Here’s a rundown of these distinct must-have items that have come to define the disco era of the 1970s:
HOTPANTS:Hotpants were popular among young women since 1971. These shorts were very tight and very short (as short and as tight as possible). Originally designed to be worn with thick opaque tights, the anything-goes attitude meant that hotpants would get worn any way possible – tights or no tights.
Appearing in fashion in 1971 platform-soled shoes elevated both men and women at least 2-4 inches from the ground. Despite helping to keep wide-long flares from trailing on the ground, there was little practicality in these shoes.
Trousers were fast becoming a more popular choice for women in the early 70s. Labels became important as a fashion status symbol
In a departure from the 1960s hipster trousers, styles were high-waisted and tight-fitting around the hips and thighs, flaring out to cover those lofty platform shoes. The width of flares got so silly that people were falling over them whilst getting their platform shoes caught in all the extra fabric.
There was a choice of flexible man-made fabrics allowing for anything from the plain white satin look to full psychedelic colours and floral patterns. Flared trousers lost their fashion edge in the mid 1970s, however, and skin-tight trousers became the must-have item for dancing (women) and a more roomy/less structured trouser shape (for men).
Popularised by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, the white polyester suit with matching waistcoat was a new style choice for men. It was often teamed with costume jewellery such as an identity bracelet or medallion pendant worn under an open-to-the-navel shirt. Wide lapels, wide legs and high waists were required and suits could also come in various bright colours to suit the dance floor hues. White also looked great under the ultra-violet lighting that became popular in discos.
The simple stretch-jersey polyester wrap dress was introduced by Diane von Furstenberg in 1972 – also seen in Saturday Night Fever. It was worn with slingback sandals or knee-high boots with chunky heels. It could be worn to the office by day in a plain colour and transformed into a sexy shape by night.
It was the decade known for introducing glam and glitter to the masses. Inexpensive man-made fabrics ensured that anyone could afford a bit of glitter in their clothing and people went mad for it. Metallic threads, satin-look, sequins, anything with sparkle and shine was great. Glitter also appeared in the make-up, with girls spreading a glitter gel on their cheeks, lips, eyes. Lip gloss was essential. Eyebrows were also plucked to a thin arched line.
Often sequined, the boob-tube was a stretchy strapless tube worn around the chest and torso, or baring the midriff. Halter neck tops were also a fashion staple at the disco.
Again this was seen in Saturday Night Fever. From 1974 the leotard became a popular fashion item for the discotheque. Body-conscious silhouettes and a sign that you are serious about disco-dancing and learning the latest moves. You could dress it up with a scarf wrapped around your hips or layer it up with contrasting colours.
Much of this type of clothing was actually professional dancewear. Its flexibility was useful for rigourous moves and hot nights on the dancefloor. Polyester spandex clothing had made its way into popular fashion through the dancewear introduced in the 1960s and via the disco dancefloor of the 1970s.
Feather boas, slinky scarfs, turbans.
Hair: think afro, shaggy and feathered layered looks and that’s just the men! Hair was easy going and loose or tight and curly with just some tonging, hairspray or gel and maybe some glitter gel for the girls.