Bell-bottoms, platforms, blow-out hairstyles, and disco are all staples of the ’70s. It was then that America saw continued fights for equality, protests against the Vietnam War, and the decline of hippie-culture. A new sense of identity was being formed in the United States, and young people were changing their outlook on American life, music, and beauty. Goodbye tie-dye, hello glam.
Rainbow psychedelic wear was a staple of the ’60s, but this style didn’t persist through subsequent decades like that of ’70s glam. This new era of high-fashion didn’t end in 1979 though—it merely took a hiatus. Young people throughout the following decades would wear ’70s fashion and dance like John Travolta, but it wasn’t until recently that the ’70s aesthetic made a significant boom in modern culture.
Designer brands like Gucci and Chanel have revitalized this ’70s flare and made it new again. Bianca Jagger walked in Gucci’s 2015 spring show with a bell-bottom evening suit that was reminiscent of retro professional fashion. It was events like these that gave people the inspiration to venture into the past. However, it wasn’t only on the runway that you got to see these trendy fits—it’s also on social media.
Social media today has proven to be a gathering for ’70s culture lovers. On TikTok, you see the rise of hashtags like “#’70saesthetic” and “#’70sblowout” with creators like Rosemary Retro turning old fashion into a new trend. Songs like “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA have turned from music throwbacks to commonly used TikTok audios. “Dreams” became a hit again after creator, Nathan Apodaca, skateboarded to this song whilst drinking cran-raspberry. The TikTok was only 22 seconds, but it made quite an impact. So much so that “Dreams” entered the Top Ten on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart shortly after that TikTok hit the air.
This resurgence in retro culture has revitalized the music scene and allowed for older hits to become chart-toppers once again. However, there is one question on everyone’s mind right now: why has ’70s culture become so popular amongst young adults nowadays?
Well, popular American designer, best known for her feminine and whimsical designs, and inductee of the Fashion Walk of Fame—Betsey Johnson—has stated that the ’70s were “stylistically…a free-for-all.” By it being a “free-for-all,” there are endless possibilities for one to look stellar and slammin’. With glam at the forefront of ’70s fashion, one could say that a lot of what makes it popular is its opportunity for experimentation. It provides less barriers for fashion moguls and lovers.
Ms. Raymond of the popular vintage boutique—The Way We Wore—states that “I put on a ’70s dress, and it changes the energy that I exude…Who doesn’t want that flower-emblazoned little dress that makes you feel young again?” That’s exactly it. Who doesn’t want to feel young again? And who doesn’t want a change in pace? Retro fashion inspires those who wear it to catwalk through the streets. Exuding confidence is a goal most people have, and this form of dress is most definitely a way of reaching that aspiration.
Musically, biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman have shown young people the beauty of classic ’70s rock. Queen has become a household name once again, and artists like ABBA, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, and Led Zeppelin are hitting the airwaves. This revitalization of ‘70s hits has solidified their status as timeless hits. Music never dies, and neither do bell-bottoms.
Cultural resurgence of the ’70s is a product of young people’s desire to experiment. These chic clothes and tunes never go out of style; not even 40 years later. If you’re looking where to begin with your ’70s venture, fear not, there are opportunities everywhere. Check out some older tunes you hear in your everyday life. Looking for some disco? Check out Earth, Wind, and Fire! And if you’re looking for new clothes to wear: visit your local thrift store or vintage stores in your area. Find yourself some bell-bottoms and platforms, put them on, and you’re ’70s runway ready. Expression is timeless, and ’70s culture is testament to that fact.