70's Fashion Hell
No, this is not sceince fiction; what you are seeing actually happened. WARNING: use caution when scrolling this page. These images are not pretty, and you cannot unsee them.
These were the clothes I grew up with, and yet, I am alive to tell the story. Congratulate yourself, for you are about to embark on one of the bravest journeys of your life: 70's fashion. It was pure fashion hell, though at the time, none of us were aware of it. Since it was the norm, everybody looked perfectly natural. However, there were a few oddities that could not go unnoticed.
Bell Bottoms, Flares and the Beyond
Bell bottoms and flared jeans were not the worst things to happen, but these fashions earmarked the early to mid-70's. It was a nightmare of a splash; rude colors with vertical stripes and horizontal stripes all within the same ensemble. The revenge of the plaid was back. 60's paisleys had been pushed out of the style train at a high speed. The new trend was evil, like a dinner with all the wrong entrees.
Bell bottoms were highly favored and accepted on girls. However, on guys, I couldn't stand them. The flare-legs were okay, but the flapping bell bottoms were despicable. Again, girls had carte blanche to wear whatever they wanted and get away with it. But they didn't; women's fashions were as grisly as anything us guys had to go through, and Rhoda wasn't the only gal who sported scarves as headbands. Anything that dangled, swept, visually assaulted the senses, or glowed in the dark encompassed 70's fashion. Still, not everything was bad.
The Stuff I Wore
I was no fashion prince, though on ocassion I did wear baseball jerseys and Wallace Beery shirts when I wanted a button-down look. I mostly wore Harness bootsEngineer boots were a second favorite, but they were a little too clunky for me. Years later when I got a motorcycle, they were perfect. I wore the big leather watchbands and I was never with my Yes belt buckle. Generally I wore levis, black or white T-shirts, and harness boots. Of course I had the famous O-ring belts that were in style. I also had a "Yes" belt buckle in 1974. This was an oval belt buckle with the famous band logo on it. Anything that sent messages as to who you were was like wearing military medals. Self-defining logos and designs created a sartorial balance that spoke volumes of the person who wore them.
Another thing we used to do was rip out the hems of our Levis. I used a hem ripper from my Mom's sewing kit. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it to have that "shaggy" look hanging down. Another fad was to bleach your jeans so they looked years old and faded. At one point in time we lived in an apartment with a swimming pool and I would float several pairs in the chlorine-laden water to fade them.
Good News for Guys: Legs Were Back!
Here was the next big 3: Mini, Midi, Maxi. Well, Maxi wasn't so great, but it was indeed a hard 70's fashion accoutrement. "Mini" skirts and dresses were just that; a skirt with just a bit more length than a belt. The "Midis" were those that came a little farther down obscuring more thigh or perhaps to the knees. "Maxi" dresses actually looked very good on some women. They were the dresses that came to the floor--or to the ankle. The mini-dresses, and the wonderful girls who wore them, were equally wonderful. Gams with glam were never more glorious than with this marvelous fashion statement. Let us not forget "Hot Pants" as the shortest shorts possible. I was a big fan of the "Wallace Beery shirts" and I had a favorite shirt that was nothing more than an American flag baseball jersey with red stripes on the body and blue sleeves with white stars. The shirt was actually pretty cool.
Buckskin was in! Leather, fringe, dangling thongs with beads were it.
Bright colors that clashed were also a true fashion statement. Wearing clothes that matched was no longer a requirement. Huge sweeping collars, belled cuffs on shirts, beads or stitching were hot stuff then. Wild, uncontrollable color was the thing; if your clothes looked like they'd vomited on themselves, you were in style.
I did, on ocassion, try some of the more colorful stuff, but if it met with no reaction, I went back to my tried and true style. I was very partial to buckskin jackets with fringe, but I never did have one. Even then they were very expensive.
Fashion was Never More Cruel than it was for Men
Leisure suits were hot stuff. Women's fashions were still okay because, let's face it, girls just looked great no matter what. But guys, oh boy, us guys, we went to hell and back in the 70's. Plaid bell bottoms, with wide vertical stripes, high-heeled boots, wide medieval belts, checks, polka dots, and all of it a splash of wild color potent enough to require protective lenses were a part of our wardrobe! Fashion hell spilled out onto the deck not only with unseemly clothes, but hair styles as well. Super-long sideburns were in, and for men who wore shirts and ties, extremely wide-collar shirts and bib-sized neckties. Then it got worse. There were vertical striped pants; plaid suits; polka dots where there should be no dots; stars and stripes, checks; mismatched colors, awkward design, and fringe on just about everything. The 70's wardrobe was a masterpiece of audacity. Yes, these were the 70's.