Nothing exemplifies the saying, “Everything old is new again” like women’s fashion. Trends come and go but they invariably pop up again, usually a few decades after the first go-round.
Young women scour vintage stores for styles that their mothers’ generation had worn in their youth. Stirrup pants and linebacker shoulder pads that were long ago relegated to the hideous 80s fashion dust heap are now considered “cool” by fashionistas. The popularity of the television show Mad Men, a paean to Sixties post-War expanding consumerism and optimism, has spawned numerous Jackie Kennedy-inspired outfits, from high-priced designers to a special collection from Banana Republic.
And now, the decade that began with micro mini skirts, frayed jeans, tie-dyed shirts and peasant blouses — and ended with disco clothes of gold lamé, spandex tops, Day-Glo hot pants and shiny suits — is back. The “feelin’ groovy” fashions of the 1970s have re-appeared in women’s clothing stores, reincarnated into highly wearable, fun, modernized versions.
The Seventies was a time when many women balked at convention and their fashions reflected this. Women chose who they wanted to be and if they felt like wearing a micro mini skirt one day and a maxi dress, midi skirt, or hot pants the next day, they simply did.
Notable fashion icons of the period spanned looks from Ali McGraw’s bohemian-meets-American preppie style to Lauren Hutton’s slouchy menswear looks, and from Bianca Jagger’s glitzy disco ensembles to Debbie Harry’s audacious punk looks. But, out of this fashion hodge-podge came a number of distinct trends that have left an indelible image of the decade in our pop culture, and it is those that have re-emerged this season.
So, hang that macramé plant holder, switch on the lava lamp, kick back in your bean bag chair and turn on a Donna Summer song as we take a look at some of this fall’s fabulous Seventies retro looks.
Kimberly Mattson Moster’s eponymously named on Farmington Avenue is stocked with many of the season’s biggest Seventies fashion trends. Moster is “loving what designers are bringing back from the 70s.” In particular, she notes the many midi- and maxi-length dresses and skirts. “The midi is so flattering when worn with a heel, and it’s a great alternative to the mini. The maxi length was very big for summer and it’s still very hot right now.”
She also notes two other huge trends that have been embraced heartily by women of all ages. “The biggest trend this season that screams Seventies is the high-waisted flare trouser and jean. Worn with a blouse tucked in and a skinny belt – fabulous.”
Yet Moster offers a word of warning for those donning wide pants: she recommends pairing them with this season’s other huge trend of platform shoes to avoid looking like you’re standing in a hole. “Women are loving the height and comfort the platform provides,” she remarks.
And if you want to interject a little Seventies into your wardrobe with just one purchase, Moster suggests a drapey v-neck tie or retro-printed blouse. “Silk blouses were very popular during the Seventies and they are a great way to update your existing wardrobe.”
Across the street at , assistant manager and West Hartford Patch blogger Virginia Mumejian loves the Seventies revival as well. She sees its influence in all kinds of clothing from evening to work wear, and from shoes to socks and handbags. “It’s here and I personally don’t see it leaving anytime soon.”
Mumejian thinks the homage to that era is “fabulous” because of what it represents. “It was the decade when feminism was cultivated and women embraced a new way of dressing for their own style. Traditional dressing was out and individuality was in. We wanted to draw attention every time we walked into a room.”
She says to expect a lot of plunging necklines, wide leg pants, bold necklaces, handbags and geometric patterns on sweaters. “We can add our own modern twist to all of these.”
At on Lasalle Road, owner Karen Herbert was eagerly pulling out dresses and tops with funky patterns and earth tone colors that would have looked perfect on a Woodstock “flower child.”
“I guess these look more Sixties than Seventies,” an amused Herbert said. In a short time, she came across a jersey wrap dress that was very reminiscent of the iconic Diane von Furstenberg dresses first introduced in 1972. The pink and black patterned dress coupled with a suede and gold-studded handbag looked remarkably like a blast from the past. All the ensemble needed was a pair of metallic platform shoes and it would be fit for a disco queen.
Perhaps it’s time to download “The Hustle” on our iPods.