Fashion notes: Revival of 70s flair with a bit of fine tuning
I’ve never been that much into the whole 1970s hype, nor will you find me first in line buying into it now. I’ve always favoured my skinny jeans over ultra-flared hipsters, and as cool as they may look, big bell sleeves just get in my way, while floaty peasant blouses, hip as they may currently be, just remind me of my elementary school days.
The 1970s were a multi-faceted fashion period, with a whole bunch of style trends that have resiliently resurfaced. It’s easy to get frazzled – you may find yourself borrowing elements from here and there and wind up looking like a prairie-girl-meets-Scooby Doo character hybrid – and that’s definitely not the way to nail 70s style. There’s certainly a carefree hippy-dippy side to 70s style trends, but right now I’m going to focus on the more wearable elements – I’m talking bell bottoms, denims and wooden block heels. The period’s cropped tops, lace pants and psychedelic prints can be saved for another time – maybe next year’s Coachella.
What’s challenging about 70s fashion is that it’s often difficult to mix with contemporary trends. You may find that the only thing that would complement your embroidered top is a pair of suede flares, and the only suitable shoes are wooden platforms. Bag-wise, then, you find that just a fringed suede cross-body would complete the look. The key is to work 70s style into your wardrobe, and to not let the era’s dubious dressing standards work you.
An overall look that I do admire is the fitted-top-baggy-bottom approach taken by most of the decade’s outfits. Though plunging V-necks were most common, today’s basic button-down blouses work just fine. In terms of textiles, it’s all about denim and suede, and if you’re looking for genuine 70s material, keep an eye out for patch-worked fabrics and prints. If you’re able to find a flattering patchwork mini or midi skirt, pair it with a fitted tee and minimal jewellery for an on-point ensemble with just the right amount of 70s touch. Sometimes it’s all in the details – a cotton or linen blouse with a lace-up neck could also look really cool with a pair of coloured pants, and exaggerated wide-leg jeans may just need a striped tee to complement the drama. As I implied earlier, there’s no need to embody the epoch from head to toe.
While the era’s colour palette was mostly earthy, with deep browns and rich blues and oranges, there are some fabulous 70s-inspired designs available in soft pastel tones. At Giambattista Valli’s autumn/winter 2015 show, camels were paired with creamy whites and pops of pastel in luxe layered looks. Trousers were given bell-bottom cuts, and were paired with mid-thigh- length tunics, dresses and coats. Similar layering techniques were used at Tory Burch, where slightly flared pants, midi-length knits and neck-tie blouses comprised key pieces of the collection, also featuring fringing and marvellous Moroccan-inspired patterns. Though Burch may have incorporated a slightly bohemian theme to her designs, the styling was done with panache, keeping the looks classy and ageless. Zimmerman’s collection for the season was also clearly influenced by the era, with high-waisted flares in burnt red hues, and patchwork-inspired prints used in blouses, maxi dresses and skirts.
Since towering platforms aren’t for everyone, mules make a great alternative 70s shoe style. Not only are they more comfortable, but they don’t carry the pubescent groupie girl vibes that come with sky-high platforms. If you ask me, the best thing brought back from the 70s (and perfect for no-makeup mornings), are oversized sunnies – I have my eye on a pair from Chloé.