Boys' Clothing during the 1970s

Figure 1.--A popular style in the 1970s was to dress little brothers like their older sisters, but never older brothers.

If the 1960s was the decade of Hippy fashions, the 1970s was the decade that the Hippies began wearing polyester. More bizzare fashions probably appeared in the 1970s than any other decade. Sport and suit jackets had wide, pointy lapels. Bellbottoms jeans were a popular fashion trend. The girls were wearing maxis and minis as well as hot pants and platform shoes. Natural or ethnic styles of the flower children and hippies. Polyester became the new staple fiber, polyester suits and shirts were everywhere. Boys wore longer hair, some at shoulder length hair. Afros also appeared during the 1970s. One major development was the widespread use of designer names and labels as an incentive to shoppers.




Some information is available on clothing trend during the 1970s in specific countries.


The 1960s was the decade of the Hippies in America. In the 1970s the hippies put polyester. Major changed occurred in boys clothing in the 1970s. Probably more bizzare chldren's and teen fashions emerged during the 1970s than in any other decade. Bell-bottom jeans were thein thing. While polyester ruled, jeans began to move into the cutural mainstream and became fashionable. The move since the 1920s had been to casual clothing. Casual clothing by the 1970s finally became increasingly acceptable in a variety of social occasions that one required more formal dress. All kinds of jeans were worn and they emerged as fashion statements. Children eventually demanded designer jeans. Other insisted on buying jeans that looked worn or even torn. The "T" shirt emerged as a major fashion, especially ones with statesments, logos, or athletic or music group images. Boys in the 1970s, no longer dressed up in short pants and kneesocks, except for the very youngest and even younger boys wanted longs by the 1980s. While boys didn't want to dress up in short pants, they increasingly wanted to wear shorts for casual wear. Many differnt kinds of shorts appeared, cutoffs, runnng shorts, OPs, camp shorts and others. Many boys wore cutoffs that would not wear any other type of shorts. Not only were more boys wearing shorts, but the Bermudas of the 1960s gave way to a popular shorter length.


The 1970s was a major dividing point between post-war and late-20th Century boys' fashions. Boys now were acquainred with jeans and wanted to wear them even though their parents weren't still sold on the idea. The Scouts had switched to long pants in 1969, although the Cubs still insisted on short pants. State secondary continued to require uniforms, but even junior boys, with a few exceptions, now wore long pants. A few Public schools still required shorts and most preparatory schools continued to require shorts. Many primary schools adopted simple unidorms, usually simple grey jumpers, shorts, and knee socks. English boys increasingly got long pants suits at younger ages. The age at which boys should wear shorts was widely discussed in the media. For many British boys at the beginning of the decade, getting his first pair of long pants continued to be an important landmark. The increasing popularity of jeans and other long trousers meant that by the end of the decade boys wore long pants at quite early ages and it was less of an event. While fewer British boys wore short pants suits, many schools still required shorts for elementary age children. Almost all boys in state secondary schools wore longs. A few private schools continued to require shorts for older boys, but this had virtually disappeared by the end of the decade. Older boys were attracted by skinhead styles.


A major change occurred in Europe with shorts and knee socks virtually disappearing on older boys who insisted on jeans and other informal American clothes. A few traditional private schools continued to insist on shorts. Older boys dressed up in suits little different from their fathers. Mostly they wore casual clothes with shorts becoming increasingly common.


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Created: January 21, 1999
Last updated: December 20, 2003