It comes around about every five years, bringing along a distinct sense of freedom, luxurious renderings of the unmistakable bohemian silhouettes and modern takes on the best of the pre-disco era: subdued prints, glorious earth tones, billowing skirts and hip-hugging flared bottoms.

Signing up for one of the biggest trends for spring 2016, the 1970s fashion continues to inspire. Ever-evolving, its philosophy is now focused on timeless sophistication, luxe being the word fit to best describe the ’70s revival. After the break, learn all about the new key themes and staple pieces that promise to revive your wardrobe this season.

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The 1970s fashion now.

There are plenty of things from the ’70s that have already signed for a glorious comeback. Amongst them: romantic bohemian silhouettes, hippie fringing, luxurious suede, flare pants and heavenly lace. Individually, they are all granted a modern makeover for spring 2016, together, they shape up what is the splendid rewind of the 1970s. And although the seventies clothing are all about refinement today, they still call for a little bit of fun and excitement in the styling department, enough to celebrate the carefree spirit of the era without having you trapped in the past.

Here are the 70s fashion key themes, elements and styles seen trending on the spring 2016 runways:

Key elements.

Retro prints deluge.

They’re eye-catching, they’re bold and their strong spirit is of the unmistakable kind. On the spring 2016 runways, the retro prints ruled whether in artsy, paisley or patchworked form, drawn on fun and flirty dresses, or floor grazing, airy silhouettes. This season:

  • juxtapose them to bold hues, sheer and dainty lace for the ultimate stylish throwback;
  • wear them as part of cool boho silhouettes, brought up to date with deep plunging necklines and side pockets;
  • style them with anything from lace-up sandals to sporty white sneakers.

1970s fashion teend spring 2016
70s inspired prints at Chloe and Tommy Hilfiger, S/S ’16

Polished suede.

Still polished, still rendered luxurious, suede isn’t going anywhere in 2016, and as part of the 1970s revival:

  • it comes in gorgeous earth tones and slick, precise silhouettes (think A-line and pencil skirts);
  • implores to be styled with elegant heels and pointy flats alike;
  • looks best if worn with either printed, or crisp white button downs;

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
1970s suede at Daks and Coach, S/S ’16

Flirty hems.

While in 2016 the seventies-inspired silhouettes are all about an undeniable sense of sophistication, about femininity served with a whisper of fun, they’re also super-sexy looking, particularly when:

  • super-short and super flirty hems are involved – read scalloped edges and subtle slits;
  • sheer is part of the equation;
  • lace-up detailing is being used to spice up even the most basic of summer silhouettes.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
1970s fashion at Diane von Furstenberg and Rebecca Minkoff, S/S ’16

Key silhouettes.

Airy dresses.

Despite all of the changes in mood and attitude, the one key silhouette of the 1970s that prevails for spring 2016 and beyond is the gorgeous airy dress of bohemian inspiration.

Still extra-long, still flowy. its newness lies in:

  • the bolder, brighter use of color: think yellow, purple, fuchsia;
  • the mix and match of fabrics, prints and hues;
  • the breezy styling, with accessories ranging from mannish shoes to flat sandals to hair flowers.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
Airy dresses at Gucci and Diane von Furstenberg, S/S ’16

Retro suits.

Another key silhouette that is made anew for spring 2016, the tailored suit of ’70s inspiration is to be sought:

  • in pretty, feminine pastel shades and clean lines to balance off some of the masculine inspiration;
  • in bold and bright hues of blue, orange, tan or walnut brown, or a mix of these;
  • bearing obvious ’70s inspired stitching detailing.

Style the retro suits with bold-printed shirts, pointy flats, or a statement pair of slip-on shoes for a nice touch of contrast.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
Retro suits at Paul & Joe and Coach, S/S ’16

Bare shoulders.

Topping off the effortlessness and the romance describing spring’s 1970s-inspired silhouettes, the bare shoulders are envisioned to pay compliment to the breezy fabrics and slightly sultrier appeal of the retro-like pieces. Show them off either by:

  • going for off-shoulder tops, choosing ultra-light fabrics, pleats and a rainbow of colors to accent the effortless feel;
  • choosing a mix of straps, off shoulder or criss-cross necklines on artuflly printed dresses, for both night and day.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
’70s inspired silhouettes at Chloe and Sonia Rykiel, S/S ’16

Key looks.

For an extra dose of inspiration in the styling department, here are some of the key looks and combos to try this season, knowing they will render the 1970s sartorial throwback a success during spring and summer:

  • peasant blouses + a pair of brightly printed Palazzo pants.

Seeing how the pants abound in detail and color, choose a complimentary solid hue for the top, adding to it via texture (lace or sheer), and wearing it either over, or tucked inside the pants.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
’70s inspired looks at Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenberg, S/S ’16

Ladylike retro looks:

  • mixing dainty pussy bow shirts and pleated midi skirts; again, this is the season to go bold so opt for bright hues, shiny fabrics and unexpected combinations;
  • or choose the sophisticated route in combining a pair of floral capri pants with a fitted blouse, wide belt and heels.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
’70s inspired looks at Gucci and Daks, S/S ’16

Sporty-retro-luxe looks:

  • in playing with mesh tops, suede jackets, denim shorts and white sneakers;
  • in juxtaposing a bohemian off-shoulder top to a luxe pair of track pants of ’70s inspiration.

1970s fashion trend spring 2016
’70s inspired looks at Tommy Hilfiger and Chloe, S/S ’16

1970s fashion for fall 2016.

As we step into fall territory, the ’70s flamboyance is still very much alive, but we do notice a shift in attitude as the colours grow darker, the prints get moodier, and an easy sense of elegance comes to shape the retro-inspired silhouettes.

Key elements.

70s luxe cape.

In terms of outerwear, the fall 2016 season places all bets on the 70s inspired luxe cape, the wardrobe staple looking every little bit the dream in both the:

  • dark, velvety, richly embellished version that ties at the neck and implores for a more casual styling (think embroidered jeans, platform boots, easy blouses);
  • clean, sophisticated and minimal alternative that asks to be perfected with a scarf tied around the neck, and complimentary basics and accessories.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
70s luxe capes at Roberto Cavalli and Chloe, F/W’ 16

Cognac (faux) leather.

Since autumn means reaching for the sturdier of fabrics, and the 1970s influence didn’t escape this particular category, the runways made a strong case for the gorgeous cognac (faux) leather. While betraying the retro-inspiration, the 70s element reads super modern if worn:

  • in matching sets mixing retro jackets tied at the waist and slick pants, to be styled with neck scarves and complimentary ankle booties;
  • in the outerwear department, in the guise of a luxe coat, to be styled with silky turtlenecks, midi skirt or flared pants, and statement boots.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
Cognac leather at Chloe and Derek Lam, F/W ’16

Frilly denim.

In 2016, high-fashion denim is everywhere, yet again, and when borrowing from the 1970s it looks decidedly fun and frilly. This fall, seek it in:

  • a pair of embroidered or patchwork flare jeans, and style them with skinny scarves, rock-chic blazers, darling peasant blouses and luxe capes;
  • an ankle grazing light dress, preserving some of its retro feel but looking right on trend if adorned in pretty ruffles, and accessorized with a skinny belt.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
’70s denim at Roberto Cavalli and Sonia Rykiel, F/W ’16

Key silhouettes.

70s boho dresses.

While the seventies-inspired silhouettes take on countless shapes and forms for fall / winter 2016, the bohemian dress stands its ground, infused with more of a devil-may-care/rock & roll attitude, but still not losing an ounce of its romance. If planning on adding it to your wardrobe, look out for:

  • weightless fabrics, sheer inserts, folk motifs;
  • extra-long, extra-flared bell-sleeves;
  • ruffles and embroideries;
  • calf-length to floor-sweeping silhouettes.

Add to the effortless feel of the dress by way of accessories, styling it with neck scarves, leather boots and natural, flowy waves.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
70s boho dresses at Chloe and Roberto Cavalli, F/W ’16

Key looks.

Velvet suiting.

Choose it:

  • in rich, dark, jewel-tones;
  • featuring retro prints or burnt detailing;

Style it with:

  • ladylike patterned shirts or cool graphic t-shirts;
  • high heels and platforms;
  • extra long scarves and statement shoulder bags.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
Velvet suiting at Desigual and Roberto Cavalli, F/W ’16

Midi + knee high.

Reminiscent of the seventies styling, the juxtaposition between an elegant midi skirt and a pair of knee high boots is rendered anew for fall 2016. In trying the look for yourself:

  • mix and match patterns and prints but keep the colour scheme cohesive;
  • dare play with fabric: suede, silk, cashmere, lurex;
  • conjure up a chic attitude by pairing a car wash pleated skirt with a feminine button-down;
  • make the look more casual by mixing a colourful turtleneck with an equally vibrant skirt.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
’70s-inspired looks at Diane von Furstenberg and Emilio Pucci, F/W ’16

All earthy.

Going all earthy in fall and winter comes effortlessly for most, but in 2016, ’70s signature hues will make the look hard to resist. Prints to solids, easy separates to dresses and jackets, aim for a look that brims with retro colour, daring mix your favorite earth shades with others that are brighter and bolder.

1970s fashion trend fall 2016
’70s inspired looks at Coach and Diane von Furstenberg, F/W’16

The trend in the past.

The dark, romantic ’70s.

The ’70s romance is a theme that you can still choose to build upon come fall, just as the coming season sees it grow a notch darker. Expect the billowy, romantic silhouettes of summer to be ditching the sugary sweet hues for the more intense ones borrowing from the colour palette of the night. So while you can still opt for airy materials and floor-sweeping lengths, make sure your 1970s inspired dresses are right on trend by going with:

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Zimmermann and J. Mendel, F/W ’15

The sexy ’70s.

There’s a side to the 1970s that revolves around the subtle kind of sex-appeal and at last, this facet was fully explored on the fall 2015 runways. The sexy version of the ’70s came bearing ultra-feminine silhouettes that were all about:

  • high slits, plunging necklines and strategic cut-outs;
  • sheer lace and weightless, see-through fabrics;
  • sexy accessories: think lace-up knee-high and fringed ankle boots.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Altuzarra and Matthew Williamson, F/W ’15

The glam ’70s.

Celebrating the glamour of the 1970s to the fullest, the fall 2015 runways were also about high-shimmers, about precious fabrics and silhouettes made for enchanting nights. If you want to play it sophisticated but sexy, retro but ultra-modern at the same time, do think about investing in:

  • luxe dresses adorned with shimmers, with lengths hitting just below the knee, to be styled with suede sandals and statement necklaces;
  • slip dresses cut in iridescent fabrics to be worn with neck scarves, strappy heels and statement coats.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Creatures of the Wind and Emilio Pucci, F/W ’15

The rock & roll ’70s.

Throwback to the late 1960s and early 1970s, the rock & roll elements to enliven the autumn / winter 2015 silhouettes were a mix of rich, dark tones and breezy, chiffon numbers, of guitar strap-embroideries and shimmy fringes, of skinny scarves and feather pendants.

If you want to give the ’70s rock & roll look a try during the upcoming season do invest in: edged-up sheer blouses, leather boots, wide brimmed hats and A-line mini skirts, to be worn with androgynous tailoring, with unbuttoned shirts, topped off with unfussy locks and kohl rimmed eyes.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Chloe and Rebecca Minkoff, F/W ’15

The ’70s Americana.

Occupying a solid place amongst all of the main themes explored by the big revival of the 1970s, the Americana fashion paid tribute to the decade with:

  • Shearling lined coats and vests, hitting above the knee and done in luxurious earth-tones;
  • soft-suede pieces: thinks both mini and midi skirts, high-wasted pants and shift dresses;
  • silk bandanas, easy turtlenecks and cool, biker boots.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Coach and Karen Walker, F/W ’15

The androgynous ’70s.

Of course the 1970s were mostly about flowy dresses, fringed ponchos, feminine blouses and luxurious coats, but after witnessing the decade’s fall 2015 comeback, we have to agree upon the fact that this season’s take on the decade is also about androgynous suits and sleek separates, about rich fabrics and bold prints, about relaxed tailoring and eye-catching details.

If your style is leaning more towards strong, sharp but ultra-chic, do think about updating your wardrobe with a retro-printed power suit this fall, and pair it with pussy-bow blouses and thick turtlenecks alike.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Anna Sui and Just Cavalli, F/W ’15

’70s with an Arctic twist.

Cocoon silhouettes, fur detailing, snug fabrics and plenty of folk, ethnic motifs making it all feel and look right on trend. The ’70s with an Arctic twist mood is bound to make winter dressing all the more cozy, and definitely interesting. Fur-sleeved coats to embroidered parkas, knitted sweater dresses to leather over-the-knee and moon boots, off-whites to silver metallic embroideries, these are all ’70s elements to keep an eye out for throughout this upcoming season.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Anna Sui and BCBG Max Azria, F/W ’15

1970s fashion: key elements.

Seeing how it makes for the biggest fashion trend to shape the fall / winter 2015 season, the resurgence of the 1970s builds upon many themes and takes on just as many defining elements. Including the ones already mentioned above, here’s what else to add to your wardrobe come autumn:

  • earth-tones, ranging from brown to burnt orange, mustard to olive-green;
  • ethnic prints, snug, blanket-like fabrics, sumptuous tapestries;
  • fringes, patchwork, plus luxe materials such as suede and velvet.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Etro, Burberry Prorsum and Chloe, F/W ’15

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for:

  • lavish embroideries and embellishments, particularly for night dressing;
  • folk motifs and needle work;
  • white lace and glorious retro-prints.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Lanvin, Anna Sui and Emilio Pucci, F/W ’15

The ’70s-inspired key staples for fall.

The time to upgrade your wardrobe for the upcoming seasons has arrived, and if you buy smart, you won’t need much of a complete overhaul for your closet to feel fall-ready. Do think about investing in:

  • a statement coat, preferably shearling, or fur lined ;
  • a soft-suede piece, perhaps a chic button-up mini skirt to pair to warm turtlenecks, chunky knits and sheer blouses alike;
  • a romantic maxi-dress;
  • a fringed cape or a poncho;
  • a pair of ’70s inspired over-the-knee boots.

1970s fashion fall 2015
1970s fashion at Zadig & Voltaire, Jill Stuart and Thakoon, F/W ’15

The trend in the past.

Native American references.

The Native American references were big on the spring 2015 runways. They were mainly represented by the use of traditional textiles, but they also served to renew the gorgeous Navajo inspired graphic prints. Given fresh life on the runway, sport the themed silhouettes by looking out for:

  • Poncho-inspired dresses, cut in suede or covered in bold, graphic prints;
  • Playful fringes adorning short hems;
  • Moccasin boots, fringed gladiators and neo-bohemian jewelry pieces to complement the ’70s mood.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Etro and Alberta Ferretti, S/S ’15

Romantic bohemian silhouettes.

Expect for the modern bohemian to be reimagined yet again come spring 2015, when its ethereal silhouettes are to be infused with more of the romantic sentiments describing the past era. In sporting the boho-luxe this upcoming season, keep an eye out for:

  • Flowy, featherweight, floor-sweeping maxi-dresses;
  • Fun floral, paisley and tie dye prints, oozing with ’70s vibes;
  • Loose, uncomplicated, billowy silhouettes that best work when accented with minimal styling.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Paul & Joe and Emilio Pucci, S/S ’15

Hippie-chic silhouettes.

If short-short is more of your game, for spring 2015 you can choose to indulge in the ’70s inspired hippie-chic silhouettes that fall casually above the knee. Featuring simple cuts, these are the dresses that explode in bold, colourful retro prints. Style them with:

  • Silk scarfs and little to no other accessories;
  • Gladiator sandals, or suede ankle boots in warm, earthy tones;
  • Classic center-parts and a hint of make-up.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Gucci and Valentino, S/S ’15

Retro luxe uniform.

There’s something about a fabulous pair of high-waisted, wide-leg pants worn with a crisp, menswear inspired shirt that screams of retro luxury. A laid-back, refined uniform back in the day, the look can easily translate to the modern-day. For this:

  • Choose only rich fabrics and crisp silhouettes;
  • Go with digital, or flower printed shirts to tuck inside the pants and unbutton into a deep plunge;
  • Opt for a classic palette of colours much like white, blue and red, or perhaps stick with the white and navy-blue basics.
  • Accessorize with oversized sunglasses and a cool pair of heels /platforms.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Matthew Williamson and Diane von Furstenberg, S/S ’15

’70s inspired fashion: the key elements.

Earth tones.

Compared to the psychedelic ’60s, the colours defining the 1970s could have easily been considered drab. The dark wood and warm earth tones reflected the desire for peace and calm, in a country that was recovering from the turmoil of the Vietnam War.

Today, the same palette of earth tones grows decidedly more sophisticated, imploring to be mixed and matched in outfits reflecting the far more relaxed and refined facet of the ’70s. For 2015, refresh your spring wardrobe by way of avocado green, harvest gold, sunflower yellow, chocolate brown, Mexican sand, cerulean blue, antique red and tiger Lilly orange.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Paul & Joe and Emilio Pucci, S/S ’15

Vibrant prints.

Even when defined by the warmest of earth tones, the ’70s had plenty of vibrant prints in charge of keeping things looking effortlessly exciting. From small scale to blown-out proportions, the prints best describing the 1970s were audacious and kaleidoscopic. This spring wear them on:

  • Twin-sets (sleeveless tops + high-waisted, flare pants) oozing of retro inspiration;
  • Shirt-dresses, coat-dresses and long-sleeved velvet frocks, mixing and clashing various patterns;
  • Maxi-dresses, pant suits and jumpsuits in light, fluid fabrics.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Karen Walker and Louis Vuitton, S/S ’15

’70s suede.

For spring 2015, suede promises quite the huge comeback, and seeing how the soft and delicate fabric sits comfortably at the core of the ’70s revival, we expect the streets to be witnessing a suede parade come March. If you’re thinking about investing in a seasonless suede piece somewhere during the upcoming months, here’s what to look out for:

  • Belted, patchworked skirts and short-sleeved blouses;
  • Wide-leg crops, button-front A-line skirts, plunging dresses.
  • Workwear dresses, matching sets and wrap coats.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Derek Lam and Gucci, S/S ’15

’70s fringes.

Either adorning boho-chic accessories, or adding movement to a string of 1970s inspired silhouettes such as maxi dresses, suede ponchos or cropped jackets, the hippie fringes are happening for spring 2015, and in a big way.

If you want to casually dip a toe into fringe, stick with the bohemian accessories, opting for earth-toned suede/leather bags, moccasin boots and gladiator sandals, or small-scale detailing on jackets, dresses and skirts.

Otherwise, indulge in the entire spectrum of boho trimmings and wear them on lace tops, suede vests, flared bottoms, flowy day-dresses and evening gowns alike.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Paul & Joe and Alberta Ferretti, S/S ’15

Crochet, lace, macrame.

At first sight it may look like they haven’t changed a bit, but after taking a closer look at all of the crochet, lace and macrame inspired pieces to have walked the spring 2015 runways, you’re bound to discover they all got a refreshingly modern makeover.

In between refined crochet made from silken threads and accented with sparkling jewel-encrusted beads, and pretty white eyelet lace made into dresses, skirts and wide-leg pants, every little element defining of the ’70s was imbued with brand new life.

Upon styling the eye catching pieces, go with utter simplicity and minimal make-up.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Emilio Pucci and Valentino, S/S ’15

1970s fashion: key staples.

The pant suit.

We’ve seen a little bit of everything detailing the 1970s come anew on the spring runways. Illustrating the most evocative of’70s  silhouettes, the pant suit is a definite staple for spring 2015. Seek it in feminine micro-paisley and large scale florals, teaming long-sleeved blazers with subtle flared bottoms. Style it with floral scarves, pointy flats or leather sandals.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Paul & Joe and Victoria Beckham, S/S ’15

Bell bottoms & flares.

From hip-hugging flares, to dramatic bell bottoms, the spring 2015 pant silhouette marks a departure from anything that could be described as skinny. Paired to sheer blouses, peplum tops and suede jackets, the ’70s inspired bell bottoms and flares can ooze of minimalism, or they can be cut in graphic floral prints, swirling patterns, dark denim or rich velvet.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Rebecca Taylor and Honor, S/S ’15

The denim dress.

Falling somewhere above the knee, or sweeping the floor with its maxi length, the denim dress is another wardrobe staple that marks the return of the 1970s fashion. For spring, seek it in light wash, featuring sheer inserts, or lacing detailing, and style it with printed scarves, leather bags and minimal make-up for the denim dress to retain that easy, offhand quality that makes it so desirable.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Gucci and Alberta Ferretti, S/S ’15

The peasant blouse.

The peasant blouse is another glorious example of what the relaxed 1970s fashion looks like now. Retaining a certain vintage appeal whether it comes preciously embroidered, or adorned in graphic, Native American inspired prints, you can sport the peasant blouse with belted short-shorts, loose denim pants, fringed jackets and high-heels, for a modern take on everyday luxury.

1970s fashion seventies clothing spring 2015
1970s fashion at Emilio Pucci and Etro, S/S ’15

Women’s trends related to the 70s fashion revival

So influential is the revival of 70s fashion as a trend that lots of clothing and accessory elements from the era follow with it. While most work into the sophisticated take on the 1970s that we’ve described above, wide legged pants as a key example, there are those which are popular in their own right. The following looks are trend revivals in their own right; they’ve come about as a result of the 70s fashion trend, but can be styled and worn without the 70s vibe and also without the sophisticated feel that is key to the overall revival of the decade’s fashions.

crochet 2011 trend

Crochet & macrame

These are two fabric finishes that could had to return along with the 70s fashion revival. Find out what clothes and accessories in the fabrics are are on trend along with how to wear them by reading our guide to crochet and macrame.

summer pants 2011

Bell bottoms

With skinny pants and jeans now so common that they no longer make a statement it was inevitable that a different style would emerge as a trend. It didn’t necessarily have to be this one, but with the come back of all fashion inspired by 1970s it was inevitable that fashion forward people would turn to bell bottoms / flared pants as their style of choice. Follow the link to find out more about this clothing trend including some key styling tips.

non skinny pants

Wide leg pants

Where there was a bell bottom revival there was always going to be other experiments with the the cuts of pants and jeans that aren’t skinny. Hence alongside the flares are wide leg pants and jeans. What is the difference between the two, and how should they be styled? Follow the link to find out.

spring 2011 jacket

Punk fashion

It’s the 70s fashion sub-trend that sits worlds apart from the sophisticated overtones of the whole trend, yet punk carries on from elements of 2010 to become its own trend spring 2011. Read our guide to punk fashion to find out what it entails, what elements you should wear, and the looks you should avoid. One point at the outset, however: unlikes the rest of the 70s fashion revival, this is one element we’re not yet recommending beyond spring 2011.

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