BY MORGAN OLSEN
Now might be a good time to call Mom and Dad to see if they had the foresight to stash away their bell-bottoms, silk scarves and platform shoes from the '70s. If not, you won’t have to look far for disco-inspired fashion on the racks. Resale shops and major retailers such as Topshop, H&M and Zara alike are stocking up on bodysuits, bold patterns, flared pants and metallic everything for fall. And what better backdrop to showcase these loud trends than River North nightclub newcomer Disco (111 W. Hubbard St.), with its LED dance floor, faux fur-covered couches and cheeky cocktail menu? Just weeks after it opened its doors, we filled the space with sequins, silk and lotsa funk. Elizabeth Margulis, the Chicago stylist behind the shoot, explained how to wear the '70s this season.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, IT’S THE REALEST
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of disco-inspired fashion is the freedom to express yourself without worrying too much about matchy-matchy pieces and stiff style trends.
“The thing about '70s and disco is it was about being loud and vibrant and letting your freak flag fly,” Margulis said. “It was about expressing yourself with colors and eclectic pieces. I really wanted to showcase that. The more extravagant and colorful and glittery you could be, the better.”
Though the decade certainly has been rearing its colorful head in modern fashion for the past couple of years, consumer-level retailers are going hard on true '70s trends this season. For the photo shoot, Margulis looked off the runway to Topshop, Asos, J. Crew, Nasty Gal and more. She said she imagines the influence will stick around for the next year or two, and she hopes our generation can put its own spin on the unique era.
“People always think about bell-bottoms and flares and turtlenecks and overalls and peasant blouses,” she said. “But I think if you’re going to invest in something, go for a two-piece outfit so you can mix and match—like a cute top and wide-legged pants—and transition each piece into other outfits.”
Margulis showed up to the shoot with a rack full of huge floral patterns, plunging necklines, larger-than-life Lucite jewelry from Chicago designer Giselle Gatsby and faux fur jackets. For real-world shoppers, she recommends scanning stores for these key staples and seamlessly blending them into an everyday wardrobe.
While it’s easy to queue up a sexy silver bodysuit or sequined hood for a night out, incorporating these trends into work-friendly ensembles can prove to be a challenge. Margulis suggests turning to accessories for a more subtle look: Tie a geometric-print silk scarf on your bag, rock big, colorful sunglasses on the way into the office or wrap a chunky belt around that billowy dress.
Gentlemen, the '70s didn’t pass you by the first time around, and the second coming is no different. Bold patterned button-ups, colorful pants and textured separates will be popping up on your radar all season long. Margulis encourages men to look outside the comfort zone for slightly more feminine pieces.
“There are a lot of people who are really stepping back from the normalities and expressing themselves,” she said. “I’m seeing a lot of people who are letting their inner queens come out—even if they’re not queens. They’re allowing their diva sides to show.”
No matter how groovy you choose to go, Margulis said the key to pulling off the decade this fall is conviction. Channel your inner Farrah Fawcett or Mick Jagger and go forth.
“Don’t be scared to mix and match. In the ’70s—especially the disco era—you couldn’t go wrong with whatever you wanted to wear, however you wanted to wear it,” Margulis said. “You were proud. No matter what you were wearing, it was all about the confidence.”