Mick Jagger Photography by Getty Images

Mick Jagger Photography by Getty Images

The 1970s are often looked back upon with wildly disparate degrees of affection. These tend to range from begrudging admiration for the daring risks that were taken in the world of men’s fashion to face-palming memories of fashion disasters that would best be left forgotten. However, if one is to look back on the era with an objective lens, there is still plenty of inspiration to be taken by what is undeniably one of the most forward-thinking decades in the world of fashion.

The era was much more than simply bell-bottom jeans and loud colors. There were actually many terrific designs and ideas that continue to hold true today. It has been noted by Rebecca Arnold, a fashion historian from the Courtauld Institute of Art, that ’70s trends continue to reappear not only in spite of but because of their uniqueness. “Certain elements of the period, the garish prints and weird color combinations, keep repeating,” she said in a piece in The New York Times.

David Bowie in Yellow suit blazer mustard

David Bowie in Yellow suit blazer mustard

In fact, you may have noticed that several ’70s trends are popping back up and that there are still plenty of ways for men to take advantage of the trend before it’s too late. In addition to loud prints such as colorful paisleys and florals, one understated seventies pattern that has never gone away is the classic plaid. We still see plaids today in a wide variety of styles from sports shirts to winter clothing, as displayed on King Size Direct. Depending on how you decide to pair your plaids, you can dress it up for some rustic style or go casual for a classic, yet rugged, look.

Laura McLaws Helms, who wrote a book on classic Bohemian chic, discussed some of the styles of the decade and pointed out that contrasting form-fitting and looser clothing was all the rage. As pointed out by Refinery29, it’s one trend that can be expected to come back. “The ’70s was a time when people were highlighting the fit, healthy, athletic but curvy body, and the clothes emphasized that,” she said.

You can see men recreating this look with form-fitting sweaters combined with looser-fitting trousers to create a stark contrast that also tends to complement most body types. Alternatively, you can flip the trend around with an oversized ribbed knit top that hearkens back to the ’70s style. Then, keep things modern with a pair of skinny jeans to achieve a similar contrast with a look that’s definitely for today. That way, you don’t look as though you’re heading to a vintage costume party.

Even bell-bottoms have been making a bit of a comeback. This isn’t the first time that the “boot cut” pant has made a go at re-asserting itself into the public’s fashion consciousness. We would, however, issue a word of caution before investing too heavily in the flared pants.


All images from the Gucci Fall2017 show

Of course, it’s hard to look at the ’70s without pointing out the impeccable suits created by some of the biggest designers of the day including the ever-illusive Halston and Yves Saint Laurent. Unsurprisingly, they continue to influence today’s designers, such as Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford. They were even a prominent inspiration for the Fall 2017 Menswear show by Gucci, as evidenced by the loud prints and colors, particularly the paisleys and oversized glasses seen walking down the runway.

It’s all to easy to give the ’70s a bad rap due to many of the styles that have remained the butt of many pop-culture jokes for years. However, it is important not to allow that to blind you to what was one of the most exciting and adventurous periods in fashion history.