Picture a man wearing a bright orange flowery shirt, a stripy sleeveless jumper and the loudest pair of green and lipstick-red trousers you’ve ever seen, over a pair of high heels. Imagine him with long wavy hair, an earring and possibly even a hint of eye liner. There are places you might see a man dressed in such a way, but the football terrace would not usually be one of them.
But then again the 1970s was a unique decade in just so many ways. Musically, culturally, in world events – things that seemed quite normal in those far-off days that would have appeared out of place at any other time in history, before or since. And never was this more so than in the sphere of fashion. In the seventies fashion, in ten short years, went through more changes than the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
As Bee is far too young to remember the androgynous, eclectic decade that was the 1970s I am grateful to her for allowing me the opportunity to guest post on her blog, to consign some of my memories of that most wonderful era to record.
From Flower Power to the Ziggy Cut
The decade began as the sixties had finished, in a sometimes confused haze of psychedelia and tie-dye t-shirts. Everyone had given a peace a chance, now we were looking for something else. When our male pop idols began to take to the Top Of The Pops stage festooned with glitter and sporting mascara we knew that it had arrived.
There seemed at that time to be an unspoken competition going on between some of the biggest names in pop to see which of them could appear on the show wearing the most outrageously high-stacked platform heels. Six, seven, eight inches they were at times – and that was just the soles!
Perhaps most outrageous of all was David Bowie, with his striking tangerine-coloured hair and his daring and outlandish costumes. When he (or as we found out later, his character) quit live concerts in July 1973 every lad of a certain age, and not a few lasses, seemed to consider it their duty to go right out and get a Ziggy cut – spiked on top, shoulder-length at the back – in tribute. Often this was accompanied by a solitary earring, typically a small crucifix.
Disco Kids, Punks and Saturday Night Fever
Fast forward to the middle of the decade and Bowie had returned to us as a coke-fuelled Prussian aristocrat, but many of us by now were listening to disco. There had always been disco, but seventies disco was a genre all its own right. We still had the flares and the platforms, and the tank-tops, but now we had the moves too. Those who dissented from it all shredded their butterfly collars and came back with an entirely new wave of fashion and culture called punk, with its spikes and safety pins and its spitty, snarly music.
But we left the decade wearing Pods, our cool and comparatively sensible shoes in which we strutted our stuff to the sounds of the Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever, every one of us a John Travolta or an Olivia Newton-John. It had been a long, long decade. Donovan could only look on in horror, and flash us a peace sign.