From sequined disco outfits to flared pants to voluminous hair, the 70s Bollywood fashion was an era of experimentation. Check ultimate 70s fashion here!
Hello there! We’re back with yet another Bollywood decade fashion analysis – 70s Bollywood fashion. The 70s was like fifty years ago. Oh, man! For us millennials, 50 years back almost seems like the 1950s. Lol! But here we are in 2021 relooking at the iconic era of Bollywood.
The decade saw some wonderful movies like Sholay, Kabhie Kabhie, Don, Seeta Aur Geeta and many more. Actresses like Hema Malini, Dimple Kapadia, Rekha, Zeenat Aman enamored us with their fashion.
70s Bollywood Fashion
The 70s fashion saw a huge change over from the fifties and sixties. There were a variety of costumes, a mixture of both Indian and western outfits. From casual chic fashion to extravagant party outfits to traditional everyday Indian wear, 70s Bollywood fashion is something we can take cues from!
The 70s was the time for experimentation with bright, bold colors, mini skirts, polka dots, crop tops and colorful sarees. Also, we cannot forget the bikinis that actresses like Dimple Kapadia and Sharmila Tagore donned with ease.
Flared pants and denim shirts were the highlights of men’s style in 70s Bollywood fashion.
70s Bollywood Makeup & Hair
The makeup was bold with winged eyeliner that continued from the 60s. The hair was extravagant with the actresses trying out different types of wigs. In fact, in one scene they have long Rapunzel hair and cut to next they are donning a Marilyn Monroe. You can note this the next time you’re watching a Bollywood movie! 😉
Top 70s Bollywood Fashion
The early 70s was a glorious period for fashion. Actress Dimple Kapadia made the sultry crop tops look so elegant and Zeenat Aman made the hippie look trendy. Also, we have seen a few styles make a comeback in recent years, too.
We have listed out the most famous fashion styles from 70s Bollywood movies. Let’s check ’em out!
1. Bell Sleeves & Flared Pants
Bell sleeves were extremely popular in the 70s. Dresses and button-up shirts with bell sleeves were super-trendy. These sleeves even made a comeback recently.
Along with bell sleeves, flared pants were a major highlight of the 70s Bollywood fashion. From Zeenat Aman to Neetu Singh to Hema Malini, flared pants were a favorite of all actresses. Also, men flaunted these pants with floral and denim shirts.
If you ever have a 70s Bollywood fashion theme party, try flared pants with a bell-sleeved floral top. Add in oversized sunglasses and you’re good to go!
Also, read: Bollywood Theme Party Outfit Ideas for Women
2. Front-Tying Blouses
Front tying blouses are still chic and elegant. Actresses like Zeenat Aman and Neetu Singh popularised them in the 70s. In the movie, Bobby was a huge trendsetter in 70s fashion. Dimple Kapadia’s front tying cropped blouse became a huge rage. She created a bold statement with her white polka dotted top. We even saw this style in a few other movies as well. But Dimple’s style was unbeatable.
She wore them with mini skirts. This style is still perfect for a beach outing or a lunch with your partner or friends. Pair it with oversized sunglasses and a high ponytail for a retro style statement.
This style was carried over in the 90s Bollywood fashion, too, when Kajol wore one in the movie DDLJ. We can sport this style on recent actresses, too!
Anarkalis are one of the best Indian wear. They are elegant and perfect for party wear. Anarkali dresses were first seen in the 60s movie Mughal-e-Azam. We saw knee-length anarkalis in the 1970s movies. The outfit was usually reserved for the special dance numbers where the actress could twirl and look elegant.
Personally, I loved Rekha’s style in Muqaddar ka Sikandar. This trend continued in the early 80s, too. Rekha dazzled on screen in a red anarkali in the song ‘Dil cheez kya hai.’
4. Polka Dots
Polka dots and the movie Bobby are inseparable. Thanks to Dimple Kapadia for making this style a rage. She wore a front tying cropped blouse with polka dots showing off her abs in the movie. A bold statement back then was much appreciated owing to the storyline. We even saw actress Mumtaz sporting a salwar with polka dots in the movie, Khilona.
5. Androgyny & Men’s Inspired Fashion
The 70s Bollywood fashion was the decade of experimentation for sure. Most of the styles were inspired by men’s fashion, too. Women seamlessly carried the button-up shirts, bow ties, and flared pants. This decade also paved the way for a different kind of representation of women in Indian cinema. The 70s heroine was bold, confident and yet feminine.
6. Voluminous Hair
The 60s bouffant hair continued to be popular in the 70s, too. The voluminous hair trend was seen in different ways. Actresses sported different types of wigs, they even experimented with different colors like blonde, ginger, and more. Exaggerated buns with headgears were also popular.
Also, bangs were a favorite amongst the actresses, especially if the character was young and unmarried. We saw side-swept bangs paired with ribbons or a high ponytail in the movies Caravan and Seeta Aur Geeta.
7. Extravagant Disco Outfits
Well, well, we’re here! The era is the 70s, so how can we miss out the disco outfits?
We cannot forget the flashy headbands, sequined dresses and chokers that the 70s Bollywood actresses donned. They sure knew how to rock it all! And Helen was the frontrunner of the 60-70s cabaret dance culture. The term item number may not have been coined yet, but Helen swept every man’s heart with her moves. The song ‘Yeh Mera Dil’ from Don is still popular.
8. Oversized Sunglasses
Oversized sunglasses were definitely a thing in 70s Bollywood fashion. This is because of the emerging pop culture that this trend became so fashionable. We saw both men and women sporting oversized sunglasses that looked really stylish. Personally, I loved Zeenat Aman’s hippie look and Rishi Kapoor’s relaxed look from the movie Bobby.
9. Floppy Hats
Floppy hats were a big thing in Hollywood and 70s Bollywood fashion was inspired by western trends. We saw Saira Banu sporting one with a cute little dress and Dev Anand in the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
10. Thigh High Slits
The sexy thigh-high slits were a thing back in the 70s, especially in dance numbers. Helen’s outfit in the song ‘Yeh mera dil’ from the movie Don is still one of the most iconic costumes in Bollywood fashion. Thigh-high slits were pretty common in disco or sultry dance numbers!
11. Winged Eyeliner
Winged eyeliner was popular in the 60s and the trend continued to the 70s, too. Actresses Hema Malini and Mumtaz sported solid winged liner. This style gives an illusion of big eyes and adds a dramatic element to your look. Winged liner is another 70s trend that is still popular among women today!
The 70s actresses made swimsuits look flawless and easy. From Dimple Kapadia to Zeenat Aman, a variety of swimsuits were seen on screen. 70s Bollywood swimsuits included slip dress-esque one-pieces, two-piece bikinis and swimsuits with surface work.
13. 70s Saree Fashion
Sarees in the 70s Bollywood fashion was bold, flamboyant, and colorful prints. The transparent sarees were popularised by the evergreen beauty, Sharmila Tagore. We also saw high necked with short-sleeved blouses paired with the sarees. Also, the paachwari or the five-yard saree with a small pallu was a rage in the 70s.
14. Printed Shirts
Printed shirts were very popular in men’s fashion in the 70s. From Rishi Kapoor to Amitabh Bachchan, the most popular actors sported printed shirts for a casual look. These shirts also looked youthful. We also saw a few actresses flaunting the printed shirts in magazine shoots!
Chokers look the best even with the simplest of outfits. They were popular in the 90s and 2000s, too. But we saw this style way back in 70s Bollywood fashion. Thanks to the emerging disco era, chokers were adorned with studs, large hoop earrings and many more styles. We saw studded, sequined, embellished chokers in movies like Sharmelee and Raja Jani.
Headbands were quite popular in retro Bollywood fashion. Hema Malini wore them with her side-swept hair with a poufy crown. In most of her movies, we can spot this hairstyle. The headbands added an elegant and feminine touch to the look.
17. Jumpsuit Palazzos
Jumpsuits are chic and elegant and back in the 70s, Zeenat Aman’s white palazzo from the movie, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, was loved by everyone. This style is still super-trendy. Whether it’s for a beach outing or a casual coffee date or shopping, wear a solid colored jumpsuit palazzo for a stylish look!
18. Hippie Outfits
The most famous movie during this era was Hare Rama Hare Krishna, which had the quintessential hippie look sported by Zeenat Aman. She mixed and matched Indian and western looks, and people loved the fashion. From hoop earrings to oversized sunglasses to a round bindi, she rocked the hippie look.
70s Bollywood Fashion | Funny Trends We Don’t Want to See Anymore
Well, every era had its own ups and downs. And even in the 70s we spotted a few questionable trends. Of course, we love the retro style and all, but a few styles are so made up and over the top that we wish they never existed. Let’s check out some fashion disaster moments!
1. Helen’s Exaggerated Head Accessories
Helen is surely one of the greatest gifts to Indian cinema. And personally, I love her songs. But there are a few songs where she goes overboard with her accessories that I feel may kill the viewer’s eyes. Aw! Eye attack!
2. Matching Accessories
Gah! This trend continued for a while. Please please no same colored necklace and earrings and finger rings and so on. Just no. Mix and match is a new style. Could we undo this trend in the 70s?!
3. Big Buns
Buns are super comfortable but 70s actresses would go to the next level and create bee hive-like buns. Like seriously?!
4. Wavy Bangs
Bangs are a cool way to style your hair for sure. But those wavy bangs. Oh god! What was the stylist thinking?!
5. Mountain Bouffants
Poofy hair on the crown is supposed to create a statement not to create a hill to trek on *rolls eyes*.
So, these were the best and worst moments in 70s Bollywood fashion. Which one did you love the most? Do you wanna see these trends make a comeback or you wish they never do? Let us know by tweeting us @shilpa1ahuja!
Sahana is a Senior Staff Writer at ShilpaAhuja.com. With an experience in fashion and lifestyle writing, Sahana is responsible for Indian and international fashion week coverage every year, and is developing an expertise in apparel trend forecasting. She also writes about health and fitness, having pursued yoga for 6 years now. She’s not a gym person at all but is all for “running in the park” and is an amateur cyclist. Books and coffee are her other passions. She’s also an amateur photographer. She’s a hardcore Bollywood fan and she loves to cover the nostalgic topics on the same. From fashion trends to famous characters, she can make anyone love Bollywood! Her best article has been 90s Bollywood fashion, a readers’ favorite so far! Prior to her experience with ShilpaAhuja.com, Sahana has written as a freelance author for online magazine, Mashup Corner, and interned at EventsHigh as a content writer. Her blogs on basic fashion, makeup, fitness and city’s food joints that gave her a chance to experiment with her writing. She also has voiced her opinions about feminism and equal rights for men and women at PolkaCafe journals and after quitting her job, she decided to take up writing as her full time career.
Sahana is an engineering graduate and has worked in an MNC, Tesco, for more than a year as an Operations Support. It was her sheer love for fashion that made her quit the monotonous 9 to 5 job to pursue a career in the fashion industry. She’s originally from Bangalore and is currently settled in Chennai (she’s loving the city)! For any queries and discussions, contact her at [email protected] You can also tweet her at https://twitter.com/Sahana_17