Clothing styles and fabrics of the 70s weren’t always the most flattering, unless you were a certain body type – a.k.a. skinny!
70s Jumpsuits, which were most popular during the last five years of the decade, were one of those fashion trends that perhaps were better left unworn by those who carried a little extra body weight, though they managed to look quite sexy on the right person.
The 70s jumpsuits were a one-piece outfit that joins the top and bottom together. They were first associated with the military and with certain sports. The jumpsuits that were popular in the 70s, however, tended to have a rather futuristic look about them because they were influenced by the jumpsuits worn by actors in popular shows like Star Trek, The Jetsons, or a host of other science fiction TV shows and movies.
70s jumpsuits came in a variety of different styles. Those meant for “dress-up” were usually made of shiny, silky fabrics and were probably decorated with a few baubles or may have included a fancy belt that was worn around the waist.
70s jumpsuits might have buttoned up the front or may have had a zipper instead, and sometimes the waist included some elastic to cinch it in a bit.
During the day, jumpsuits were acceptable as well but weren’t made from fabrics that were quite as flamboyant as those worn in the evening. Denim, cotton, or some sort of stretch fabric was the norm for daywear jumpsuits and they could be found in prints or solid colors.
But though jumpsuits could be seen on Americans any time of day, they remained most popular inside the 1970s many disco clubs. Usually worn with platform shoes – the funkier the better – disco jumpsuits were often white and tight, just perfect to show off the gyrations of this music type.
John Travolta wore his share of jumpsuits as did popular disco musical groups like the Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, and even the Jacksons.
Musicians and celebrities outside of the disco realm caught on to the jumpsuit craze as well. Elvis Presley loved them – he owned dozens – and it wasn’t unusual to spy them on other singers like Mick Jagger or Freddy Mercury.
Farrah Fawcett and the other Charlie’s Angels wore them often as did other popular female personalities of the 70s. They were also popular in the so-called Blaxploitation movies of the era, like Shaft and other films designed to attract the black urban population.
The biggest problem with the 70s jumpsuits, however, was the fact that they truly only looked good on a limited number of people. Anyone with a little extra stomach fat or chubby legs generally didn’t look so hot in a jumpsuit.
Furthermore, the more the jumpsuit was washed the more it tended to shrink, making a good fit quite difficult since the bottom and top were attached together. Generally, mainstream America didn’t seem to mourn the passing of the jumpsuit when the 70s fad ended.