70s Costume Ideas
Quite often a 70s themed party will be linked with either the 60s or the 80s. There is particularly a fashion overlap with the 60s at the beginning of the decade. For the purpose of these pages each decade will be looked at separately and go into far more detail.
If you look to the left list, we have looked at various 1970s areas to give you as much costume inspiration as we can.
Hopefully, this page will show you how diverse the 70s decade actually was in the way of fashion. A 70s fancy dress party, does not need to be boring, read on and get some great costume inspiration…
Bell Bottomed (or flared trousers) were only worn by sailors until the late 60s and then became very popular during the 1970s. The Oxford English Dictionary first mentions Flares in 1964. Flares were worn by both male and females, with many people decorating their own.
Flares can be purchased separately or as part of a costume. In the 70s, flares were worn shorter than they are today. In fact the flare would often stop at the ankle, showing off the footwear.
70s Hippy Costumes
Although mainly thought of as a 60s fashion style, hippies were still popular in the early 70s. There are lots of benefits to choosing to wear a hippy costume.
- They tend to be very comfortable to wear and are not too hot.
- They do not show off any flesh you’d rather not have on display.
- They are suitable for both men and women
- Many styles available to suit all different figures. At one time, it was difficult to purchase a fancy dress costume if you were a larger size. I am pleased to say that suppliers have at long last realised this fact and larger sizes are now widely available
- There are fantastic accessories that can be purchased such as wigs, giant spliffs, peace medallions and wacky weed.
During the 1970s, music was probably the greatest influence on fashion, with many followers of particular groups wanting to dress in similar outfits. The decade saw the rise of ‘Glam Rock’ with artists such as Slade, Roy Wood & Wizzard, Marc Bolan & T Rex, Elton John and David Bowie all creating their own unique styles. Aside from costumes, make-up also became extremely popular during the early seventies, particularly those male stars wishing to develop a striking image. For the ‘teeny bopper’ generation, groups such as The Osmonds (white suits with black shirts) and Bay City Rollers (bell bottom stage suits with tartan trim) were much copied.
Think Glam Rock and you will immediately think of the 70s. Tight lycra jumpsuits, sequins and platforms. Glam Rock first started about 1973 and had reached its peak by 1975 and was taken over by the punk movement in 1977. Glam Rock allowed both men and women to wear outlandish colours, sequins and make up. The pop stars of the day Marc Bolan, David Bowie & Mick Jagger realised that ‘sex sells’ and exploited it to the full.
Jumpsuits are a risk to purchase without being able to try them on. If your body is too long, you will find that what is on show is more than you bargained for! Many suppliers are now selling two piece items that are far more flexible.
Also, bear in mind that lycra is designed to fit fairly snugly. So be honest with yourself, do you have the body that this style will suit? Look at the model in the picture, even if the costume states it is suitable for a size 18, the model may only be a size 10. Will the design still suit your particular body shape?
Do not worry if maybe lycra is not your thing. Ladies can still wear A line dresses. Many are available for all sizes, just stay away from black and white designs that are more 60s. Men can wear a pair of flares and a frilled shirt and have a great 70s look.
In the mid- 1970’s a return to the Edwardian era took place, with Laura Ashley prints and Edwardian high-neck blouses making a comeback for the ladies. This look was all about a natural, floaty, feminine look and was worn with little or no make-up. The Teddy Boy jacket (originally named after Edward VII) made another appearance but this time using brightly coloured and glittery fabrics. Bands such as Showaddywaddy and Mud took this look on as their own.
1970s Pimps, Suits and Frilled Shirts
Pimp costumes are very popular choice for a 70s themed party. Available in many various styles, most fabrics tend to be velvet or fur print. Pimps are not strictly a 70s phenomenon and have evolved from exaggerated film characters. Even so, pimps are one of the most popular 1970s costumes for men.
Pimp costumes are available in many sizes and to suit various budgets. Pimp costumes are just great to accessorise. There is just so much choice from wigs, moustaches, sideburns, rings, medallions, pimp sticks, hats etc… If you love a bit of bling, then the pimp costume is for you!
So, if the men are going as pimps, what can the ladies wear? Well, there are lady pimp suits on the market or you can go as the pimp’s ‘hoe’ or tart! There is plenty of choice on the market in a variety of styles. Add a wig, some knee high, platform boots and eyelashes and you are ready to party the night away!
1970s Fancy dress suits are also available and tend to be in more subtle colours than the pimp costumes. Frilled shirts are available to buy separately. Do take care when buying a cheaper shirt as we have found that they come apart at the seams very easily.
The Punk Phenomenon
Punk hit the world in the mid 70s and things were never going to be the same. Punk was based on anti government and political views and anarchy, basically anything anti-authoritarian. As unemployment was high, young people didnt have the spare money for new outfits, so they adapted their old clothes by tearing jeans, tops and adding safety pins and chains. Vivien Westwood & Malcom Maclaren are generally thought to be the punk pioneers. Punk lasted until the early 80s as a fashion / music trend
There are many punk accessories available on the market that you can purchase to compliment a purchased outfit, or one that you’ve put together at home.
It is very easy to put your own punk outfit together at home. All you need is some ripped jeans, old tops, some safety pins, scrap pieces of tartan (not essential) and maybe some light chains.
- Rip the jeans even more! Sew pieces of tartan, on the inside to cover some of the holes, so that when you turn them the right way, you can see tartan where the hole is.
- Leave some holes, as holes. You may want to attach some safety pins to each side of the hole.
- Link some chain from some safety pins to others.
- Do exactly the same with your tops.
- Basically, you can do whatever you want with this fashion statement.