Soul Train has been a staple of TV since its inception in 1970, but it is never credited with influencing the way Black people dress. Although not as popular following the 80s, there were still trends that came out of the show that is apparent today.
One example is the “Afro” hairstyle, which was both popularized on television and emerged into the real world after being seen on Toni Basil’s “Mickey” video (1974). Another famous musical trend from the era, disco, inspired many facets of fashion.
The first style: Big Afros, neon colors, and bell-bottom pants
The 1970s were the era of disco fever. From the clothes on the runway to crazy house parties, fashion was at its most experimental. This era’s style is commonly dismissed as uninspired and uncreative, but it held a secret that has been forgotten over time: The Afro.
The Afro made an appearance in practically every era of African-American history, but it wasn’t until this era that it was deemed fashionable. As a cultural phenomenon, it started off as something that only black men wore; women would get teased for wearing their hair so long. However, by the end of the decade, Afros became mainstream.
Soul Train 70s Black Fashion: Black is beautiful
In the 1970s black fashion consisted of a long-sleeved, high-necked gown or a knee-length dress that often covered the arms. These clothing items were usually made from cotton, silk, synthetic fibers, and wool. In contrast to traditional white people’s fashion, these clothes were designed to cling to the body as much as possible. They also typically had intricate cuts and stitching. And according to some designers on Soul Train, the length of the sleeve could even go down to the elbow. These dresses were boxier than fitted; however, there weren’t any strapless bras. Some examples of
Soul Train 70s black fashion included the following:
A typical skirt, worn over leggings or tights. It would have either a slit at the bottom or no opening.
Dress tops that featured the V-shape cut, giving the impression of cleavage. It also utilized loose sleeves.
Long cardigans that matched those outfits perfectly. Cardigans came in various colors such as red, pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, gray, brown, beige, camel, burgundy, and light grey. Skirts with flared legs. This style originated after the “flare leg jeans” craze began.
Pantsuit or pants and blouse combos. Not only was this seamless outfit perfect for work, but they were also comfortable enough to wear while dancing. Uniqueness aside, many of these styles are still used today. Although not seen as frequently, the high necked gown is being revived within the trend industry. Plus, designers like Jilly Gee continue to create extravagant versions of the 70s look.
The 70s looked like a time of black empowerment as everything from street style to music became dominated by black performers. But there was one exception- Soul Train and its focus on African-American culture, specifically with clothes and fashion.