Those Funky 1971 Fashion Fads: Hot Pants and Knickers

1971 was the year for quirky clothing fads, however fleeting they may have been. A look through the August 1971 issue of Seventeen magazine proved my point, as it was teeming with all sorts of (AHEM!) interesting styles. Brights! Knits! Hot Pants! Maxi Dresses! Knickers! Funky Boots and Shoes!

I am quite certain that these fads, thankfully, lasted only a year. I was a high school sophomore in 1971 and I do remember actually wearing a pair of hot pants that my mom had sewn for me. My friend Judy and I wore our hot pants on our high school orchestra trip to Victoria, B.C., Canada. I’m sure a pair of high platform shoes was involved as well. We were strutting our 15-year-old skinny selves down the street and people were staring, pointing, and a group of guys was yelling and catcalling from their hotel window. Gawd, I was positively mortified. Even though I had worn mini skirts for years, there is something about hot pants that’s so exposing. Pretty sure Judy and I hightailed it back to our hotel and slipped into something more comfortable, like Levis jeans. I will swear on a stack of bibles that I never ever wore a pair of knickers though. That was one ridiculous style that even I, Miss 70s Fashion Diva, did not wear. 🙂

Vintage 1971 Charlie's Girls Hot Pants KnickersThis ad for Charlie’s Girls clothing says it all: bright colors, bold designs, hot pants, and knickers (with boots).

Vintage 1971 Peter Max Wrangler JeansPeter Max designed some pretty groovy jeans and tops for Wrangler, all splashy colored and patched-pocketed. The jeans were $8, and the coordinating tops were $6 and $7.

Vintage 1971 Samsonite Bobbie Brooks KnickersSamsonite got into the action – even the luggage was brightly colored. Hot pink suitcases coordinated with Bobbie Brooks purple jacquard knit knickers, sweater vest, hat, and fringed purple suede boots.

Vintage 1971 Pandora Hot Pants Maxi DressDouble knits were extremely popular. This Pandora “Liberation Knits!” hot pants and jacket combo, and maxi dress were all made of that “Freedom Blend”. Tall suede boots, of course.

Vintage 1971 Bass Tacks shoes, funky fashionsThis ad was for Bass Tacks shoes and boots, but the fashions are what caught my eye. The girl is in knickers and a funky belt and hat. The guy on the left is wearing rolled up jeans with some cool-looking bleached design in it. The guy on the right is wearing his tight jeans tucked into his tall lace-up aviator boots, red plaid shirt, and a super quirky crocheted vest that is a wonder to behold.

Vintage 1971 Hewlett sweater hot pants setThen you had the sweater hot pants sets from Hewlett. Talk about clingy! Worn with brightly colored tights and tall suede boots, you were set for the winter scene. I’m certain this was the last we saw of hot pants. Thank goodness.


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