Farrah Fawcett; Wella Balsam
Fashion in the 1970s
The 70s was an exciting time for fashion and style. It is completely unlike any other style from any other time. There was no more sign of the ultra feminine full skirts, spike heels, and white gloves as in the fashion of the 1950s, and the beehive hairdos with ultra mini skirts were gone without a trace.
There was really no sign of recent styles within the fashion of the 70s. This decade stands alone as the weirdest, sometimes attractive, but mostly embarrassing trends we have ever seen. The style of the 30s morphed slowly from the shapeless flapper, to the more fitted, and elegant 30s look with the hairstyles making slight changes, and the 40s evolved from the girlish full skirts to the 50s fuller skirts with hairstyles slowly morphing. But the 1970s popped out of nowhere. Even within the decade itself, it recklessly went from straight stringy hair to the full and fussy Farrah look, while the skirts went from ultra mini to long and peasant, the 70s seemed to be rebelling non stop
This decade has become fascinating in recent decades as we look back and wonder how people ever wore these things. Fashion in the 1970s is nostalgia for those who lived through it, and curiosity for those who haven't.
Farrah Fawcett Majors
She made a huge sensation on Charlie's Angeles and is remembered as the "favorite angel," even though she was on the show for only one season. It must have been the hair....
Farrah was the poster girl of the mid 70s. One of the first images that comes to mind when fashion from the 70s is mentioned, is the image of a young, outdoor girl, with fabulous frosted blond hair. Farrah Fawcett Majors, as she was known at the time, was the most imitated woman in America. It seemed as though half of the women in the U.S. had some version of the feathered, winged, hairstyle that she made famous on Charlie's Angeles.
Honestly, I like it, and find it nicer than the stick straight styles that are worn today. It is feminine and glamorous, coming close to the seriously "worked" hair of the 1940s fashions.
You could hardly go any were in the 70s without seeing the famous poster of Farrah Fawcett posing in a red full piece bathing suit. She did Wella Balsam shampoo commercials and suddenly Wella Balsam was the shampoo of the 1970s. This later led to Farrah Fawcett shampoo, and numerous other endorsements related to hair styling products. After Farrah Fawcett Majors appeared with this hairstyle, every actress and model was compared to how much like Farrah her hair was, or how far off from "the style" she was.
If you did not have feathered, bouncy hair by 1978, you were pretty out of it. Even the men began to wear some version of this style, and it evaporated slowly. Looking at many photos of models and actresses from the 80s, you can still see some women wearing an updated version of the "Farrah wings."
The Original Charlie's Angeles
The full Afro as worn by Foxy Brown,The Silvers, The Jackson Five, and just about everyone in the black community during the 1970s. The huge fro was to black people what the Farrah "feathers" were to the white community.
The fuller the fro, the better the look. Some big Afros were works of art, trimmed to perfection like well manicured hedges, while others were enormous and wild. Some Afros moved around, while others were as stiff as cement. This hairstyle was won equally by men and women, and could be paired perfectly with a 70s jumpsuit for an evening at Studio 54.
Who Wears Short Shorts
Short shorts were just about the only kind in existence as far as fashions from the 70s go. Shorts were meant to be short, and the commercials during the 70s made the most of it by advertising Nair hair removal products that would be absolutely necessary in order to look good in hot pants.
The photo above was the very "In" look for a pop male star of the 70s. The skin tight pants and the floppy, silky, shirt opened up displaying a hairy chest with a chain of some kind around the neck. This was the staple of what a sexy guy looked like in the minds of the 1970s girls.
This look could actually be considered creepy today, but in the 70s young girls had posters like this one all over their bedrooms. Notice the "guy version" of the Farrah hair.
On the left is the Leisure Suit. The yucky things you see men wearing in 70s movies. Square, shapeless jackets without a tie and patch pockets. It was as though someone tried to come up with the most unappealing suit imaginable, however, the 70s was actually doing everything to be different. In an attempt to come up with something besides the "suit" that men have always worn, they came up with this "thing" that could be any color of the rainbow, and lacked the traditional tie. Fortunately, the leisure suit was short lived and the dark suits and ties that make men look truly handsome and masculine are back. Although, they are not worn as often as I would like to see....
John Travolta; The Dry Look
John Travolta displays his dry, Farrah hair that he wore in Welcome Back Cotter.
Men's hairstyles of the 50s were often wet, or greasy looking. They used brilliantine or hair gel, to create style, but the 70s rebelled against all that with the "Dry Look." Commercials, hair products, and male models of the 70s plugged the new look as dry and touchable. Men's hair during the 70s was not only drier, but there was more of it. Sideburns, and hair that covered the forehead was considered fashionable.
Jeans and slacks were always bell bottoms in the 70s. Most pants were high waisted, but in the later 70s, when chemin de fer jeans became popular, the low waisted, slightly below sailor pants grew in popularity.
More Retro Style
- American Fashions of the 1950's
The style of the 50's. Women wore full skirts and fitted jackets with pointed toe shoes. Men wore coservative charcoal grey suits with penny loafers.
- 1920's Fashion Shoes - 1960s
1920s fashion for women, pumps, ankles straps and spectator shoes. All are worth a look when considering costumes from the 1920s, or for fun. Many young girls have an interest in fashion from the 1920s.
New Charlie's Angeles
Niyasameen on February 18, 2015:
Yeah I'm just numb. I was so focused on the Farrah all day. I remebmer watching Charlie's Angels and loving it so much. I used to run around the house and pose like the Angels did. LOL I was probably in Underoos at the time...shows my age! :) Like Nikki, I was in love with Michael and Prince. I remebmer being in sixth grade, wearing my pins of each...those cheap round button type ones. I too feel like a piece of my childhood died. I mean, wasn't he supposed to live forever? I was at work tonight (my part time job) when I got the news. It spread like wildfire. And most people had the same reaction, "Yeah right, stop kidding." It really hit me much harder when I was driving home. Almost every radio station was continually playing MJ songs. And when I flipped through them all, each was playing a different song. It really hit me then HOW much music he made over the years and HOW great he really was. For all the messed up times in his life, I have always remebmered what a great, talented musician he was...and just how much of a humanitarian he was too. It's surreal, really. Nikki, as a tribute to you, this was the first place I came to when I came online just now. Because I knew this would be the best place for me to post my feelings. And when I came on, you didn't let me down when I saw your post about him and Farrah. So you thank you for that. :)
Skarlet (author) from California on August 12, 2012:
Thank you Lynn,
It was definitely an interesting time. I can see you with Farrah hair:)
Lynn S. Murphy on August 12, 2012:
This is tooooo cool. I had Farrah Fawcett hair. I loved it. OOO OOO you remember body suits??? Onesies for women. LOL. Kept them pesky shirts in your low riding hip hubbing bell bottoms.
Dianna Mendez on July 30, 2012:
I remember how much everyone wanted Farrah's long, wavey locks look back then. She wore it so well. Also, Travolta certainly made his mark back then with his deep set eyes and attractive looks. Enjoyed the read.
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on July 28, 2012:
I remember all that stuff from when I was a kid and it was fun to look back on it reading this piece. Farrah Fawcett was all over the place, as well as Andy Gibb and everybody was wearing short shorts and had feathered hair. It was a different time with different people, different thinking, and definitely different fashion.
Skarlet (author) from California on July 28, 2012:
@minababe- You must have looked very hip! It really was strange and tacky in many ways, but as you say, the television shows, and music were really fun. We are missing that now.
@Starmom41-Lol, I want to see it too:)
@DarkQ- I really would like to jump into the 70s too. It may have been tacky, but it was fun...
Atila Gombos from Romania on July 28, 2012:
Oh my, I love those times... whenever I see those pictures i feel like i wanna travel back in time.
Starmom41 on July 28, 2012:
@minababe: you can't say that without giving us pictures!!! lol
minababe on July 28, 2012:
OMG, the '70s was definitely one of the tackiest decades ever, lol... I would know because I had an afro and bellbottoms at the tender age of 6.
But there were some great things about it, too. Lots of great fads, trends, television shows, music.
Skarlet (author) from California on July 28, 2012:
Thank you Starmom41,
That is funny, I remember that they were stiff, scratchy and just about as bad as they could get in every way.
Starmom41 on July 28, 2012:
I remember my father had a leisure suit- the material was even worse than the style!