A Look at New York's Iconic 1970s Street Style

Bob Richardson / Contributor

From Robert de Niro to Diane von Furstenburg, these fashion icons show us how New York street style was done in the 1970s.

New York City transformed in many ways throughout the 1970s. As the edges of the city were roughened by the consequences of debt, so were the people. Grit overcame the city––music and art and self-expression became as important as the need to survive. This, of course, included New York's street style.

With the building of the two tallest towers in the world, saving itself from bankruptcy, and the community surviving both physical and existential crises, New York City was reborn in the 70s, and its style reflected what it had been through. A range of personalities is reflected in even the most cursory reflection of fashion at the time––bell bottoms paired with metal band tees, ladies suit skirts hemmed rebelliously short, garish prints and some of the first real signs of gender fluidity in mainstream fashion.

There is a reason why no one can stop talking about—or wearing—New York City's 70s street style: it represents the individuality, resiliency, and motivation of New Yorkers at the time. Here, we pay our respects to the individuals who pioneered one of the most iconic eras of style, one that influences designers and design houses alike still today, in American history.

The Bell Bottom


Enthusiastic and resolute women marching down Fifth Avenue in New York City as a part of the Women's Equality March on August 26, 1970. John Olson / Contributor

The Shady Hat


Karen Graham modeling ensemble by Geoffrey Beene in 1973. Kourken Pakchanian / Contributor

The Wide Collar


Left: Robert De Niro in New York City in 1976. Right: Jeff Bridges in New York City in 1970. Michael Ochs Archives / Handout | Art Zelin / Contributor

Dots & Matching Prints


Left: Two models, standing and talking in New York City in 1973. Right: Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg walks down a sidewalk with her husband, Swiss baron Egon von Furstenberg in 1970. Susan Wood / Getty Images / Contributor | Kourken Pakchanian / Contributor

The High-waist Jean


Olivia Newton-John in Central Park in 1976. New York Daily News Archive / Contributor

White Fur & Status Attire


Left: Paulette Goddard and Andy Warhol at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1974. Right: Boxing fans arriving for Muhammad Ali vs. Oscar Bonauvena fight at Madison Square Garden in 1970. Ron Galella / Contributor |  Bill Ray / Contributor

The Statement Suit


 Boxing fans pose next to a Cadillac car outside of Madison Square Garden prior to a Mohammad Ali boxing match in 1970. Bill Ray / Contributor

The Fur Coat


Left: Two models walking in front of the Seagrams Building in New York City wearing fur coats. Right: A woman wearing a fur coat in New York City in 1975.  Kourken Pakchanian / Contributor |  Erika Stone / Contributor