ANYONE WHO FOLLOWS fashion knows that the mood of the moment is the funky, liberated spirit of the 1970s. Designers on both the high (Valentino, Gucci, and Saint Laurent, to name a few) and low end of the market have created collections for a new kind of groovy girl: the “haute hippie,” who defies conventions and dresses in flowing silhouettes, artisanal details, flared bottoms and sky-high platforms. Unsurprisingly, this look-at-me approach to dressing is not for everyone, but even if your vibe is more “Coach” then “Coachella,” certain key pieces may be worth adding to your wardrobe if you want to be on point this season. Note: The looks above come from sources where a haute hippie with deep fringed leather pockets might shop, but also from retailers, including Cusp, Intermix and H&M, where a wallet watcher can find lower priced, but equally appealing, versions.
One of the easiest ways to add a pop of ’70s to your wardrobe is a bag with a touch of fringe, whether that bag is a tote, a shoulder bag or a clutch. Fringe screams ’70s, but if worn strategically, i.e., on an accessory versus, say, a suede jacket or skirt, the message is chic versus fashion victim.
Possibly the most comfortable, versatile top in design history, the peasant blouse should be a welcome addition to any woman’s wardrobe. With its ample, billowing dimensions and endless possibilities for embellishment – either via artisanal detail or textured and/or patterned fabric, you just can’t go wrong with one of these. It can either be dressed up – with skinny jeans and high heels, for example, or down – with boyfriend jeans and flat gladiator sandals. The key is not to go too large with the sizing. It should look relaxed, but not like a tent that you might relax in.
High-Rise Flared Jean
Admittedly, incorporating this piece into your wardrobe requires some caution and a big dose of self-confidence. The upsides are that the higher waist is comfortable and will allow you to show off your waist, and the pant itself will make your legs look longer, provided that you are wearing the appropriate footwear. The downside is that the look really works best with elevated heels (i.e. platforms – see below) and tucked in blouses, so if you are having one of those days where you want to channel “hipster” but don’t actually want to show off your hips, stick with the boyfriend jean and peasant top. Choosing a pair in black or dark denim to wear with a sophisticated blouse is a great middle-of-the-road solution – it references that ’70s vibe while keeping it classy.
Bohemian Statement Dress
What makes a bohemian dress a “statement” is not its tailoring, color or fabric, but rather its lack of tailoring, multitude of coloring, and in some cases, patchwork of fabrics. Dresses like these work best in casual settings and look great with flat sandals, but they can easily be dressed up for a smart night on the town by switching out the flats for heels, and adding a moderate amount of bling. Moderation is key, however, since this style of dress is intended to pack a powerful optical punch on its own.
Platform and the Gladiator
Platforms are all the rage this season, but they are not the most comfortable, or least hazardous, heels to wear if you intend to walk further than from the car to your table in a restaurant. A pair of platform shoes with a wedge heel is a great variation of the theme, because you get the height and the ’70s nod without jeopardizing stability. The wedge is also flattering in a way that the platform shoe, with its heavy sole and heel, is not.
Gladiators have also made a big comeback – in a variety of heel and shank heights and shapes. The easiest versions to wear are the flat ones as they can easily be paired with everything from classic summer styles to the trendier looks described above. The versions with higher heels or laces up to the knee require more of a commitment to the trend.
Sylvia Colella blogs about fashion and lifestyle-related subjects. A former Parisienne, she is obsessed with all things chic and glamorous.