How to Dress for a 1970s Party

by Ruth de Jauregui

Flashing lights and booming music are an essential part of any 1970s party, but your attire may vary according to the party theme. While disco is associated with the 1970s, it is not the only music and fashion movement that sprang from that decade. Whether your heart belongs to the disco, rock, punk or rhinestone cowboy scene, there's a fashion that expresses your taste in music.

The Disco Look

Bell-bottom pants, miniskirts, jersey wrap dresses, leisure suits, platform shoes and big hair are all disco essentials. Whether your suit or jumpsuit is fashioned from polyester or a shimmering metallic, the snug fit and tall platform shoes elongate your figure, giving both men and women that sleek, sophisticated look on the disco floor. A layer of glitter brushed over your eyelids or across bare shoulders picks up the sparkling light from the disco ball. Wear your hair up, tie it back with a matching scarf or let it swing free with the music as you dance, but leave the Afro wig at home.

Glam Rock

David Bowie, Kiss and Iggie Pop boom from the speakers as you change into the luxurious silks, velvets and feather boas popular with the glam-rock crowd. Also known as glitter rock, the more outrageous the outfit, the better it fits into the musical genre. Androgynous outfits were fashionable in the 1970s, with male and female rock stars donning makeup, sporting long hair or shag haircuts, and wearing jumpsuits and platform heels. A glamorous evening gown combined with a feather boa, glitter and platform heels would not be out of place -- especially if it's worn by the hostess.

Punk Rock

The defiant energy of punk rock reveals itself in the rebellious clothing fans wore. A simple punk outfit might consist of torn jeans, a T-shirt, black leather jacket and a pair of Doc Martens or Chuck Taylors. Chains, studded or spiked jewelry, safety pins and silver bracelets are among the decorative elements. Ladies might combine a tutu with combat boots while men could wear bowler hats and suspenders a la "The Clockwork Orange." Dye your hair a blazingly bright color such as pink or orange to complete your '70s punk look.

Rhinestone Cowboy

The 1970s country music scene was dominated by crossover tunes, mixing pop music with traditional country to make hits such as "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glenn Campbell, "Torn Between Two Lovers" by Mary MacGregor and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" by Olivia Newton-John. Dress in a cotton shirt, blue jeans, cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and a wide leather belt. Ladies might wear form-fitting jeans or a denim skirt, jean jackets decorated with rhinestones, a snug blouse, boots and a cowboy hat. Braid your hair or tease it up into a big-hair style with plenty of hairspray to hold it in place. Silver jewelry and boot chains complete the outfit.

Photo Credits

  • Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui also worked in the Napa Valley as a high-end catering assistant. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement, pet rescue and social issues.