In keeping with the research for my book, I made a list of the early 70s fashion items which impressed themselves most indelibly in my memory (which is why most of the clothes I remember are for teen females):
- Dr. Scholl’s sandals. I think every girl, but me, wore these sandals. The wood soles hurt my feet. They were the height of fashion, plus easy to slip in and out of. They went with both preppy and hippie clothes.
- Bates Floaters. My boyfriend wore these and insisted that he started the trend. What do I know? Maybe he did start the trend at our school. I wore a girl’s version of low flat boot made of medium blue suede.
- Both genders wore huaraches. You wore these Mexican sandals without socks, and then got them wet so that they molded to your feet.
- Jeans dramatically changed during high school. At the beginning, jeans had a flare in the section between knee and hem. But suddenly, the leg bottoms widened and we were wearing bell bottoms and wide legs. The jeans were frequently hip-huggers, and I always favored button flies.
- The vest. There were lots of variations. At the beginning of the decade, the long pull-over sweater vest was a great look with the mini skirt. Another type of vest, of which I owned an army, was just past the waist in length, a pull-over with scoop neck. My grandmother’s arthritis wouldn’t allow her to sew any longer, so she crocheted me at least a dozen of these vests with several colors or even variegated yarn.
- Underneath those sweater vests we wore thin nylon ski turtlenecks which we had previously worn under crew neck sweaters. Sometimes these turtlenecks were a sort of unitard which snapped at the crotch.
- Early on in the 70s embroidered peasant blouses from India, often in a cream-colored cotton, and smock-tops were wardrobe staples.
- Long Indian-inspired earrings. I loved them!
- Ponchos. My poncho was my life in 10th grade. I could hide in it and yet it made a statement. Not sure what that statement was, though . . . .
- Fringed suede shoulder bags and macrame purses were big, although quite frankly, so were Etienne Aigner burgundy leather purses. Hippie or preppy–take your pick. Since lack of money was an issue for me, I learned to macrame my own purses, but I also owned a fringed suede. The Aigner bags heralded a movement toward an extremely preppy trend in the mid-late 70s.
The great thing about clothes in those days was that if I had the right pair of jeans, with a few turtlenecks in basic colors, my grandmother’s sweater vests gave me a different outfit each day. My dad didn’t like to pay for fashion, but he didn’t have a problem buying yarn for his mother.
What kind of research do you do for your writing? Have you tried making a list like this of items for a scene?