Vintage Photos That'll Take You Back To 70s

Though the 1970s was a half-century ago, there’s no doubt that the decade has left an indelible mark on the heart of American culture and life as we know it today. Whether we’re talking disco dancing, polyester suits, mushroom wallpaper, key parties, overgrown sideburns, glam rock, or bubblegum pop, it was an era when weird was wonderful, and conformity was for chumps. On that note, we’ve gathered some of the most nostalgia-inducing photos from the decade that time forgot. These snapshots into everyday life in the 70s will give anyone who lived through the era — or wish they had — some seriously funky flashbacks. Groovy!

Feathered hair

We can thank Farrah Fawcett of Charlie's Angels fame for making this layered hairdo synonymous with 70s style. The look dominated the decade so strongly that it spilled over into the early 80s. Feathered hair of any length was a genuinely unisex, universal hairstyle. John Travolta, Rob Lowe, and even prim Princess Diana rocked the look.

Model w/ feathered hair, 1970s.

Sesame Street

Though it was still brand new, Sesame Street was so popular that by the mid-70s, it was already an American institution. Carroll Spinney played both Big Bird and Oscar from the show's inception in 1969 until he died in 2019. You can see Oscar's true colors here. The grouch was originally orange.

Sesame Street Behind-the-Scenes Shoot

Women's lib

The women's liberation movement caught fire in the 1970s, and feminism finally went mainstream. People all over the world fought for equal rights, opportunities, and greater personal freedom for women. Here's a snapshot of Bella Abzug in the Women's Liberation Day parade in New York, on  February 2, 1970 — the 50th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the United States.

Liberation Parade

Shag carpets

Shag carpets were an eyesore. Not only were they dirt magnets, but they resembled the pelt of a skinned muppet. Still, for some reason, everyone was willing to overlook their heinousness for about a decade. Pinup model Jayne Mansfield loved the look so much she covered her entire bathroom in pink shag, including the walls, ceiling, and bathtub.


Tanning oil

In the 70s, tan skin was considered sexy, healthy, and youthful. Therefore, it was completely normal to baste yourself in baby oil and iodine and spend hours baking in the sun to build up the deepest bronze glow you could get. The 1950s through the 1980s was the golden age of tanning. Sunscreen with UVA blockers wasn't available until the 1990s.

Girls From Ipanema

Bell bottoms

Jeans and pants with flared bell-bottoms were a hippie holdover from the late 1960s that continued to be a fashion staple straight through the 1970s. Here, we can see an entire family sporting this ubiquitous trend. Once punk rock starting making its way into the mainstream in the late 70s, bell bottoms fell out of fashion, and skin-tight jeans squeezed their way onto the scene.


Dance crazes

The popularity of disco ushered in countless fad dances throughout the decade. Among the most memorable are The Carwash, The Hustle, The Running Man, The Robot, The Time Warp, The Electric Slide, and yes, The Y.M.C.A. Other lesser-known dances included The Bump, The Penguin, and The Tragedy.

Disco Dancing

Wood paneling

The 1970s was all about the looking natural, and what could be more natural than gluing synthetic veneer panels all over your walls? A bare wall was an insult to the eyes, so a high percentage of them got this treatment back in the day. Wood paneling has made a resurgence in recent years, but these days it's more likely to be shiplap or beadboard rather than fake wood grain fiberboard.

1970s SIX SMILING...

CB radio

Short for Citizen's Band Radio, CB radio allowed person-to-person voice communication over short distances. Because you could talk to just about anyone, it was the closest thing people in the 70s had to social media. Truckers were infamous for their use of CB radios to help fellow truckers keep updated on ever-changing road conditions.



Wanted to add someone to your contacts in the 1970s? Chances are you had a fancy Rolodex beside your rotary phone to keep track of everyone's phone number. If you didn't have one of these, you probably had a telephone index.

Bill and Solveig Bertka

Earth-toned appliances

Before there was avocado toast, there were avocado appliances. Dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines in warm autumnal tones were in just about every home in the 70s. The trend also took over toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. Besides avocado, popular color names included harvest wheat, goldenrod, burnt orange, and brown moss.


The Jackson 5

A young Michael Jackson, along with his brothers Tito, Jamie, Jermaine, and Randy, dominated the airwaves in the 70s with number one Motown hits like "ABC" and "I'll Be There" and "I Want You Back." Here's a snapshot of the Jackson 5 at the NAACP Image Awards in November 1970.

Jackson 5 At The 1970 Image Awards

Papasan chairs

Made of rattan, wood, or bamboo, Papasan chairs blended in seamlessly with the boho aesthetic of the era. They were cheap, comfy, and easy to move around, making them a 70s bachelor pad staple. The chair originated in South Asia and surged in popularity in the West after the Vietnam War. It gets its name from the honorary Japanese word for Father.

shutterstock_522078478 (1)


After polyester, macrame was probably the textile of the 1970s. Made with an easy knotting technique rather than intricate weaving or knitting, you could find it everywhere from bikinis to handbags to hanging plant holders. The artform might have serious 70s vibes, but it likely dates back to the 13th century.


Earth Day

Anyone who was born beyond 1980 likely went to school celebrating Earth Day, with a curriculum focused on simple ways of sustaining the planet, such as recycling. In 1970, Earth Day was just getting started. April 22, 1970 marked the first Earth Day celebration. Some New Yorkers took to rollerskating to demonstrate ways to avoid the pollution of automobiles.

First Earth Day

Punk subculture

On the opposite end of the music spectrum, to disco was punk, which was born in the early 70s. The angry anarchist anti-authoritarianism of the genre was a shocking step away from peaceful hippie rebelliousness. Here are some early examples of punk fashion on Tribeca Street in New York, years before the style went mainstream in the 1980s.

Punk Fashion Designers Wear Their Creations


Skateboarding culture exploded in popularity in the 70s, when California droughts resulted in an abundance of empty pools and young skateboarders everywhere suddenly had plenty of places to practice. The world-famous skateboarders we know today, including Tony Hawk, wouldn't exist if it weren't for 70s pool skating.



The 70s was the golden era of RVing. Whether you had a Winnebago or a Volkswagon bus, having freedom on wheels fit right in with the free-wheeling spirit of the decade. The first RV was actually introduced in about 1915, but it was little more than a car with a bed attached.


Oversized ties

When it came to guys and ties, the bigger, the better; bowties, neckties, and neckerchiefs came in clownish sizes and crazy patterns in the 70s, and everyone, including John Travolta, dug it. Right alongside the big tie trend was the no-tie trend, with chest hair and chains serving as the centerpiece instead.

John Travolta

The Fonz

In the 70s, everybody and their brother wanted to be Arthur Fonzarelli from the hit TV sitcom Happy Days. Not only was he a bonafide babe magnet, but he was too cool for school. Literally. The sitcom Happy Days, like the hit musical Grease, was a reflection of the 50s nostalgia boom in the 70s.

Happy Days
Peg, Heywise Staff

Article WriterPeg, Heywise Staff

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