The '70s Denim Style Looks That Still Feel Fresh Today

Add them to your mood board.

by Dale Arden Chong, Valerie Stepanova and Brittany Leitner
Originally Published: 
These '70s denim looks are still fresh for 2022.

With enough time, trends — much like history — will repeat themselves. Some may fade to the background only to return five years later, while others might be so far beneath the surface that it’s a complete surprise when they become the next It trend of the moment. However, if there’s one area of fashion that seems to be the sartorial vault that keeps on giving, it’s ‘70s denim styles. Of course, it wasn’t just the different types of denim that came out of the decade, but how they were styled that's important to note (and emulate).

The decade of disco and rock n’ roll became one of free movement, leading to an uptick in flowing silhouettes like bell bottoms and wide legs. That said, for every flared-leg option out there, one was also presented with a straight-leg style worth wearing, whether it was the focus of an outfit or not. Since their heyday, these two specific looks stepped out of the limelight as more fitted ones (hello, skinny jeans) took their place. But now, they’re back and thriving.

If you haven’t had the chance to get yourself acquainted with vintage-inspired jean silhouettes, styling them might be on the daunting side. Thankfully, there are plenty of photos of expertly-styled ‘70s denim that could help you get started. Scroll down to check out some fashion-forward denim looks that still hold up today.

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Patchwork & Cropped Knitwear

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Lean into both the ‘70s aesthetic and the 2021 craftcore trend with a pair of patchwork jeans like the ones above, which were worn by a disco dancer circa 1974. Pair it with a cropped knit top for a cozy yet party-ready look.

Bootcut Jeans & Graphic Tee

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For a casual look that still channels ‘70s vibes, opt for an easy white graphic tee. The top pairs so well with deep blue bootcut jeans.

Menswear-Inspired Suspenders

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If you’re a tomboy at heart, suspenders are a nostalgic item you should get ASAP. Throw on a crewneck, a pair of mixed-denim patchwork jeans, and you’re good to go! (You can also channel your quirky side by slipping into a pair of roller skates, if you are so inclined.)

Cuffed Jeans & Fuzzy Topper

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While bootcut and flared jeans were definitely a favorite during the disco era, cuffed styles still have a place in ‘70s denim-adjacent fashion. Roll up your favorite straight-leg jeans and top them off with a fuzzy cardigan for a fall-appropriate retro look.

Flared Jeans & Tie-Front Top

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Embrace the disco spirit of the ‘70s by pairing a trendy tie-front top with flared jeans. Opt for a pair that fits snug around the thighs, as that particular silhouette will add a sleek touch to the look.

Ripped Tank & Heels

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A ripped tank, paired with jeans, will keep you cool while heels dress up your look. Head to your nearest rooftop bar or dive spot to dance the night away.

A Lace Camisole & Blue Jeans

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For a more bohemian approach to styling your jeans, opt for a spaghetti strap camisole with lace trim.

A Metallic Jacket & Jeans

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Just in case you're looking for a French girl-approved way to stand out, Jane Birkin's metallic jacket paired with dark-wash bell bottoms will be the inspiration you need to make a statement.

Cardigan, Turtleneck, & Clogs

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When you want an ensemble that's on the cozier side, style a cardigan with your jeans. Then, finish your look with a pair of slip-on clogs like those spotted on Angela Davis.

Quilted Jacket & Scarf

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Want a look fit for a royal? Pair your jeans with a quilted jacket and a neck scarf.

Denim-On-Denim Outfit

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There's something about pairing a denim jacket with your jeans that feels casually chic, especially when they're in the same wash. Complete the look with a simple leather bag.

Jeans & A Cotton Tank

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When in doubt, a classic white tank will go with your jeans, regardless of cut. Keep your ensemble on the minimal side with dainty jewelry and a low-key beauty look.

Colorful Turtleneck

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If your jeans have specific details that put them on the statement-making side of styles, wear them with a simple piece on top like a turtleneck sweater.

A Fitted Turtleneck Top & Jeans

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One of Gloria Steinem's most iconic looks featured a pair of dark jeans, a fitted turtleneck tucked in, and a wide leather belt color-coordinated to her shirt. If you want to create a modern version of her outfit, style a fitted long-sleeve top or bodysuit with your flared jeans.

Printed Blouse & Blazer

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Printed blouses were everywhere during the '70s, and they paired well with tailored bell bottom jeans. Recreate Jane Fonda's layered look with a similar blouse and a boxy blazer.

Classic Blazer & Platforms

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Want a more classic take on the blazer-and-jeans combination? Style an oversized black blazer with flared jeans and platform heels.

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