'70s Redux

By Sharon Mosley

March 4, 2011 4 min read

The 1970s. A time when women oohed and aahed over the colorful slinky little dresses and suits from such names as Versace, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Halston and Armani. Forget girdles; liberation had come. Long sweeping skirts, wide-leg trousers and hot pants swept the changing fashion landscape. Even the coolest of '60s hippies evolved into gypsies with their "peasant" attire, complete with layered skirts, puffy blouses, huge hoop earrings and armloads of bangles and jangles. Then the safari craze vaulted designer Ralph Lauren into stardom. But the punks and the preppies weren't far behind. Whew, what a decade. And yes, this spring, it's all coming to a mall near you.

If you're up for adding a little nostalgia to your wardrobe in some modern reincarnations, then this shopping list is for you. For those of us who grew up in the '70s, well...

--Color your world. There's nothing quite like the way they put together colors back then. The strict "matchy-matchy" look of the ladylike '50s had long since passed and given way to the freewheeling fashion of the '60s. Think saturated hues of red, emerald, plum and orange. The collections of Yves Saint Laurent in the '70s have been the inspiration for many designers.

--Loosen up. The '70s were all about going with the flow, and this season it's no different. Among the retro-inspired silhouettes making headlines are high-waist, wide-leg trousers. Channel Bianca Jagger at Studio 54, floppy hat and all.

--Go long and maxi. Long sweeping skirts in midcalf and ankle lengths are defining this spring's newest hemlines. Though the miniskirt may still be a great look for teens, these longer skirts are welcomed by a generation that is older and wiser about their fashion choices. Keep it soft and simple.

--Jump on board. Remember the jumpsuit? Yes, this one-piece dressing was at its most popular in the '70s, and it is resurfacing this spring as a new trend that is probably best when worn for an evening event.

--Hang on to halters. The halter -- whether it was in a dress or a top or even a jumpsuit -- was a '70s fashion staple. And this spring, designers reinvented the classic silhouette in colorful versions that make getting those upper arms in shape again a high priority.

--Ease into peasant blouses. It's easy and breezy and the perfect topper for warmer weather. This time around, try the peasant blouse in a bright color, and wear it untucked over jeans or a pair of drawstring pants.

--Throw on a caftan. Now we're talking. This is perhaps one of the best things to come out of the '70s -- the ultimate disguise for any figure -- and it always has that exotic flair, whether it be a festive outfit for a cocktail party or a cover-up for a pool party.

--Elevate your sandals. Platforms are again all the rage, especially in '70s-style embellished with straw and raffia or leather and jute. Cork is another favorite for this trendy new footwear.

--Glitter with gold. The accessories in the '70s were all about the gold standard. So it's no wonder that this metal has influenced the new "extras" that promise to be the shining stars of this spring and summer.

Sharon Mosley's column, "In Fashion," can be found at creators.com.

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