The 6 Worst Style Trends of the 1970s, According to Experts

Fashion experts say these retro style trends should stay strictly in the past.

Style-wise it's no secret that there was a lot going on in the 1970s. An amalgamation of punk, glam, and disco made the choices seemingly endless—and rather bold. From over-the-top patterns and terry cloth to caftans and denim vests, fashion was a marker of individuality that always seemed to be evolving (sometimes a little too much). While there are a ton of influential looks that came out of the retro era, looking back, there are some that society could have done without. Read on to discover the worst style trends of the 1970s, according to an expert.

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Yarn Hair Ties


When you think of hair ties, your first instinct is probably to grab a scrunchie or something made of elastic. In the 1970s, however, placing your pigtails in brightly-hued yarn was the way to go. "It looked like cotton thread, like Q-tips," says style expert Candy Holladay. "They were the worst things ever." People would often wear these yarn hair ties with different headbands, but it didn't change the fact that they were a fashion misstep.

Crochet Swimsuits

crochet swimsuit

While we're on the topic of yarn, we'd be remiss to mention the yarn swimsuit phase. In the 1970s, crochet was all the rave, but it wasn't practical for swimwear. "Yarn is heavy when it's wet, so you're risking your swimsuit easily slipping off," says The Nines fashion editor Lisa Sanchez. "Even if you don't get it wet, it's itchy and not comfortable against skin, especially sensitive areas."

Ruffled Maxi Dresses


In the 1970s, ruffled maxi dresses were a go-to trend, but looking back, they were actually a fashion faux pas. "They were made out of flowery material and would also have billions of wide ruffles all down the skirt," says Holladay. "You couldn't see an inch of the person." It's something, she believes, a 1970s country singer would have worn and should effectively remain in the past. "I don't think you could ever even interpret that to wear today," says Holladay. "It would just look so crazy."

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Elevator Shoes

Mens white platform shoes
80eight Photography & Design / Alamy

Truthfully, platforms have never gone out of style. But there are certain versions of them that should be left behind. Elevator shoes, which were sky-high versions of the traditional platform, are something that may have been fashionable but weren't functional. "There were such crazy platforms that were six, seven inches, [and] the whole platform with a shoe would be that tall," says Holladay. The extra height, however, wasn't worth it. "People couldn't even really walk in them," she adds.

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Wide Ties


We fully support anyone's right to wear whatever tie they like, but size does matter. However, that's something that wasn't considered in the 1970s. Super wide ties that were "minimum around four inches wide" were the go-to look in that era. "It was kind of a clownish kind of a look because they were so wide," says Holladay. And, like so many things in the 1970s, they came in bold colors. While Holladay supports the vibrant options, the ties just looked out of place.

Polyester Suits

leisure suit

When you think of the 1970s it's hard not to envision polyester suits—or leisure suits. But, like elevator shoes, they ultimately failed in functionality. "They normally were all plaid and very made of a very thick polyester that was really stiff," says Holladay. "So when you wore it, it would move with you but in a bad way." The result was "a boxy look that just sat on you." Not to mention, the thickness of the polyester was just a recipe for overheating. All things considered (including that monochromatic pattern), this style was too much to handle.

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