From bell-bottoms to the blue jean jacket, the 1970s was a decade of excess. Men’s fashion in that period was unapologetically flashy, with a return to the glitz and glamour of the 1920s. The fashions of that earlier time period were resurrected in an updated form for an audience who had grown weary of the asceticism and unisex dressing of the 1960s. Confident and assured, men once again proudly embraced extravagance as their new look. In this article, you will learn about some of the biggest trends from this era, and how they impacted men’s style today. Read on to learn more!
Platform shoes first became popular in the 1960s, and again gained popularity in the 1970s. They were typically worn with bell-bottom pants, which themselves were a major fashion trend. The 1970s were a time of exploration, including in fashion. This was an era when men would try almost anything to look and feel more confident. Many men wore platform shoes to appear taller, as a touch of “vertical confidence” was considered essential for men at the time. Yet others wore them for entirely different reasons. Some men wore platform shoes as a political statement, in order to draw attention to perceived racial and gender discrimination. Platform shoes are still worn today and have come in and out of fashion regularly over the last three decades. They are typically worn by the LGBTQ community, members of which often wear them as a symbol of pride.
The popularity of flared pants resulted in their being nicknamed “giant sails.” They were worn by men of all ages, and by all kinds of people. Flared pants were typically worn with platform shoes, an open shirt collar, and an unbuttoned blazer. Flared pants were a major fashion trend in the 1970s and became a staple of men’s casual and business wear. They remain popular to this day, though their fit has changed somewhat. Outerwear has changed, too. Windbreakers and sport coats feature narrower lapels and now sit closer to the body. The button-down shirt collar is now shorter, and the shirt itself has shorter sleeves.
The 1970s saw a renewed interest in designer clothing, and this included designer shirts. This trend was driven by the rise of the “lifestyle brand”, which produced heavily marketed goods that catered to specific demographics. These brands focused on a particular aesthetic, from the design of the product itself to the lifestyle that the brand created. Designer shirts were worn with wide collars, unbuttoned, and often with a loose-fitting tie.
The Return of the Double-Breasted Suit
Double-breasted suits experienced a revival in the 1970s, having last been in vogue in the 1920s. Double-breasted suits were worn with wide lapels and often featured bright, vibrant colors. Double-breasted suits were worn both casually, as well as in formal business settings. They were popular with both young and older men, though they were most often worn by those in the middle of their careers. Double-breasted suits remain a part of men’s fashion today, though the manner in which they are worn has changed significantly. They are now worn with a button-down shirt and silk tie, rather than a scarf and wide tie. Double-breasted jackets are worn less often than single-breasted ones and are typically reserved for special occasions.
Light Colored Shorts
Shorts were once again worn by men in the 1970s, and for the first time were available in light colored fabrics. Double-knit fabrics were used to make shorts that could be worn with long-sleeved shirts in lighter colors. Shorts were worn in casual business settings and were also a mainstay of men’s tennis and golf attire. Like many other trends from this decade, short styles remain in vogue today. They are worn with tailored tops, and the fabrics have become more formal.
Blue Jean Jackets
Blue jean jackets gained popularity in the 1970s as a casual outerwear option. They were typically worn over light colored shirts, with unbuttoned collars, and paired with dark denim pants. Blue jean jackets remain popular today, though they are not as frequently worn as they were in the 1970s. They are often used as casual business attire, paired with a button-down or sweater. Blue jean jackets are also a popular trend within the LGBTQ community. They are worn by those who are unapologetically themselves, eager to express their individuality and challenge the norm.
The decade of the 1970s was one of change. As American culture evolved with the times, so did its fashion. New fabrics and new shades were introduced, and bolder designs were explored. This was a decade of self-expression, and men wore whatever made them feel confident, empowered, and attractive. Flared pants, platform shoes and blue jean jackets featured heavily during this decade.