Let’s Visit the 1970s & Get Some Clothing

A set of printable paper doll clothing from the 1970s. A pair of tops and pants from home sewing patterns of the era.

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It’s taken a while for me to start liking the 1970s as a fashion era. For a long time, I just wasn’t that into it. So much of the clothing from the 1970s felt clown like to me. Over the top.

Which is odd when you consider my other favorite eras are all about over the top. I mean, have you seen the 18th century? Over the top is kinda the defining concept of the Rococo era.

What I’ve slowly been realizing is that while a lot of 1970s fashion is not to my taste, there are pockets that I simply adore. The folkloric stuff is right up my alley and I have a strange fondness for a lot of the more absurd platform shoes and the black power African influenced stuff.

Today’s paper doll designs are from home sewing patterns of the era. Sewing patterns tend to be closer to everyday wear than designer things you might have seen on the runway.

Pants became totally acceptable for women to wear in the 1970s. This was a slow process that started way back in the 1920s with lounging pajamas. So, these pants are from Simplicity 9374. They have a laced up fly (which is false) and a back zipper.

Front flys on pants were still seen as a little too risque.

The shirts are from McCall’s 5021. One of my favorite things about clothing from the 1970s is the embroidery. I love embroidery on clothing. It’s also back in style which makes me giddy as a schoolgirl. 

It just occurred to me as I wrote that that “giddy as a schoolgirl” is a trifle sexist. Hmm… I’ll have to think about that. 

Meanwhile, let me know what you think of 1970’s clothing in a comment. Do you like it? Hate it? Is there a historical era you’d like to see me draw for the new series? 

And, if you want to help out the blog, consider joining Patreon. Every little bit helps. 

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  1. ’70s clothes are interesting historically but make me cringe. Too many bad clothing memories from childhood.

    I have a book, “Designing Women” by Margaretta Byers, from 1938 or so. Long section on trousers for women. She interviewed a nameless Army man who watched a number of trousers-wearing women(pause for snickering) and concluded that the main problem was that the tailoring was awful. Trousers were based on men’s pants, when they should be adjusted for the female figure. Byers argued that the only women who could wear trousers were angular ladies, who were more or less shaped like men. And they shouldn’t do it either, just because.

    Did not know that about the front fly. A rear zipper doesn’t sound much more modest, and a lot trickier to close. I think my pants from that era had elastic waists. Big thick elastic waists.

    Hence the bad memories.

    Sorry to go on. I’d just read this and had to tell someone!

    1. In the late 30s and early 1940s, trousers were sort of… people weren’t sure about them yet. In 1932, film star Marlene Dietrich appeared at the opening of  The Sign of the Cross wearing a man’s tuxedo, hat, shoes, the whole nine yards.

      It caused a huge stir, though women had been wearing trousers for several years before this. Anyway, she’s often credited with making trousers “acceptable” though even after she did that there was still a lot of… hesitancy around the idea.

      But even in the early 1940s, women wore trousers for a variety of different things. And World War 2 helped make them even more acceptable.

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