It's some of the easiest fashion to make fun of, but 1970s disco fashion for women was freeing and exciting, as well as overtly sexy. Aspects of that fashion continue to come back into vogue, even as some never wholly went away.
Basic 1970s Disco Fashion for Women
Those who deride polyester don't realize what a boon it was in the 1960s and 1970s for hard-working women and even men. Easy to care for and almost impossible to wrinkle, it meant much less time needed to be spent in laundering and ironing. Polyester also allowed for fabrics that sported vibrant prints and yet were reasonably priced. Although it does not breathe, it allowed for loose and inexpensive clothing that looked great when spinning on the dance floor.
Part of what was so exciting about 1970s disco fashion for women was that there was so much that was acceptable - which is to say, pretty much anything - and so much from which to choose. Dresses with a 1940s sensibility were popular, although they tended to have looser bodices and a more empire waistline. Miniskirts, especially of the flared variety, were very popular, as were the ultra-daring skin-tight and abbreviated hot pants.
But while women could show as much leg as was legal, they were also free to cover up as much as they chose and still move with comfort and flair. In the 1950s and 1960s, a teenager might be able to get away with going to a dance in capri pants or jeans, and some Beatnik women did so as well (in the movie Funny Face, Audrey Hepburn does a sexy dance in black capris), but most women felt obliged to wear a skirt for dancing. Not so in a 1970s disco, when a maxi, wide-legged jumpsuit could be worn to great acclaim. Maxi dresses were also seen whirling under the disco balls. Women who went dancing regularly had a great time exploring wildly different looks on different nights.
Finding Disco Clothes
Because disco was so widely derided after it passed, the fashions that had characterized it went for virtually pennies in thrift stores, if they were even resold at all. Increasingly, however, both the music and the clothes have seen a resurgence of interest. Whatever polyester's drawbacks, it does hold up well so many of the original 1970s disco fashions for women, despite having been worn and danced in many times, can be found in remarkably good condition. Hot pants are still desirable club wear and a lot of women gravitate towards these vintage hot pants as a way of being sexy and funky at the same time. A deceptively simple disco dress, knee-length with a flowing skirt, sash and sleeve detail, can be at once flirty and sexy. So disco clothes are becoming desirable once again.
For the best luck and quality, as well as ease of hunting, it's best to look for original disco fashions in online vintage shops, where they usually divide the stock by era. You can also save a favorite search on eBay. Things like the knee-length or minidresses and hot pants can be very sought after and thus expensive, whereas jump suits don't tend to create the same excitement. However, if you want to have a quirky vintage look, you might give a jump suit a try. If you're tall, they can make you look striking and if you're not tall, they make you look taller. That's especially true if you're wearing the requisite platform shoes or boots. The whole outfit makes a statement.
Make Your Own Disco Fashions
Working with polyester is difficult, but finding patterns for disco wear is easy. So you can have the best of both worlds by making your own disco styles using cotton, silk or any other breathable fabric that still moves well when you dance. Get out the sewing machine and go to town!