The 1970s were a time of change in America, and fashion was no exception. In comparison to the hairstyles of the '50s and '60s, with curlers and a lot of hairspray, the '70s hairstyles were more natural and free, as a reflection of the time. Jewelry embraced the bohemian lifestyle at times, but also the flashiness of discos.
Long and Straight
A key to women's style in the hippie movement was long hair that was ironed straight. They used regular clothes irons and a friend would have to help iron their hair. Hair was parted down the center, without bangs. Often scarves would be used, tied around the forehead. This hair fashion is common today, but there are a vast number of straightening tools for at-home use.
In keeping with the natural movement, African American men and women wore their hair naturally as well. Hair was grown long and straight out from the head. To increase curls, it was often braided first and then combed out with a pick comb. This style, which requires no chemical treatments, is very popular with African American women today who want to embrace their heritage.
This style was popularized by the TV show "Charlie's Angels." Hair was worn long and layered, with a center part and a lot of volume. Hair was curled and combed back from the face, which created the "feathered" look. The look is returning, but in less severe form and with less volume.
A hairstyle that is definitely not returning is the mullet. Women of the 1970s loved the look of hair worn short in the front and sides and long in the back; it embodied the rock-and-roll attitude.
The ease of travel made sharing fashion ideas more feasible than ever before. There was an increasing amount of interest in exotic fashions from around the world. Jewelry fashions became more pronounced as well.
Friendship bracelets became popular in the '70s because of the hippie movement. They were fashioned originally by teenagers, but soon street sellers would make them to order. The traditional bracelets were much narrower than the popular ones of today.
Mood rings were also a fad of the bohemian lifestyle. These were quartz rings that changed color with body heat or mood. Handmade leather bracelets and long beaded necklaces were very popular at the time as well. Peace sign necklaces became common when the outrage over the Vietnam War began.
With the introduction of disco music, fashions became louder and flashier at night. To accessorize the jumpsuits and hot pants, women wore shiny and bright costume jewelry. Peace sign necklaces were common in disco as well.
Bangles were very fashionable, and were thicker than the bangles women commonly wear today. They came in many colors and were generally inexpensive.
Men wore a lot of jewelry as well, including long gold chains. Shirts were unbuttoned halfway to display them. The chains were plain, without any medallions.