’70s Shirt Styled 3 Ways (Without Looking Like “That ’70s Show”)

April 24th, 2012

a 1970s floral shirt styled three ways

1970s shirts remind me of one of my favorite sitcoms growing up, That ’70s Show.

Jackie, Donna and Laurie were the lead gals of the period show set in the 1970s and styled head-to-toe in ’70s clothing, including funky patterned shirts, maxi dresses, stripey jumpsuits, high-waisted shorts and lots of layered denim!

While women were still expected to wear dresses, nylons and heels in the 1960s, as the ’70s era progressed a lady was more often seen wearing weekend sportswear for the everyday, including printed button-up shirts and colorful ascot blouses with skirts, pants and jackets.

In the ’70s teenagers of both sexes could freely wear denim to school (it was still looked down upon until the late ’60s) and this liberation of casual style made cotton shirts a staple in the wardrobe’s of young men and women across America.

While the styling of That ’70s Show looked quintessential ’70s, when wearing a vintage shirt from the era you don’t have to look like a suburban teenager circa 1976.

Keep reading after the jump to see how photographer and ’20s fashion aficionado Sheila of Modern Day Flapper proves just that, styling a ’70s floral sleeveless shirt 3 unique ways for seventies-inspired style that’s comfy, chic and cool! 

The 1970s is such a great era to channel into your modern vintage style because many of the trends then have influenced the trends of today. 

So whether you thrift store shop a ’70s shirt or grab your own standout piece from an online vintage seller, add a little bit of That ’70s Style into your wardrobe this spring/summer season!

Which of Sheila’s outfits do you like best? Do you own a shirt from the ’70s that you love?

Let me know by leaving a comment below the post! 

xx, SD


Sleeveless Floral ’70s Shirt

1970s button-up collared shirt with floral design

Buy this button-up floral sleeveless ’70s shirt on Etsy, $36

 The shirt Sheila chose to style isn’t just any shirt from the ’70s.

It’s actually a very ’40s-’50s inspired top because of its all-over funky floral pattern, which reminds me of the novelty print craze popular during those eras. Plus, you can unbutton and tie the top at your naval for a pin-up inspired look (see look #3 for the midriff-baring proof!).

While casual enough to wear with high-waisted denim for summer music festivals and BBQs, when worn with a pair of preppy pants the top’s buttons and collar give it a dressed-up feel that’ll please your grandparents at Sunday dinner.

’70s Shirt for High-Waisted Hotness

modern day flapper styled a 1970s sleeveless shirt with high waisted denim

modern day flapper styled a 1970s sleeveless floral shirt with a pair of high waisted denim from american apparel

vintage belt styled with high waisted denim and a 1970s floral shirt

Outfit: Shorts – American Apparel / Belt – Vintage / Boots – Vintage

MODERN DAY FLAPPER says: This is a great summer look. It’s easy to find these collared tanks at thrift stores or by searching for ’70s sleeveless shirt on Etsy.

You can easily tuck them into some high-waisted shorts or a skirt, top it with a leather belt and some boots or flats and off you go for a great summer’s day.

I wore a similar outfit to Lollapolooza last summer that was super comfortable and stylish for my long day in the sun!

SAMMY DAVIS VINTAGE says: Before commenting on your great pairing of a ’70s top with high-waisted shorts, I must say how super awesome it was that you went to Lollapolooza last summer. It’s a dream of mine to spend a summer touring the music festivals like a vintage lovin’ groupie. Almost Famous, here I come!

This look is coordinated perfectly thanks to how the blue in the floral design of your ’70s shirt matches the blue of the American Apparel shorts. I’m a sucker for matching, as I think it’s every woman’s go-to strategy for smart style without having to think too hard.

I look forward to hearing how you rock this look at your next summer musical adventure, Miss Flapper!

’70s Shirt for Rugged Relaxation

photographer modern day flapper styled a 1970s floral shirt with a denim jacket, skinny jeans and vintage brim hat

photographer modern flapper styled a 1970s floral shirt

photographer modern day flapper wears a vintage men's hat

Outfit: Denim Jacket – Old Navy / Jeans Tripp NYC / Hat – Vintage / Boots – Vintage

MODERN DAY FLAPPER says: Where I’m from, you never know when the weather will make a sudden turn on you. So, I always have a jacket or sweater on hand and if it feels too hot, I can always take it off.

I added a vintage hat to pull the outfit together – super stylish and super easy!

SAMMY DAVIS VINTAGE says: Definitely super stylish and super easy! Light denim layered on floral is a lovely pairing and an idea I’m noting for future inspiration when standing in front of my closet, musing on what to wear!

I see it done often and its worth commenting on now: The contrast of light on dark denim is such a smart way of wearing jeans head to toe in style.

The vintage hat hardly even looks vintage, as I’ve definitely seen lookalikes in Urban and American Apparel. Its sweet sienna shade goes beautifully with your milky complexion and dark hair — never give this one up!

’70s Shirt for Pin-Up Pizzazz

1970s floral shirt styled as a pin-up crop top

photographer modern flapper wearing a 1970s floral shirt styled like a crop top

1970s floral shirt styled into a pin-up crop top above the naval

Outfit: Jeans – Tripp NYC / Boots – Vintage

MODERN DAY FLAPPER says: I was inspired by classic 1940s and 1950s pinup looks when styling this outfit.

It’s an easy look to pull off with just a collared tank like mine that has buttons. While wearing the shirt, simply undo the last two buttons to tie the loose ends into a knot directly above your naval.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a cute 50’s style crop top that’s perfect for those really hot days. You can wear this with jeans, shorts or a skirt.

This outfit makes me feel particularly feminine and sexy and makes me want to do some more abwork!

SAMMY DAVIS VINTAGE says: Yowza! Sheila, I think these photos prove that you’re already doing plenty of abwork!

Any pinup lover will tell you that pulling off this vintage trend is a great way to feel sweet ‘n sexy for summertime. Plus without having to actually buy one, you can transform any button-up shirt into an instant crop top that cools down and cutifies up a look.

I love your suggestion of pairing a knotted top with various bottoms. You could even style this look for poolside while wearing a pair of bikini briefs!


Sheila has her mom to thank for introducing her to the marvels of vintage style. As a young girl, Sheila tagged along with her mom as she sought out antique shopping adventures in her hometown, Chicago.

By the time she was a teenager Sheila had discovered that through thrifting she could “Create a unique style that’s all my own,” she says. “You have to stay true to yourself. Being a creative type, I love using myself as a canvas.”

Now 28 years old, Sheila is a full time photographer and vintage seller living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When not styling and photographing 1920s-inspired photoshoots on her blog Modern Day Flapper, she’s buying and selling vintage styles as inspired by her love for ’60s mod, ’70s boho and ’90s grunge.

Check out Sheila’s vintage photo portfolio and shop her Etsy store for great vintage finds picked from the heart of America!

All photos were shot & styled by Modern Day Flapper


LOOKBOOK: I Model 5 Wearable ’70s Dresses for Sweet Summer Style!
CELEBS: The Influences of ‘70s Celebs on Fashion Part I & Influences of ‘70s Celebs on Fashion Part II
TRENDS: How Trends of Today Were Influenced by ’70s Clothing
ETSY: Buy the Best 1970s Shirts Online
HISTORY: Learn More About ’70s Styles from Fashion-Era

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One Comment

  1. Shermika says:

    Upon looking at this top I did not like it. However, it looks really good on the model, and works well with the entire outfit.

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