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Vintage-Inspired Fashion: 3 Groovy 1970’s Tops


Bohemian-chic is in: that is a fact. But at times, the look can come off as a bit sloppy.

The secret to pulling off clothes that send a shout-out to the 1970s? Pair them with tailored, well-constructed options to break up the look. It’s easiest to do this with tops, as you can pair them with almost anything and can always throw a jacket on top.

I’ve separated 1970s tops into three categories: fringed vests, tunics, and plaid. I’ll also show you how to wear each top with some sample outfits below.

Fabulous Fringe

Vintage Vests

Product Information: Suede Fringe Gilet – Topshop, Grey Fringe Waistcoat – Dorothy Perkins, Fringed Leather Vest – My Theresa.

Fringed vests are everywhere right now, so you can find a lot of them in department stores.For a more authentic look, you can also find great vests at thrift and vintage stores (if you are willing to hunt for them!) These vests look great with jeans or a denim skirt, for class or going to the movies on a date.

To find vests like these in thrift or vintage stores, look for suede or leather – that’s the best bet for your money. However, if you are looking for vegan-friendly options, you can find those as well. Just be sure to check the label and pay attention to how the fabric feels. (If it feels like genuine leather or suede, it probably is.)

For the most flattering look for your body, make sure the bottom of the vest hits you at a spot that is proportional to your height so it doesn’t shorten your torso or leg-line.

How to Wear a Fringed Vest

Fringed Vest Outfit

Product Information: Skinny Jeans – Debenhams. Studded Flats – Oli. Studded bag – Newlook. Rosa Pleated Top – Delias. Earrings – A’GACI.

To pull off a vest with this much personality, I would keep the color palette simple: just gray, black, and two splashes of teal (or your favorite bright color). The white top I chose has a mock neck detailing, which is very 1970’s, but it’s tailored enough to work under the vest. (You could also throw on a white tee shirt and look just as chic!) A few stud details keep the look modern.

Terrific Tunics

Vintage Inspired Tunics

Product Information: Bohemian Paisley Blouse – Styles for Less. Marc by Marc Jacobs Peacock Paisley Top – Piperlime. Fruit Stand Tunic – ModCloth.

I love the femininity of these tops: the details are delicate and the fabrics are flowy. The colors and patterns are daring, yet muted, and would work well with jeans for class or even trousers for work.

To find tops like these in vintage of thrift stores, don’t be afraid to sift through and try on lots of options. Look for high quality fabrics and a fit that looks flowy, but not sloppy, on your body type. Pay attention to the label (if there is one) and any washing instructions; if you find tops like these in vintage shops, I would be particularly careful when washing them because the fabrics can be delicate. Don’t be afraid to go for a bold pattern or any bright details and have fun with it.

How to Wear a Vintage-Inspired Tunic

Vintage Tunic Outfit

Product Information: Restricted Audry T-Strap Pumps – Lulu’s. Trixxi Pencil Skirt – Kohl’s. Slanted Metal Accent Tote – Forever 21. Marc by Marc Jacobs Resin Logo Cuff – ShopBop.

This outfit combines the flowy femininity of the ModCloth tunic with sleek professional pieces for a great outfit to wear to work or your internship. If it’s cold, you can throw a plain black cardigan on top and it will still look great and put together.

Pretty Plaid

Plaid Tops

Product Information: Tilt Plaid Cuff Top – Tilly’s. Line Dance Top – ModCloth. Generra Tunic – Bluefly.

Plaid tops are another trend that has been popping up everywhere. While they’re normally associated with “grunge”, plaid tops were actually a staple long before the 1990’s! These plaid tops would make a great addition to any chic college girl’s wardrobe, because they are incredibly versatile – wear them to class, on dates, to the movies, to dinner… anywhere!

It’s so easy to find great plaid tops in vintage stores and especially thrift stores, meaning you can find them for super cheap!

Just make sure to get a top in the correct size – you’ll find plenty of extra-large button up plaid shirts, which can be fun, but for a timeless appeal, aim for more tailored silhouettes. To achieve this, make sure the fit and length are good for your body type and pay attention to any detailing. Keep your eyes peeled for mock neck tops or anything with a defined waist. And again, be careful with washing the garment.

How to Wear a Plaid Top

How to wear a plaid top

Product Information: Hawthorne Pumps – Lacey Cable Tweed Cardigan – Delias. Morgan Low-rise Skinny Jeans in Turkish Coffee – Delias. Patent Shoulder Bag – Vintage Fuchsia Button Earrings –

My favorite thing about this Generra top was the color scheme: it would work well with browns and burnt oranges, deep reds, or even a few emerald green accent pieces – so versatile! I chose a dark red and brown color scheme, because these are my favorite colors for fall.

Tell Me What You Think!

What do you think of these 1970s-inspired tops? Do you like the outfit suggestions? What would you change? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Posted on on September 19, 2009 / Filed Under: Shopping / Tags: , , , , , ,

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18 Responses to “Vintage-Inspired Fashion: 3 Groovy 1970’s Tops”

  1. 1
    September 19th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I know I definitely love plaid, it has become a staple in my wardrobe now :) My question is how to wear a tunic with skinny jeans and not look top heavy or swamped by the shirt? :D

  2. 2
    September 19th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    some great suggestions on here! i’m just not sure i could wear a tunic with a pencil skirt? i feel like the two will counteract eachother and create a weird look. i’d go for a skinny or straight leg trouser instead. but great post! :)

  3. 3
    September 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Giselle – you could definitely got with a skinny jeans or trousers! In using a pencil skirt, I was going for the same kind of look: sleek on the bottom, slightly voluminous on the top.

    Abbie – make sure the tunic hits you at the right spot… if it’s too long, you’ll look swamped. :)

  4. 4
    September 19th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I think I’m likeing the fringe vest funnily enough. Something about it really draws to me. Maybe I’ll try one on when I next go shopping.

  5. 5
    September 19th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I love all of the example outfits! I really want a fringe vest haha =)

  6. 6
    September 19th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I love plaid shirts but have such a hard time finding ones that fit me. I have a large chest and the only ones that fit my chest are 2 sizes too big making the rest of the shirt look ridiculous. Do you have any suggestions on how to find a plaid shirt that would fit right?

  7. 7
    September 19th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Kristina – Thank you! I’m glad you like them. It took a while for me to like fringe vests, but I definitely think I’ll be looking for one.

    Jen – don’t be afraid to buy cheap and then get it tailored! Buy what fits your chest because a tailor can always take in at the shoulder and waist and that shirt will fit you perfectly! You can usually find tailors by searching on google or yahoo with your town/cities name (be sure to read any reviews!) But if you’re hesitant about finding a tailor, still buy what fits your chest and then throw on a belt – you will look super chic. :)

  8. 8
    September 19th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Plaids and tunics=yay!

    Fringe vests…..


  9. 9
    September 19th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Well, you COULD dress like it’s the 70’s again…but why? While none of these are bad looks, I don’t think any of them are cute enough to be consciously revived, either. Also, all of these outfits seem a little typical and boring, like something you would see in a catalog, not a magazine or tv show or a runway. Usually CF shows more original outfits. They’re cute, but not terribly inventive. Maybe that’s just me, though, so no offense, please.

  10. 10
    September 19th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Cara – I appreciate your opinion! I’m sorry the outfits seem boring – I’m operating from my perspective, obviously, and I tend to dress a little more on the conservative side! I like to think I’m providing blank slate options that people can take ideas from, while adding their own twist. But I definitely appreciate your feedback and if you have any suggestions for what you would like to see from outfits, let me know! :)

  11. 11
    September 19th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I really liked the outfits! The first one was my favorite :) From all the trends, I’ll be looking for a fringed vest :)

  12. 12
    September 20th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Oh, I truly wish you hadn’t shown me that Dorothy Perkins. Now I’m longing to make it my own! :)

  13. 13
    September 20th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    These are really cute but really not me, Im pretty preppy but after recently investing in a boyfriend blazer i would LOVE for you to do a post on how to work a boyfriend blazer, really casual, smart yet casual, smart, party and dressy lol so many different wayss!
    Thanks i would really appreciate for you to make a post like this, and im sure others would too.

    xx H

  14. 14
    September 20th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Holly – here is a great post Zephyr wrote about jackets for fall, that includes boyfriend blazers: There are no outfit suggestions, but I will definitely look into it! :)

    Cafe Fashionista – The Dorothy Perkins was my favorite too!!

  15. 15
    September 20th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Great, I love this post! Those fringe vests are dee-lish, I must try getting my hands on them. And I love plaid- those tops featured on there are awesome- especially the Modcloth one; I’ve been looking for something like that.
    I’m not sure the tunic is such a great idea with the pencil skirt though… maybe it’d look better tucked in?

  16. 16
    September 23rd, 2009 at 2:17 am

    These are really nice dresses. I am completely in love with the costume trends of 70s. Most of us will agree that 1970s were marked for music and cultural riches. Apart from this, there were the costumes that set the trend for the coming decades. These trends still have their presence in the fashion industry as well as in the heart of the general public. Let us relive the era once again.

  17. 17
    November 5th, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Am I the only one who is sick to death of “skinny jeans?” (I’m thin enough to wear them, so this isn’t just sour grapes on my part.) I’m so tired of this trend that lately I’ve found myself searching the internet for the opposite extreme, ultra-wide leg 1990s-style JNCOs. I’m feeling rebellious.

  18. 18
    July 9th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I need tunics in my wardrobe. They are so colorful yet bring out a 70’s vibe which is so me.

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