviews at Recommended Reading. Also please visit our Links page.
For bibliography referencing, the author of this page is April Ainsworth.
Women's Vintage Fashions of the
Silhouette The outline of figures by
this decade was widely varied, especially in hair and hem lengths.
In general, a long, almost gaunt look was desired in the arms and torso,
and the flared line of bellbottoms was common. Some free-form
silhouettes were worn in a kaftan style, while other outlines tended
toward a romantic re-development of Victorian and Edwardian styles,
blending such details as empire waists and leg-o'-mutton sleeves.
Common Designs in Vintage Clothing
- Straight, skinny synthetic shirts or the ubiquitous T-shirt paired
with synthetic or denim bellbottoms
- Polyester knit suits in dress-and-jacket, jacket-and-skirt or pant
- Princess-line polyester print dresses with any sleeve length
- Ethnic and primitive leisure wear in rougher, ethnic fabrics or
slippery new synthetics
- One-piece dresses or pantsuits with a solid-color bodice and
Fabrics Available Every fabric we know
today except two little known fibers (PBI and sulfar). Polyester was
overwhelmingly the fabric of choice from leisure to evening wear, but
natural fibers had a resurgence with the organic flower child look.
Nylon, acrylic, acetate, rayon blends and other synthetics were commonly
Popular Colors and Prints Loud and
clashing colors were now in everyday fashion prints, from conservative to
wild. Swirling psychedelic prints, dotted with flowers, medallions,
geometric shapes, and what-have-you were popular. Drug-related
motifs, such as mushrooms and poppies, were subtly added to prints.
Trims and Detailing Trims were often
minimized and usually easy to apply by machine. Borders of crocheted
lace and beads were worn; appliques and novelty stitches were
popular. Most detail was seen in the involved prints, though
beading, sequins, and other traditional formal applications were used in
some evening wear.
Hemlines Day and Night Maxi-length
skirts and coats were a fashionable length, but hemlines ranged from above
the knee to the ankle for any type of wear. Hot pants were still
popular especially for club-going and performers.
The Latest Fads
- Wide and pointy "butterfly" lapels
- Bellbottoms, flares, elephant bells and wide leg pants
- Natural or ethnic styles of flower children and hippies
- Polyester as the new staple fiber
- Career wear for the working woman in two and three-piece polyester
- Platform shoes, some with outrageous designs like clear plastic
platforms with live goldfish placed inside
- Long, free-flowing hairstyles, girlish pony and pigtails, and afros
Innovations Widespread use of designer
names and labels as an incentive to shoppers, marking everything from
clothing to luggage with designers such as Geoffrey Beene and Christian