Costumes for Murder Mystery Games set in the 1970s

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months
— Oscar Wilde
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1970s Icons

Brian Ferry. Farrah Fawcett. Ali McGraw. Diane Keaton. The Sweeney. Debbie Harry. Patti Smith. Johnny Rotten. Bob Marley. John Travolta. Bianca Jagger. Joni Mitchell. Pam Grier. Karen Carpenter. David Bowie. Marc Bolan. Terence Stamp.

  • Be floaty. Be yourself. Or wear a bin liner. Hippie kaftans, Laura Ashley smocks or punk. Take your pick!
  • Hippiedom means scarves, beads, feathers, kohl, cheesecloth and batik prints which could have been made 6500 miles away in Java but in fact come from a factory in Wolverhampton.
  • Being yourself means wearing invisible make-up or not wearing any at all (there is a difference, apparently), wearing earth colours, baggy sweaters, high-necked blouses, ankle-length smocks and putting your hair in a scarf.  Being yourself means hiding yourself? Go figure…
  • And then – punk. Wear bin liners or dress in rubber or PVC. As well as the safety pins to hold your clothes together, use glue or glue substitutes to hold your hair together. If looking like a decomposing Dominatrix isn’t your thing, then go for a ripped white t-shirt and tight jeans instead – and let make-up do the rest.
  • Hot pants. Afros. Kimonos. Tank tops. Maxi dresses. Jumper dresses. If you want to be glam (which was always more of a bloke thing), then wear a jumpsuit. Wear flares or bell bottoms. Wear clogs or platform heels. Stick to black or silver or garish. Suffer under polyester, sequins, spandex, glitter, And if you don’t fancy any of the above, play safe - and wear denim.

Costumes for Men in the 1970s

  • Be Hippie, Glam, Natural (or “Sporty” as men prefer to call it) or a Punk. Throw in (if you must) Safari, and that provides style options for almost every character you may end up playing in a live whodunit. In particular:
  • Hippie: tie-dye t-shirts. Knitwear. Tassles. Fringed suede jackets. Headbands. Free-flowing floral shirts worn with tight polyester trousers (fire hazards if you are a fast mover…).
  • Glam:  hip-hugging trousers which reveal every wobbling contour. Crazy flares. Glitter. Heels which make you look tall but prevent you from walking. Explosion-in-a-paint-factory colours or creams and whites asking to have beer and ash dropped onto them. Shirts made from thin, soft synthetics (spandex, lurex) which droop and drop and hang then cling when you sweat. And, boy, do you sweat!
  • Sporty: track suits. V-necks. Football shirts. Rugby shirts. Shorts. Open-neck white shirts with a cricket sweater and white trousers. All for posing in, not playing any sport in.
  • Punk:  ripped jeans. Ripped t-shirts. Leather jackets. Leather drainpipe trousers. Chains. Doc Martens. Safety pins.
  • Safari: Safari jackets, safari suits and anything else that’s hideous and khaki.
  • Denim with everything. Perms. Flares. Tank tops. Wide collars. Wide lapels. Jumpsuits. And, at the other extreme, the Noel Coward/Cole Porter revival look (bowties, tuxedos and sharp tailoring).

Murder Mystery Games that can be set in the Seventies

Other Costume Eras