I Heard 1970s Fashion Is Back — So I Went Totally Over The Top With It For A Full Week
If you're even remotely interested in fashion, you've probably heard or seen that '70s style is back for spring this year. In the spirit, I decided to dress like what I imagine a throwback Thursday post on Instagram would look like, if I had been alive in the '70s and able to embody that style of dress. I am a huge connoisseur of '60s and '70s fashion — as it is and the trends of those eras embody a good portion of my wardrobe. I feel the most like myself when I look like I'm a free loving hippie who just came from Woodstock.
I love how the '70s included both effortlessly chic style paired with fierce accessories and piles of layers. The fashion of the decade is simultaneously easy yet complex, which I think is part of the intrigue that's still around over 40 years later. So I was excited to see how my world would change if I took all of my '70s clothing and wore it together: Would people think I was a freak? How would I feel going to a café or to the grocery store? Would all of the humans I love pretend not to know me during this experiment? I was eager to find out.
My plan was to wear a very obviously '70s-inspired outfit every day for a week, no matter what my plans were or where I was going to be. For context, I live in Columbus, Ohio, which is a good mix of Midwestern down-home culture and young, vibrant energy. As Ohio is often noted for being a purple state politically speaking (meaning it's a mix of Democrat and Republican), I find that the attitudes and lifestyles people lead in the state's capital also reflect this double-sided nature; while people can be accepting, there's still a level of conservatism that's present. I knew that being dressed like this would get people's attention, but that I wouldn't be overly exposed either.
To supplement the feedback I got in person, I also asked some of my blog followers for their take on my clothes, as well as some of my closer friends and family. I wanted to get a mix of opinions from strangers, those who have nothing to lose from being brutally honest, and those who know me and my sense of fashion. I'm also a single freelancer who works from home and am introverted, so I don't go out every night. As such, I included a lot of my own introspection and viewpoints to show what the experiment was like from a personal perspective.
I decided to start the week out strong, with a new hippie-esque tank top that says "Your Fate is in Your Hands" that I'd purchased the week before, wide-legged printed pants, and a flower crown. I also went with minimal makeup in true '70s fashion.
When I went out that day to Starbucks to get some work done, the barista immediately noticed my flower crown and complimented me on it. "Cool headband!" she said. I smiled and was excited that a stranger had noticed a piece of my outfit — mission accomplished!
While I was actually spending time in Starbucks, a lot of people gave me sort of strange looks, as if to question why I was dressed like this. No one actually came up and said anything to me outright, though.
On the way home, someone I walked passed said, "You look groovy," which I almost couldn't believe — was he in on my fashion experiment?!
From my blog followers:
"This outfit is especially awesome!"
"It makes you come off as appropriating crusty hippy (only bc I’m assuming those are ‘ethnic’ harem style pants and the shirt looks like it has a Jainism symbol on it and flower crown makes me think white girls at Coachella)."
I felt really comfortable in this outfit, but loved that it really screamed '70s at the same time with the light acid wash pants, kimono top, and wooden beaded necklace. This was probably a bit more subtle of an outfit on the 1-10 scale of 70s-ness, but I'm still in love with it.
I actually went on a first date this day, and my date was really into my pants. I noticed him eyeing me when he spotted me in the restaurant we were eating at after exchanging pleasantries. He said, "I really like how you look in those pants." I laughed and thanked him and just for shits and giggles, asked him if he thought my outfit was '70s, since I'm very into fashion inspired by that era. He nodded, "Yeah, you could say that." I felt proud.
From my blog followers:
"This is clearly the more stereotypical '70’s' outfit."
I felt really confident and fashion-forward this day, if you can't tell by my huge grin! I loved the texture and layers of this outfit and it was by far my favorite look of the week (thus far). The fringed shrug and lacy top together really gave me a '70s vibe, with the leggings being a perfect way to tie the outfit together. I loved how this outfit was extreme, but was a good combination of '70s style with today's aesthetic.
I went to a coffee shop for the day to work and was actually kind of surprised no one said anything about my outfit. Was I blending in too much? Did they not see the fringe? I felt so confident and comfortable that I almost didn't mind.
I went out shopping with a friend later that evening, who I asked about my clothing. "It's a little much for my taste, but you look great!" When I inquired about the '70s inspiration specifically, it was like a lightbulb went off. "Oh, now I can totally see that! It's so '70s!" I wondered if this was one of those outfits for which it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what the inspiration was, like having it be on the tip of your tongue.
From my blog followers:
"Definitely not the stereotypical '70s outfit!
The second I put together this outfit, I knew it'd be my favorite of the week. I felt so comfortable and confident in this and I was just beaming all day. I loved how the textures of the top and vest mixed together, creating quite a lot of visual interest. The outfit was definitely over-the-top '70s — in fact, the vest was a vintage piece I'd bought that was from the actual decade!
I got so many compliments this day that I couldn't even keep track of them all! I went to lunch with a friend, where the waitress complimented my style and probably five or six people on the street stopped to tell me they liked my vest. My friend also said that he really liked how I put together this look and that the flowers in my hair added something unique to it. My blog followers seemed to really respond to this look, too.
From my blog followers:
"I really love this and would totally wear it like now. Very '70s."
"This is great!"
"This is my favorite!"
This was an in between outfit — you clearly see the '70s inspiration in my long, lacy cape (it's black so I know it kind of blends in), and the grunge factor of my "love yourself" top. I didn't do too much this day outside of the house, but I did go out to run some errands in the afternoon. Everyone was staring at my vest/cape as it blew in the wind and I felt quite proud of myself — I was like superwoman! I also felt very cool in this outfit — like myself, yes, but as though if I were to go back in time to 1973, I would still feel like I could blend in with the soft grunge crowd.
From my blog followers:
"This one is great!"
I went to brunch, later to the bookstore, out to a solo dinner, and then to the mall on this day to celebrate the weekend. I felt really cool in this outfit, which incorporates the same '70s faux fur vintage vest I wore on Thursday and some really cool tie-dye leggings that really bring this outfit to life. This is an interesting look because while it combines two pieces that on their own loudly scream "70s!" I'm not so sure they do that when meshed together. Either way, I really like the look and was again complimented on my vest multiple times. At brunch (which was through a Meetup group) a few people said that my pants were interesting.
When I was being seated at my solo dinner at P.F. Changs, I made a joke about being an independent woman who should have been born in the '70s to the waiter, who laughed and said he could see the theme reflected in my outfit. Clearly some connection was made!
This outfit uses the same "love yourself" tank that I combined with a different pair of tie-dyed leggings and a teal blue kimono. I think this was definitely the least extreme of all of the ensembles, although I think it's undeniable that the bottoms are inspired by the '70s.
I didn't feel that different in this outfit since this is how I basically dress day to day, and wanted to end the experiment in something that was a little less out there. I went to a tabletop gaming group and that group wasn't the most fashion forward, so I didn't really get any comments of feedback on my attire. On the bus, someone said they appreciated the sentiment of my shirt though, so the self-love was clearly contagious!
Two of my followers messaged me with the following overall comments on my outfits, saying, "YOU LOOK SO CUTE IN ALL OF THEM," and, "The '70s aesthetic is a favorite of mine, and you're stunning!" I hope this is true but the fact is that I did feel cute in all of them — I loved every look and tried to put a lot of thought into each, combining my personal style with an over-the-top '70s aesthetic. I think that people tended to notice the individual '70s pieces rather than the overall ensemble though, which might be because everyone is really self-absorbed (seriously we all are) or didn't take the time to fully digest the entire outfit.
I've also learned that when you look and feel your best, others notice that — confidence is really the best fashion accessory! Thursday's outfit was my favorite by far and I received the most praise, both online and off, from that look. It was probably also the most obviously over-the-top '70s, so does this mean that the more extreme I dress, the cooler I feel? Probably.
I'm definitely going to start dressing in statement pieces more often. My new philosophy is that if I'm not in love with my outfit, I shouldn't be wearing it — isn't that what life is about anyway?
Images: Author's Own; Giphy