Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England, since 1998. I'm happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.
'70s Costume Ideas for Halloween or for Fun
Are you looking for some 1970s costume ideas for your next party? I wrote this article to give you lots of great '70s ideas, so you'll be able to find what you're looking for, whether you're planning on hosting a party yourself or have been invited to one.
Have a great party!
'70s Fashion Overview
The '70s saw a number of different styles of fashion which are reminiscent of both the '60s and the '80s. Some of the fashion trends during the '70s included:
- Sports casual
As you can see, a '70s themed party will often be linked with either the '60s or the '80s. There is particularly a fashion overlap with the '60s at the beginning of the decade.
Hopefully this page will show you the diversity of '70s fashion so you can be sure to choose a costume that will help you stand out!
'70s Hippie Costumes and Style Tips
Although mainly thought of as a '60s fashion style, hippie or bohemian fashion was still popular in the early '70s. Typically the look would include:
- Bright colors or patterns, especially with a cultural tinge like Hungarian or Native American motifs and designs
- Loose-fitting clothing
- Peasant shirts
- Flare pants
- Sandals or clogs
- Jewelry and headbands featuring natural materials like wood or feathers
- Long straight hair
There are lots of benefits to wearing a hippie costume including:
- They tend to be very comfortable and are not too hot
- They do not show off too much skin
- They are suitable for both men and women
- Many styles are available to suit all figures
- There are fantastic accessories that can be purchased such as wigs, giant spliffs, peace medallions, and wacky weed
On flare pants:
Bell-bottoms or flared trousers were only worn by sailors until the late '60s and became very popular among the general population in the 1970s. Flared trousers were worn by both men and women, often in wild colors and patterns with many people decorating their own. In the '70s, flares were worn shorter than they are today. In fact the flare would often stop at the ankle, showing off the footwear.
Flares can be purchased separately or as part of a costume.
Glam rock is one of the most iconic look of the '70s. The look featured tight lycra and spandex jumpsuits, big hair, sequins, and platform shoes.
Glam rock first started in about 1973, reached its peak by 1975, and was eventually taken over by the punk movement in 1977. Glam rock allowed both men and women to wear outlandish colours, sparkles, and makeup. The pop stars of the day such as Marc Bolan, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger had realized the power of sexual appeal and exploited it to the max.
When looking for a costume, remember that ideally you should try on jumpsuits before purchasing them. If you're too tall, you might find you're putting on a bigger show than you bargained for. Many suppliers are now selling two-piece items that are far more flexible and less risky.
Also, bear in mind that lycra and spandex is designed to be very tight. Be honest with yourself: Will you feel comfortable displaying so much of your body? When looking at pictures, even if the costume says the suit will fit up to a size 18, the model may only be a size 10. With that in mind, will the design suit your body shape?
If lycra isn't your thing, ladies can still wear A-line dresses but be sure to stay away from black-and-white designs which are more from '60s fashion. Men can wear a pair of flares and a ruffled shirt and have a great '70s look.
1970s Pimps, Suits, and Frilled Shirts
Though not strictly a '70s phenomenon, pimp costumes are a very popular choice for a '70s-themed party. While they are available in many different styles, most fabrics tend to be velvet or fur print.
Pimp costumes are available in many sizes and can suit various budgets. Just remember that budget costumes may be more difficult to wash, something to consider if you aim to wear the item more than once.
Pimp costumes are really fun to accessorise. You can choose from wigs, moustaches, sideburns, rings, medallions, pimp sticks, hats, etc. If you love a bit of bling, then the pimp costume is for you!
If the men are going as pimps, what can the ladies wear? Well, there are lady pimp suits on the market or, if you want a more extreme look, you can go as a hooker! There are plenty of costumes to choose from in a variety of styles. Add a wig, some knee-high platform boots, and fake eyelashes and you are ready to party the night away!
1970s fancy dress suits are also available and tend to be in more subtle colours than the pimp costumes. Frilled shirts are available to buy separately.
Do take care when buying a cheaper shirt as they tend to come apart at the seams very easily. I would recommend spending a little more money on a shirt so that it's actually wearable. While you should be able to send a faulty shirt back, that's of no use if you need to use it tonight.
The Punk Phenomenon
The term punk has different interpretations in different countries. When the punk movement hit the UK in the mid '70s, it was clear that fashion was never going to be the same. Punk was based on anti-government, anti-authoritarian political and social values. While Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren are generally thought to be the punk pioneers, the punk era carried on beyond the '70s into the 1980s and its influence continues today.
There are many punk accessories available on the market that you can purchase to compliment an outfit that you've purchased or put together at home.
It is very easy to put your own punk outfit together. All you need is some ripped jeans, old tops, some safety pins, scrap pieces of tartan (not essential), and maybe some light chains.
Here are some basic guidelines for taking what you have and punking it up:
- Rip your jeans even more! Turn your jeans inside out and sew pieces of tartan on the inside to cover some of the holes, so that when you turn them back the right way, you can see tartan where the hole is.
- Leave some holes as holes. You may want to attach some safety pins to each side of the hole.
- Link chain from some safety pins to others.
- Do exactly the same with your tops.
- Basically, you can do whatever you want with this fashion statement.
Some other key elements include:
- Spiked hair or mohawks
- Dark makeup for both men and women (black eyes and lips)
- Leather jackets
- Military boots
With punk makeup, you should break all the rules. Wear eyeliner around and beyond the eyes with either garishly bold and bright colors or black goth colors. Use solid blocks of color rather than subtle shading. For role models, look up Toyah or Siouxsie Sioux.
You can use a mohawk wig as illustrated above (which may also be available in multi-colour variations), or you can sculpt your hair into a fauxhawk using hair products. Use coloured hairspray to finish the look.
1970s Films for Inspiration
Take a look at some of these 1970s films which can provide useful models for costume ideas.
- Cabaret (1972)
- The Godfather (1972 & 1974)
- Jaws (1975)
- M*A*S*H (1975)
- Rocky (1976)
- Saturday Night Fever (1977)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Quadrophenia (1979)
- Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
- Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Any Questions or Comments?
Party Girl (author) on January 13, 2018:
If you are based in Essex, UK, we have a huge selection of costumes to hire or purchase www.propsandfrocks.co.uk
Susannah on January 12, 2018:
Looking for 70s couples outfit
Party Girl (author) on February 27, 2013:
sorry that costume has been discontinued now...
dudette on October 30, 2012:
women? guys? ewwwwwww!!!!!!!! B)
Kim on October 26, 2012:
I am interested in 60s/70s Dress PNF105, what sizes do they come in?
Bob R. on March 02, 2012:
Muchco peisa do abi.
Ni hao wan shao hoa
waggamumma on December 27, 2011:
Very weird, but useful, thanks x
Edward Facinelli on April 24, 2011:
Ha,ha! 70's fashion rocks! If we hear 70's fashion, first thing that comes in our mind is the flare pants. Well, 70's spirit will never fade. It's still ruling the fashion world.
Alan on April 04, 2011:
Hosting a period costume party for birthdays, Halloween and other costume parties can be a lot of fun. You can find great costumes, wigs and other accessories at thestageplace.com
Alan on February 27, 2011:
A fun time. I love the bright colors of the time. I also found some 1970s costumes and accessories at thestageplace.com
Party Girl (author) on February 19, 2011:
We do have plus sizes in some costumes, where are you in the world?
email the shop on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss further.
Party Girl X
Joann Reynolds on February 18, 2011:
Do you have plus sizes and if I order something how long would it take to ship me.
Fun Costumes on October 23, 2010:
Thanks for taking the time to put together such a good selection of 70's costumes
Marty on August 17, 2010:
Just a correction from a nerd. The Glam Rock era in the UK started in 1971 (even late 1970 for some with T-Rex's Ride A White Swan), definitely not 1973. '72 to '74 were the peak (and tackiest fashion!) years and it was on the wane from '75.
That70sShowgirl on June 03, 2010:
Would you have any idea how to make decades costumes with things you have on hand?
Sydney on March 18, 2010:
NICK VIDOVICK on May 27, 2009:
WILLIAM HUNG SING IT BABY
Party Girl (author) on February 15, 2009:
Hi Shaz Dog.
Either give us a call on 00 44 (0)1245 327156 (we are open 7 days a week) or check our online store http://www.props-n-frocks.co.uk
Thanks for your interest.
Shaz Dog on February 14, 2009:
I would like to purchase the A line Hippie dress, and would like to know what sizes it comes in, how much it costs, and how I can purchse it?
Party Girl (author) on June 03, 2008:
Hi Nightcats, I have the same problem as I am only 5'1" myself - as they say - all good things come in small parcels!
Thanks for your time looking at this hub - I really appreciate it.
June Campbell from North Vancouver on June 02, 2008:
I had flare pants back in the seventies. We called them bell bottoms. I thought they made me look slimmer. They sure made hemming your pants a chore. Since ij'm only 5'4", I usually have to hem pants when I buy them. I remember sitting for hours hemming every new pair of bell bottoms that I purchased
Party Girl (author) on April 30, 2008:
If anyone does wish to purchase any of the costumes shown on this hub take a look at the website www.props-n-frocks.co.uk (if you know the code of the costume - just pop it into the search on the home page) or call us on 01245 327156 - we are based in England
- Thanks for looking - Adele
wumadinga on April 30, 2008:
Please email me at email@example.com so I can purchase the pants
Wumadinga on April 30, 2008:
HI I would like to buy the Mens 70s Flares PNF029 size 34 waist
How do we proceed