Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Cindy Weber-Cleary
Mar 16, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

The '70s, as I recall, were a real mixed bag in terms of fashion. Huge bell bottoms, fringed suede vests, tie-dye T-shirts, hot pants, jumpsuits, big pointy collars, polyester pantsuits, dress-for-success blouses with bow ties, midiskirts, floppy hats, cloches, platform sandals, Earth shoes, cowl-necks, tube tops, halter tops, skin-tight “disco pants,” the wrap-dress, patched jeans, Frye boots, aviators, peasant blouses … take your pick.

Today, many top designers are picking through pictures of those "free-wheeling" days for inspiration. The decade is a recurring theme for many of them. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for their own youth that makes them return to the era again and again—or the wish that they could have experienced that foot-loose, tech-free time. I don’t know, but '70s styles are big for spring and will continue into the fall.

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What I do know is that this photo of Carly Simon (above) takes me back to a happy place. Her body language—wide arms, upturned chin, feet firmly on the ground, the sense of forward motion—reminds me of the youthful, optimistic feeling that anything could happen, any day. The world at that time seemed full of possibilities waiting for me to grab them.

Carly’s fitted top and flowy skirt in an exuberant floral look so comfortable, feminine and easy. The macrame bag, balanced on the tip of her finger, appears to weigh nothing. The strappy gladiator sandals (a huge trend for spring/summer!) hint at exotic travel. Her sexy, beach-y shag haircut is the opposite of a blow-out. Freedom is the message. But the final takeaway is this: there is no accessory in the world from any decade that can enhance your look as much a toothy smile.

PHOTOS: Shop '70s-Inspired Spring Must-Haves

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