It's often referred to as the decade that style forgot, yet strangely enough the fashion world is having very clear memories of the 1970s right now.
The credit (or blame, depending on your point of view) for this turn of sartorial events can, arguably, be laid squarely at the finely loafered feet of Alessandro Michele. With his long, lanky rock 'n' roll hair, Gucci's creative director wouldn't look entirely out of place in the Grateful Dead, so it's little surprise that, upon ascending to the Italian house's creative throne two years ago, Michele declared the seventies to be "the most powerful image, for me, of the brand".
And, perhaps taking note of Gucci's not inconsiderable sales resurgence under Michele, the rest of the fashion world is duly taking note and following suit. Of course, Gucci's Tom Ford period of the 1990s also looked to the seventies, but rather than that sexed up, Studio 54-style disco glamour, this season's '70s redux is an altogether different beast. The new look is more akin to a luxe, thrift shop aesthetic.
Shades of retro
To be fair, the '70s style resurgence has been bubbling under for a couple of seasons before Michele really blew the lid off the whole thing. What with the liberal application of skivvies on the runway along with the return of wider trouser legs, designers have been flirting with the decade for a while now. But with the retro genie out of the bottle, the trend is now in full flight. One of the quickest routes to getting that authentic, groovy vibe is by adopting the colour brown. Nothing says '70s quite like it, be it rich mocha, dark chocolate, paler tans or reddish, rusty hues.
The natural place for brown in most men's wardrobe tends to be in leather or suede (think shoes, belts, bags and jackets) but prepare to see more and more brown come through in pants, suits, shirts and tees. Don't count the colour out as a viable option for apparel – it's incredibly versatile, working back with most of the staple colours you already own (think navy, black, white, olive and grey) and makes a nice complements brighter, warm shades of red and orange.
Texture and detail
To fully buy into the whole '70s revival, however, don't stop at coffee coloured clothing. The key to really nailing it is to incorporate key stylistic references from the decade. Miuccia Prada has decided to snatch the baton picked up by Michele and really run with it, and hard. She's worked patch pockets, leather trim and piping, chunky lapels and tweed into her collection. There's even elevated versions of the kind of geeky sweaters one might buy at a jumble sale for Christmas in July dinner. And, yes, Mrs Prada has decreed that corduroy, a textile so inherently connected with the 'Me' decade, is back.
Essentially, seek out the kind of clothes you could feasibly picture being worn by someone's geography teacher and then add some freewheeling, bohemian details. Roberto Cavalli indulges in patchwork, fringing and velvet; Tom Ford's shearling jacket hits the mark; and Berluti's pale, patch pocket denim jacket has a wonderful future-retro feel. Heck, even Brioni, that bastion of classic tailoring, is serving up a field jacket, their modern update on the safari suit. For an easy entree into '70s style, go for a turtleneck or accessorise with a neckerchief.
Cool versus costume
There's always a very real risk with '70s-inspired dressing. There is a line between being on trend and looking like some poor sod who lost their bearings returning from a costume party. Mostly, it's all in the fit – this may seem like the opportune time to clear out the local op-shop. You may nab one or two great finds, but not many men can pull off head-to-toe vintage.
Generally you'll want to ensure there's a modern touch to the cut and styling, so keep shirting light and loose, and trousers relaxed to appropriately pay style tribute to the decade. A tight skivvy tucked into bellbottoms with platform shoes is probably embracing things a little too enthusiastically. Think less Greg Brady and more Billy Crudup in Almost Famous.
Can you dig it, man?
Check out the gallery above to see some of the best '70s vibe gear to get.