A Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses

A Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses

Always wanted to know more about this iconic era? Delve into the 70s with us and see how this decade's style STILL inspires us today, and how the power of the past can still influence our future. With graphics, florals, prairie, lurex and more, you'll be a pro at spotting a 70s dress in no time, and learn from all the original vintage style icons how to nail 70s style, and how to update the look for today. 

Dress Styles of the 1970s

- As the 60s gave way to a new decade, Emilio Pucci’s graphic, floating florals in earthy tones captured the new mood. Floaty and full ‘bell’ sleeves took prominence.

Victorian  and Edwardian influenced prairie dresses in sweet pastels dresses hung from under the bust to define the new ‘Empire line’ shape. Floaty and full ‘bell’ sleeves took centre stage.

Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses

- Hems dropped to ‘midi’ calf and then ‘maxi’ ankle lengths.

Ozzie Clarke and Celia Birtwell’s designs exploded in limes, cobalts and oranges. Flattering bias cut floor length 1930s inspired shapes hugged each curve.

- The development of more affordable metallic, lurex fabrics perfectly ushered in a longer silhouette to dresses as the opulence and hedonism of disco drew the 70s to a close. 

Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses


70s Icons!

Nina Simone
A huge proponent of the black civil rights movement as the 70’s dawned, both in her music and her life, Nina was a fearless style icon. Mixing the prints and shapes of the day with incredible native African headwear, she took black iconography to new heights.


Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses Nina Simone

Stevie Nicks
As Fleetwood Mac became one of the most popular bands in the world, Stevie’s long hair and flighty dresses were a perfect match for the free flowing liberation she showed onstage. Still an incredible influence to many, her ability to seamlessly accessorise with top-hats and long scarves elevated her dresses to an ethereal plain.  


Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses Stevie Nicks


Jerry Hall
That party girl/actress/model Jerry Hall dated two of the biggest rock stars of the 70s is in no small part due to her incredible agility in harnessing her sultry statuesque figure in the most sensuous dresses of the day. Maxi lengths of the 70’s were perfect for her endless legs and height.


Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses Jerri Hall


Bianca Jagger
After her legendary entrance into Studio 54 on horseback, jet-setting Nicaraguan socialite and former actress Bianca was a true proponent of sizzling 70s fashion, equally at home in a floaty gown as she was in sequins. 


Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses Bianca Jagger


Diana Ross
Shrugging off The Supremes in 1970 Diana became a style icon in her own right throughout the decade. Draped in bias cut 30’s inspired satins, dramatic maribou and sometimes even Elton John, her tall slender frame was perfect for the new shapes the decade brought. Her status as disco diva at the end of the decade brought her to a new audience.

 Beyond Retro Guide to 1970s Vintage Dresses Diana Ross


How to wear 70s style now
- Pick out those wild psychedelic prints to match with trainers, heavy boots or even comfy, cute jellies for the beach!
- Let those winged, bell sleeves float with a pair of leg winding espadrilles, wedges or platforms. Great for bigger frames or set it off with a brown belt for nipped waists.
- Use the satin goodness of those 70s  dresses to elevate those newly permitted nights out to the pub! Dance your night away like Diana!
- Pair those fab 70s dresses with a velvet jacket or faux fur suede for those cooler autumn days.


Want to learn more about iconic vintage dresses? Check out Our Guide to 60s dresses and Our Guide to 50s dresses here! 

00s style in 2020

00s style in 2020

We all know that fashion is pretty circular, everyone loves to revisit trends of the past and put a modern twist on it, from 70s flares, to 50s skirts to 60s colourful patterns.  But who knew that the 00s would already be coming back around this soon?

Everywhere you look it’s pretty apparent that the 00s are back and there’s not much that can be done to stop the storm of Ugg boots and low-rise jeans coming towards you.

Here are some of our fave trends that we can bring into this decade without looking like a Disney star on the red carpet **cough Ashley Tisdale cough**


00a fashion Beyond Retro


Velour Tracksuits

The absolute height of both style and comfort. If your bum didn’t have Juicy written on it, who even where you?

We can thank Paris Hilton for helping merge the words of comfort style and glamour. The ultimate face of velour tracksuits. And you can thank brands like Vetements and Namilia for bringing us the modern versions.

If you want to update this style nowadays go for a pair of high waisted and wide tracksuit bottoms and a cropped velour hoodie and some chunky trainers.


00s fashion miniskirts Beyond Retro


Micro mini skirts

Has anyone ever said to you “That’s not a skirt! That’s a belt!”? Then you know how to properly rock these skirts. After all the saying is, good things come in small packages, so these skirts are clearly great.

How do you wear them you ask? With a vest top that is 3 sizes too small obviously. Add lots of belts, some knee high boots and a baker boy hat and you’ve got it nailed.


Tiny Bags

If you thought the skirts in the 00s were small, then you should check out the bags. The smaller the better and the more emblazoned with a designer logo the better.

While these bags were big enough to keep your phone and Lancome Juicy Tube Lip Gloss in, the bags these days seem to have gotten even smaller! Check out the cultish Jacquemus offerings where all you could fit are your loose change.

Tiny Bags 00s Fashion Beyond Retro

Dresses over jeans

This one is tenuous and the idea of it brings a lot of fear to people. But wearing a dress over jeans doesn’t have to look heinous! Bring the look to the present by wearing a mini dress that you would have previously thought was too short over a pair of boot cut trousers or plain jeans.

Cargo pants

Always forget where your phone or keys are? No problem! They’ll be in your pockets! 

These trousers are the height of practicality, especially considering the usual size of the pockets on women's trousers. You can keep all your essentials close and handy or you can use it to keep multiple snacks or other fun things, as well as looking cool.

Handkerchief Hems

These hems don’t know what they’re doing, they go here there and everywhere! But they look so good billowing in the wind, making you seem like the ultimate main character.

00a Fashion Beyond Retro

Nice top and jeans

We miss the days when the go to response when asked ‘what are you wearing tonight’ was always a nice top and jeans. These had to be some sort of strappy halter top and low rise bootcut jeans though obviously.

Nowadays the going out top is still going strong but the way it’s worn has changed mainly to high rise jeans or the plethora of trouser cut options that there are. We love mixing the nice top and jeans idea with an elegant 80’s silk blouse and some leather trousers if you're not up for the bootcut jeans and strappy shrunken tops.


A Guide to 1960s Vintage Dresses

A Guide to 1960s Vintage Dresses

Learn all about the era that brought us the iconic mini dress, Twiggy and more, and how to refresh a the swinging 60s look for today. 

Dresses through past decades have inspired us and empowered us. Yet we can still wear them in a modern way and mix the styles of the past with newer items to keep their magic alive. If history has taught us anything it’s that fashion is a never ending cycle. So lets delve into the next era, the 60s, and learn about the decade with change like no other. 

Bored with dressing like their parents and with more money in their pockets than ever before due to a booming economy, a ‘Youthquake’ came as no surprise. 


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide


Dress Styles of the 1960s

- Up came the hems of mini (and micro mini!) skirts in a wave of shock and awe. Bright pop coloured fabrics burnt the eyes of all that spied them.

- Op and Pop art from artists like Bridget Riley and Andy Warhol influenced dress prints with their mindbending properties.


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide


- Huge political and social advances in civil rights (with Angela Davis leading the black cause) space travel, drugs and youth economics created a decade of massive change which directly affected fashion as the 60s wore on.

- The Pop art minidresses of Mary Quant and the interstellar shapes of Courreges and Pierre Cardin morphed into Barbara Hulaniki’s floaty psychedelics of Biba towards the end of the decade.


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide

- Cheaper technologies in manmade fabrics like nylon and polyester guaranteed a riot of acid non fade colours.

- The popularisation of sheath style evening cocktail dresses kept silhouettes both tight, curvy and waisted and full to suit all shapes.


Dress icons of the 60s

Brigitte Bardot
Whether walking in the rain, cleaning the sink or modelling a Harley, this groovy French actress/singer was the iconic embodiment of 60’s playfulness. Check out her amazing vocal talents on Contact and Harley Davidson. She wore her dresses as short as her hair was long. Unabashed, unapologetic and oozing with sex appeal.

 Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide Brigitte Bardot


Queen of the mods, little Lesley Lawson, AKA Twiggy because of her wiry frame, typified the new youth explosion of colour and shapes. For designers of the time, her slim frame and innocent youth were the perfect features on which hang their mind blowing acid creations.She even had her own fashion and beauty lines! A true icon.


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide Twiggy


Aretha Franklin
Not only had Aretha cemented herself as the Goddess of Sixties soul. She also typified the youthful energy and colour of the era in the wonderful dresses she chose, ruling wardrobes as well record sales. A perfect heroine for a disenfranchised black youth of the day. 


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide Aretha Franklin


Audrey Hepburn
 Hepburn’s appearance in Breakfast At Tiffany’s highlighted some of the finest formal shapes of the 60s. Her long sleek fitted iconic evening dress was probably the most famous of the era.


Beyond Retro 1960s Vintage Dress Guide Audrey Hepburn

How to wear 60s dresses today

- Hunt out our short 60s cuties and wear them over fishnets for a great modern take.
- Pull out those DM’s and 60s baby doll nighties for summer days like Courtney Love. Too feminine? Add some studs to tone it down.
- Look to modern Madmen pinup Joan Holloway for ideal ways to wear those red hot 60s cocktail creations. Mess it up with a massive pair of black motorcycle boots! Or add some comfy femme with a simple pair of ballerina flats for a night on the town.


Want to learn more about iconic vintage dresses? Check out Our Guide to 60s dresses and Our Guide to 50s dresses here! 


A Guide to 1950s Vintage Dresses

A Guide to 1950s Vintage Dresses

Why are we still so in love with vintage dresses?!
Dresses through past decades have inspired us and empowered us.  Their power to turn heads never fails us. From the bum freezing lengths of the 60s to the sparkling floor sweepers of the 70s these dresses captured the moods of their time perfectly.

Yet we can still wear them in a modern way and mix the styles of the past with newer items to keep their magic alive.  If history has taught us anything it’s that fashion is a never ending cycle.  So here is our first of our favourite decades, the 1950s, and why their iconic dresses have etched themselves indelibly on our consciousness.

Beyond Retro Vintage 1950s Dress Guide Pattern

Dresses styles of the 1950s 
The 50s offered a world free of the pressures of war and with the end of clothes rationing came the opportunity to create new and exciting silhouettes 
- Tight, high waists were reinvented and hems dropped well below the knee into voluminous, free flowing dresses. 

Beyond Retro 1950s Dress Guide

- Bright playful hard wearing cotton prints added a new joy to day dresses that flattered all sizes. Lancashire’s Horrockses print mills designed some of the most desirable fabrics around.
Wiggle dresses poured round 50s shapes to create a silhouette that appeared moulded to feminine curves.
- Endless layers of soft tulle created wonderful spaghetti strapped and strapless prom dresses in delicious pastel colours. Perfect for being swept around the floor at ever more popular formal dances.

Beyond Retro 1950s Vintage Dress Guide Wiggle Dresses
5 dress icons of the 1950s

Queen of the halterneck, Marilyn personified the power of a full skirt when she dropped a billion jaws in her infamous street vent scene in The 7 Year Itch.
Beyond Retro 1950s Dress Guide Marilyn Monroe
Jayne Mansfield.
Wiggling into the silver screen for the first time in 1957, Jayne Mansfield set hearts racing in the Little Richard scored The Girl Can’t Help It. Here’s one example of her ability to master every 1950s style dress.
Beyond Retro Vintage 1950s Dress Guide Jayne Mansfield

‘The New Look’. The shape that kickstarted a literal revolution. Britons took to the papers to complain about the flagrant use of fabrics when they were still observing clothes rationing. It mattered little. Richard Avedon’s images of these groundbreaking hourglass figures instantly inspired desire and envy into every woman who saw them. They still do.

Beyond Retro 1950s Vintage Dress Guide Dior New Look

Sophia loren
This Italian beauty knew how to carry the strappy 1950s style dress with unrivalled grace. We also love this picture of her hirsute underarms and powerful sexuality. Strong and unapologetic.
Beyond Retro 1950s Vintage Dress Guide Sophia Loren
Billie Holiday
One of the most talented LGBTQ+ women of colour, Billie looked amazing always. Her formal, promlike dresses and her worldwide visibility inspired a whole generation of black youth.
Beyond Retro 1950s Vintage Dress Guide Billie Holiday
How to wear 1950s style dresses now.
- Light and airy 50s wrapover and halter style dresses are a perfect choice for hot summer months.
- Team them with comfy sandals for the park or a pair of DMs to add a punch.
- Add a washed out denim jacket to those prom fancies like Agyness Dean
- Lily Allen is always there to remind us that vintage 1950’s dress confections still look cute with a pair of box-fresh Nike Air Max.

Want to learn more about iconic vintage dresses? Check out Our Guide to 60s dresses and Our Guide to 70s dresses here