How to Dress Retro 70s

Dominique de Merteuil By Dominique de Merteuil8 min read

Last updated on January 27th, 2024 at 03:24 pm

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Coco Chanel once said that fashion fades and only style remains the same. I agree with her statement wholeheartedly. And this is why, I’m not going to offend your intelligence and good taste and tell you about new trends, and what you should or shouldn’t be buying this season.

You have to find your style, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes it takes years to refine it, but once you get there you will be able to filter fast through the season’s new looks and disregard completely what’s not relevant to you personally. Only take what will help to distil your style.

Are you ready to rock some retro vibes and step back in time to the iconic 70s fashion era?


DISCLOSURE: As of October 2021, I’m part of an affiliate program. I get a small commission for purchases made through links in the Shop This Post section below. That’s how I keep my website alive, for which I’m very grateful to you. All opinions expressed here are mine! 

Unveiling the Timeless Charm of 70s Fashion

In this post, I will take you on a journey through time and revisit the colourful and daring fashion of the 1970s, a decade that gave birth to countless iconic styles that continue to influence and inspire the world of fashion today.

The era was a time of uninhibited self-expression and creativity, and its impact can still be seen in the styles of today’s fashion.

How to Dress Retro 70s
Angelica Huston in the 1970s. How to Dress Retro 70s

Personally, I’m a huge fan and aficionado of vintage couture, the golden age of Hollywood and everything that’s very theatrical but I do have those rare moments of pure minimalism.

As of 2022, 95% of my wardrobe consists of clothes and accessories from the 1930s and the 1940s, but I also own a few vintage-inspired clothes. Silk blouses with pussy-bows and wide-leg, high-waist trousers, think  Bianca Jagger in the 70s, and that’s what my “look of the day” is about.

I’ve recently discovered in one of my suitcases a pair of black wide-leg Biba trousers, which I remember having spent a fortune on before I found out about the Biba sale, though it was definitely worth the investment.

A Brief History of Biba

For those of you who are not that familiar with Biba, which is really hard to imagine, it was a London fashion store incredibly popular among teenagers in the 60s and a more sophisticated and wealthier clientèle in the 70s, started by a Polish-born Barbara Hulanicki.

Unfortunately due to financial problems Biba was closed in the late 70s and relaunched in 2007 with Bella Freud as the head designer whose Spring/Summer 2007 collection failed to impress the critics, to say the least.

The very high-end, luxury Autumn/Winter 2007 collection, however, was a real hit at least with me… I loved the 70s look so much that I bought half of Biba’s collection and have no regrets there. Well, maybe one, but the secret will stay with me and my closet.

What is the iconic ’70s Look?

As a connoisseur of vintage fashion, I find it unfair to limit the iconic styles of the 70s to mere denim, hot pants, and tie-dye shirts popularized in the previous decade. The 1970s brought about a unique blend of styles that were heavily influenced by the 1940s, yet still represented the bold and daring spirit of the era. While I typically focus on fashion prior to the 1960s, the allure of this particular decade has tempted me to delve deeper into its fashion styles.

How to Dress Retro 70s

How to Dress Retro 70s

All my focus and attention goes to the style icons of that era such as; Jerry Hall, Bianca Jagger, Faye Dunaway and Charlotte Rampling in their beautifully tailored suits and elegant maxi evening gowns they wore during the day.

Best Looks from 70s Fashion

Let me show you how to effortlessly transport your style back to the vibrant and iconic era of the 70s with a slightly modern twist. Embrace the resurgence of key elements of 70s fashion that are currently making a comeback, some never really left, in the fashion world and learn how to revive retro looks with ease. From statement pieces to boho-chic essentials, inject your wardrobe with a nostalgic touch.

The 70s Turtleneck

Turtleneck sweaters have become a popular choice among fashion enthusiasts as they offer both comfort and versatility. These sweaters are perfect for making a stylish nod to the iconic 70s trend. They can be dressed up or down for any occasion, making them a great addition to any retro wardrobe.

For a sophisticated look, tuck a turtleneck sweater into a tailored skirt or high-waisted trousers. You can complete the outfit by adding a tailored blazer and pointed-toe heels. This chic ensemble can take you from the office to after-work drinks without missing a beat.

The 70s Platform Shoes: Strutting with Confidence

Take a step up in the fashion game with platform shoes. These sky-high footwear options empowered both men and women, elevating their stature, quite literally. Be warned, however, that the shoes are not for the faint-hearted and I would avoid the temptation of taking them to the floor unless the balance threshold of your feet is as high as the shoes.

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The Bohemian Chic of the 1970s & Stevie Nicks

The bohemian style, born out of the 1970s counterculture movement, promotes free-spirited self-expression using a variety of colourful fabrics. It celebrates the era of peace and love, inspiring us to embrace our unique identities and connect with the natural world. Embroidered peasant blouses, maxi skirts, fringe vests, and ethnic prints all represent this fashion trend, encouraging us to be ourselves and express our inner creativity.

1970s fashion looks
How to dress like it’s the 1970s!

The Bohemian Queen:

From bewitching melodies to an enigmatic aura, Stevie Nicks became an iconic figure of the 70s, not only for her unparalleled musical talents but also for her unique sense of fashion. Unleashing her bohemian spirit and ethereal presence, Stevie Nicks brought a mystical charm to the world of fashion.

Stevie Nicks was known for her love of all things mystical and witchy, and her fashion choices reflected this fascination. Long flowing capes, billowing sleeves, and wide-brimmed hats added an air of bewitching elegance to her ensembles. The combination of whimsical elements with her bohemian style created a signature look that solidified her status as a style icon.


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Disco Fever of the 70s

1970s trends
The 1970s look

The 70s were synonymous with the disco era – a time of glamour, glitz, and dance floor divas. Fashion took centre stage with sequined dresses, shimmering jumpsuits, and slinky tops. Embrace your inner disco queen and relish the opportunity to sparkle and shine!

Watch Saturday Night Fever (1977) for more inspiration.



The 1970s Sunglasses

THE ULTIMATE 70s SUNGLASSES

The best retro eyewear
1970s oversized glasses.

For a 70s-inspired look, oversized sunglasses are a must-have accessory. They not only protect your eyes from the sun but also add a touch of glamour to your outfit. Look for frames with exaggerated shapes and colours that complement your overall look, think Jackie O meets Farrah Fawcett.

Get a pair of fabulous oversized 1970s sunglasses from Oliver Goldsmith!

1970s oversized sunglasses

vintage fashion blogger

DISCOVER MORE STYLES FROM OLIVER GOLDSMITH EYEWEAR BRAND!

The Turban-Fashionable Hair Accessory in the 70s

As we delve into the world of 70s fashion, let’s not forget to explore another stylish element from this era: the turban. The fashionable hair accessory adds a touch of vintage glamour and is a lifesaver on a bad hair day, Trust me, I know!

Turbans offer a wide range of options in materials, colours, and patterns and you can make a statement with a bold, colourful headband or choose a subtle, neutral shade to complement your outfit. Experiment with different fabrics such as silk or velvet to add a touch of luxury. Personally, I love velvet.

1970s fashion trends
The 1970s turban.

The Scent of the 1970s

One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mom cutting flowers in the garden and me waving at her from the balcony. Our house always smelled of jasmine, lilac, and my mom’s Opium perfume, which has a scent so strong and beautiful, just like my mom, that it should come as no surprise it became my number one choice of perfume.

Perfume in the 1970s

YSL OPIUM PERFUME

  • It was created for the Yves Saint Laurent brand by perfumer Jean Amic and launched in 1977.
  • The controversial name caused a scandal with accusers charging YSL of promoting drug use but not surprisingly the “bad” publicity only helped with the sales and Opium became a bestselling scent.
  • Top notes: a mixture of fruit and spices, mandarin orange, plum and pepper.
  • Floral notes: jasmine, rose, lily of the valley.
  • Sweet base note: sandalwood, cedarwood, myrrh. In addition: amber, musk and patchouli.

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How to Dress Retro 70s

Wide-Leg Pants: Retro Sophistication.

Wide-leg, high-waisted pants synonymous with the 1970s offer a comfortable, stylish and very flattering option for all body types. The loose fit of these pants provides freedom of movement and can elongate your legs, which is why it’s my favourite style of pants.

When it comes to fashion, high-waisted bottoms are a must-have in your wardrobe. These versatile pieces can easily be incorporated into any outfit and offer a timeless look that never goes out of style. After all, it’s all about refining your style and not chasing after trends.

To elevate your ensemble, consider pairing them with retro-inspired pieces such as printed scarves. This will not only add a touch of sophistication but also create a cohesive and put-together look. So, whether you’re going for a casual or dressed-up vibe, high-waisted bottoms are the perfect addition to any outfit.

Biba, vintage, wide-leg trousers

MY 70S-INSPIRED LOOK

  1. Biba trousers
  2. Biba silk blouse
  3. The 1950s velvet cape was a gift from a dear friend of mine who shares my passion for vintage! Thank you, Belinda!
  4. Gucci pumps

I’m thrilled to announce, that my “70s Look” post was chosen by the Independent Fashion Bloggers to be featured on their website!

To summarize, incorporating a contemporary touch to the iconic styles of the 70s involves embracing the boldness (sequins and beads) and liveliness of the era while infusing it with one’s personal style. Some of the quintessential elements of that era that can be reimagined for a modern look include statement pieces, retro essentials such as bell-sleeve tops and platform shoes, turban headbands, printed scarves, and silk blouses.

By adding these elements, you can attain a vintage sophistication and chic elegance that never goes out of style. Moreover, it is important to note that fashion knows no age limit, so you should confidently embrace your unique style, make a fashion statement, and consistently reinvent your fashion journey by drawing inspiration from the past.

What do you think?

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6 Comments
  • Julent
    December 18, 2020

    What and where is this Biba sale you speak of?

    • Dominique de Merteuil
      December 18, 2020

      The Biba sale took place in 2007 at The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, Mayfair, London.

  • Suzanne
    March 11, 2016

    Wow what a fab look! You look like you could rule the world in this.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  • Steffi aka Anti.Muse
    April 14, 2015

    Love your attitude and the look as well (Y) I can somehow find inspiration in almost every era, depends on my mood, but the seventies glamour is definitely irrestistible ♥

    • Dominique de Merteuil
      April 15, 2015

      Thank you very much for your kind comment! I take the best that each era has to offer and ignore the rest 🙂

      Dominique