The American Biba Dolly Look of 1972

Style: Five Easy Pieces

In the early 1970s, there was a brief period of time when the so-called Dolly look was the trend in the USA. Based on the Biba look that was all the rage in England, it never quite took the hold that it held across the pond. It was a really stunning vintage ’30s/’40s look, but probably more suited to the Brits than it was to us Yanks.

This is a great fashion editorial from the October 1971 issue of Ingenue magazine. What’s interesting is that they are forecasting the look for Fall of ’72. No specific brands or labels are listed, just merely style suggestions. They even suggest shopping at thrift stores to find the look (so 2018)!

The five pieces are: 1.) A long and lean blazer with wide lapels, worn with the tiniest pleated skirt and ankle-strap platforms. 2.) A soft fluid easy dress with a little print and big puffed sleeves. Worn with platform heels and colorful stockings. 3.) The upturned hat is the head shape. Pure ’40s nostalgia. Add delightful ditties like cherries or velvet ribbon the the brim. 4.) The warm, snug, tailored wrap coat. In camel with wide shoulders, huge collar and hip pockets – it’s Garbo! Absolutely dashing with long scarf trailing! 5.) The Chubby. Flamboyant as its name! Elegant over a long dress, super stylish even with your jeans. (Thrift stores were where you were supposed to find chubbies in 1971.)

What’s interesting is if you find any of these vintage ’70s styles at the thrifts now, they could be mistaken for ’30s or ’40s fashions. A quick look at the label or fabric tag will give you a clue as to what era it actually is from.


The Ultimate In Vintage 70s Decorated Jeans!

Absolutely the ultimate in jeans, created by Linda Sampson.

The March 1971 issue of Ingenue magazine featured this incredible pair of decorated blue jeans. These one-of-a-kind jeans were created by Linda Sampson, a young New Yorker who designed and created in her spare time. She took a pair of well-aged dungarees, covered them with a fairy-tale fantasy of applique and embroidery and turned them into a work of art. Reaction to these decorated jeans was so positive that Linda took them to a well-know New York boutique. They immediately ordered a pair to sell at $250! (That would convert to $1,575.04 in today’s buying power.)

Decorating denim jeans was a groovy DIY crafting trend in the late 60s/early 70s. I remember embroidering my Levis jeans with daisies and peace signs. I also sewed an inset of colorful fabric at outside seam hem. My only regret was that I DID NOT SAVE MY JEANS. They would probably be worth a fortune now. Live and learn!



Make Your Own 1971 Tie-Dye Abstract Painting!

It’s an original “me”. I tie-dyed it with Rit!

Tie-dying was really hot in the 70s, with the hippie/boho vibe going strong. Most of tie-dying was for T-shirts, clothing, and the occasional pair of socks. But Rit Dye pounced on the tie-dye craze to show that you could do other types of groovy DIY projects. This ad, from 1971, shows how a “grande artiste” like you could make your own original abstract tie-dye painting.

How to tie-dye your original.

How to tie-dye your original:

MATERIALS: 4 foot square of white 100% cotton sail cloth. Rit liquid (or powder) Purple, Fuchsia, Kelly Green Dyes. Rubber Gloves, eye dropper or squeeze bottle. Rubber Bands. Two shallow pans. Launder fabric, lay out flat and tie while damp.

  • 1. Make 8 big donut knots in fabric, at random, and secure each tightly with a rubber band. (follow diagrams A, B and C. – in photo above.)
  • 2. With eye dropper or squeeze bottle, squeeze undiluted Liquid Kelly Green (or concentrated powder dye solution) into center and around tied area of each knot.
  • 3. Loosely tie donuts together (Diagram D.)
  • 4. Prepare Purple dye solution (1/4 cup liquid dye or 1/2 package powder dye) into one quart hot tap water. Heat to simmering temperature.
  • 5. Place tied fabric, donut knot side down, into dye solution so that dye comes up to band securing donuts.
  • 6. Simmer for 30 minutes. Rinse while still tied.
  • 7. Prepare Fuchsia dye solution (see step 4 above).
  • 8. Place fabric in dye solution, donut knot side up, so that dye just reaches band-securing knots. (Donuts are not in dye.)
  • 9. Simmer 30 minutes. Rinse while still tied.
  • 10. Remove all rubber bands. Rinse again under cool running water until rinse water runs clear. Squeeze out excess moisture. Iron while damp.

Have fun doing this great retro artwork project! 🙂


1971 ‘TEEN Magazine Half ‘n’ Half Cover Model Look

March 1971 ‘TEEN Magazine Half ‘n’ Half Cover Girl

This is one of the most notorious ‘Teen magazine covers, which today seems rather quaint. Featuring Bonnie as the model – apparently last names were not used – for a “split personality” look.

‘TEEN begged the question: “Do blondes have HALF as much fun as redheads? Do redheads have HALF as much fun as blondes? Are green eyes HALF as appealing as blue? Are blue eyes HALF as interesting as green?” Deep, deep questions to ponder…

Did ‘TEEN really split Bonnie’s look? No. It was achieved through a “complicated retouching process” by professional photographers, with the technology that was available at the time. It is a striking photo, however; one that has stayed in my memory since I first got the issue in 1971.


Those Vintage ’70s Wide-Leg Denim Jeans

Landlubber Jeans, Seventeen Magazine, August 1975

This is a great Landlubber ad that shows just how huge jeans were in 1975. I mean literally huge! Very wide-legged all the way down, not just below the knee like bell-bottoms. There was no such thing as lighter-weight stretch denim – as I remember, in the ’70s – so I am sure these jeans were thick 100% cotton.  A lot of material and weight. When I run across vintage denim these days, I am struck by how heavy the jeans were.

I definitely wore these because that was the style. I was one to keep up with all the trends. Luckily I was tall and thin, so I think they looked okay (of course most things look cute when you’re 19). The trick was to wear a close-fitting top as not to be overwhelmed in sheer volume. I’ve reversed this style since then. Today I prefer skinny/slim jeans with a looser style top. It’s all about balance!

~Marilyn 🙂

The Original 1975 Frye Boots

Frye Boots – Seventeen, August 1975

The iconic Frye Boot, as we know it, made its fashion debut in 1975. Super chunky and sturdy, it fit right in with the mid-70s earthy ‘back to the land’ vibe. The collegiate-style Campus Boot became an all-American symbol of rebellion and freedom.  Soon everyone was clunking around in Frye boots, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Frye boots were benchcrafted exclusively in the USA by John A. Frye Shoe Co., Inc. Marlboro, Massachusetts. A quick look at their website shows that a good number of their classic boots are still made in the USA. They’ve added a trendier line that is made in Italy, which is cool. Nice to see that their classic style and quality still remains!