WHY I STILL LOVE 70s STYLE
Mango have launched a Seventies Revival Collection for this Autumn. And I for one am excited. The decade of my youth really is the gift that keeps on giving. But hang on a minute – there’s a well-meaning piece of fashion advice floating around which suggests that ‘Nothing will make you look older than wearing the styles of your youth that are marketed to your daughters’.
Cue: instant comedown from that hazy reverie where my hair is really big and curly and I’m listening to Go Your Own way by Fleetwood Mac, and hell, I’m actually Stevie Nicks. Because actually I’m not. I’m a woman ‘of a certain age’ with a thirty-two year old daughter, and even she might be too old to be the target customer for this latest Seventies update. And my hair may have been really thick and curly in the 1970s, but now it’s a bit thin and wispy, if I’m honest.
But d’you know what? I’d like to bust that little piece of fashion advice. I think there nothing more comforting than harking back to those halcyon care-free days of my youth. It’s my rebellion. I will not go quietly into ageless style. I love what award winning costume designer Michelle Clapton, creator of the outfits for Mama Mia 2, has to say about my favourite decade.
“The ’70s is the reason I did the movie. I love the ’70s so much. For Lily, I was thinking of Stevie Nicks. I loved Jane Birkin. Nigella Lawson in the ’70s was so cool when she was at Oxford. I found these old pictures of her — she was a real inspiration for the Oxbridge scenes.’
Of course Mango aren’t the first to have tapped into the zeitgeist. In the past, Designers such as Chloe, YSL, and Roberto Cavalli have all plundered the decade for inspiration.
And there’s more. Alexa Chung describes her latest collection for Spring/Summer 2019, ‘These clothes quietly aspire to that late 1970s era when Mick Jagger or The Beatles would waft through departures in corduroy and velvet leaving the scent of patchouli in their wake,’ she told vogue.com. For Spring/Summer 2019, Victoria Beckham cites Instagram account @70sbaes as an influence on her denim range, and 70s glamour provided inspiration for St Laurent. Basically, we’re going mad for the aesthetic of that groovy era in the coming months.
However, wearing 70s style means being careful not to look like you’ve gone to the fancy dress shop and hired an Abba outfit. The ‘trucker in Seventies drag’ look, like Mick Ronson in the Spiders from Mars, or Dave Hill from Slade, is not where I’m headed for inspo either. Definitely not.
It’s more like a little whisper of those years I spent with glitter on my cheekbones and black flares with red stars on them. Such a subtle nod, you’d hardly know it was there. But it’s there for me.
It could any of this autumn’s trends: be it a kick flare in velvet or corduroy (for the latter, I’m definitely purchasing Jigsaw’s version this season), a roll-neck jumper, a printed pussy-bow blouse, a floral midi dress, tan leather heeled boots, a saddle bag, a midi skirt or an oversized Annie Hall mannish coat, for starters. Or it could be Mango’s denim bootcut flares that give you legs for days (try them, you’ll see what I mean).
Here’s an example – I can wear my print Rixo London pussy-bow blouse under a fitted longline Stella McCartney blazer, with black cigarette trousers and low heeled stilettos for a business meeting. This blouse is super flattering and versatile. In my head, when I wear it, I’m ‘fly’. I’m an extra in ‘Shaft’. This gives me inner strength. And no one even suspects I am paying homage to the decade of my youth. So I say to those well-meaning fashion harbingers of doom, ‘Do one’.
Wendy Rigg is a fashion stylist and former Jackie magazine cover model.
Tulip Pussy Bow Blouse, Rixo London, £175
Denim Trench Coat, Mango, £79.99
Houndstooth Maxi Coat, Jigsaw, £299
Denim Flares, Mango, £49.99
Camel Boots, Dune, £180
Above: Wendy in her teen mag modelling days, and now.