Say cheese! 70s outfits for girls like these recall a painful sort of nostalgia
Bell-bottom jeans were everywhere, flared and hard to navigate, especially for kids, but there was no escaping them. Loud patterns (stripes, plaid, gingham, polka dots and more) were the order of the day.
These dizzying prints — which were, of course, in the brightest of colors — haven’t aged well, standing out starkly in family albums and offering a vivid flashback to a less subtle time.
Polyester, one of the dominant fabrics of the era (denim, corduroy and seersucker were other, less offensive, options), showed no mercy. Whether it was an everyday shirt or special-occasion dress, this fabric was way more prevalent than it should have been for anyone under the age of 70.
This unfortunate fabric was a frequent, and very unwelcome, staticky guest in the closets of girls in the 1970s. While the texture of polyester was not all that comfortable for kids, you could see how its stretchiness and easy care made it an attractive play clothes option for the adults in charge.
And let’s not forget the dresses, maxis were in (a favorite for dressy occasions!), but so were extremely short dresses — so short they often need to be paired with matching bloomers. And remember all the quaint smocking and rickrack trim on dresses, as well as those disproportionately long, pointy collars on the blouses?
Add jumpers, pantsuits, and the dreaded bodysuits to the mix, and the 70s outfits for girls were a fashion fails kaleidoscope. Comfort was compromised, and style was often questionable.
Looking back, these trends bring a mix of laughter and possibly even mild generational trauma, serving as reminders of a peculiar era that will forever haunt the pages of old yearbooks and photo albums from this decade. Below, check out nearly 200 retro clothing styles we’re glad to have in the rearview mirror.
70s clothes for girls: Moms will think their girls are cute in everything
From the Longview News-Journal (Longview, Texas) – March 18, 1973
Will mothers think their kids are cutest in pique dots and pique plaids?… Or in prints with rabbits, bears, carrots, castles, squirrels, mushrooms, and pears?… Or in brushed denim bottoms with cowboy tops?…
Or in ice cream colors? Porcelain colors? Country kitchen colors?… Or in crinkly plaids, mosaic plaids, glen plaids, tartan plaids, corded plaids? Or ginghams, seersuckers, corduroys and knits, all in carefree polyester and cotton? Mothers will think their kids are cutest in everything that’s new for Spring ’73.
Vintage chambray denim bell bottoms and outfits for girls
Vintage plaid pants – bell bottom jeans and other 70s outfits for girls in red white and blue
Vintage 70s school clothes for girls in spring colors with floral patterns and embroidery
Retro striped and solid tops for girls and western-style jeans from the 70s
One-piece skirt & top look for girls (early 70s)
70s outfits for girls: Bikini-cut jeans and jean skirts plus peasant-style tops
Denim outfits for girls from 1977
Peasant look and halter dress plus smock-style dresses
Dresses for girls from the 1973 JC Penney catalog
70s outfits for girls: Gingham-checked dresses and smock and pants set – plus hairbows
Cute retro dresses for little girls – nautical and lace plus floral prints and patterns
70s ruffled dresses and dresses with aprons for little girls
Cuffed flares – retro 70s pants for girls
70s outfits for girls: Denim and pastel separates – flowery tops – palazzo pants and plaid blazers
70s clothes for girls: Retro JrHi smocks and tops plus high-fashion trousers and jeans for teenagers
Polyester knit 70s clothing for girls
Retro 70s sportswear for girls
Tank tops and terry shortalls plus patch pocket jeans
70s shortalls and bodysuits with skirts – plus smock-top pants set
Zipper-front knit tops and fringe-trimmed ponchos
Dressy jackets and capes for girls – blazers and coats for boys
Vintage casual clothes for girls: Gingham checks and puffed-sleeve smocks
Vintage easy-care leisure wear for little girls
Flare pants and peasant-style tops
70s outfits for girls: Springtime frocks plus dresses and jackets or pants
70s outerwear for girls
Retro spring raincoats for girls – plus capes and rain sets
’70s clothes for girls: She’s all girl at heart
Article from The News Leader (Staunton, Virginia) – March 18, 1973
Who’s the little girl batting home runs on the neighborhood team; sharing her dreams with Raggedy Ann; forming a clubhouse called “Girls Only!”?
It’s the same little girl who asks for a bedtime story, cuddles with Dad in his lounge chair and looks the prettiest at those happy birthday parties. She’s a daughter, granddaughter, niece, godchild — she’s everyone’s number one sweetheart.
Spiffy sport dresses flaunt her carefree spring feeling. Jean dresses can be worn over pants or on their own; baseball dresses take on, or off, short zippered jackets; and sleeveless sundresses may show off matching bloomers.
After the playground and schoolyard comes time for how-old-are-you-now parties. And, pretty dressy dresses come in many flavors. Packed with posies and soft ice cream plaids, the styles are yummy. The variety includes tunic shirtwaists with bow tie backs, full-skirted puffy sleeve dresses with peter pan collars and belts, smocked pinafores with ruffly icings.
Little misses are loyal to their navy blues and sailor whites, Middy collars and nautical emblems spark pinafores, short and long dresses and good classic blazers.
Gals are going all out for fresh costume looks. Smocks, baseball and short cropped jackets make it over cuffed pants. Blazers, classic and wraparound coats make it over one and two-piece dresses.
How do they make it? With windowpane, houndstooth and seersucker checks, floral and storybook prints, soft pastel plaids. Solids make it in cotton candy colors.
There’s a shirt tale to be told, and she tells it very well. Shirt jackets and shirt smocks in plaids, mixed plaids and checks put on a show of contrast breast pockets and collars, yokes, and the newest drawstring waists. Simple shirt shape.
Sweaters set the pace with long- or short-sleeve cardigans over shrinks, shrugs or pullovers. Dolman sleeves, super soft textures, powdered pastels and jacquard patterns make them deliciously tempting,
Pleats, flippy hemlines and goring send skirts skipping merrily to play on the shirt team. Pants pack plenty of pull in cuffed and pleated trousers, natural waistline and hip-slinging styles. Jeans for play — super skirted leg palazzos for party punch, that’s how she likes them.