How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 Years.

Deepti Duggal

Deepti wears multiple hats. A versatile writer, a homemaker and a mom to a 6 year old princess. Alumni of DPS RK Puram and a degree in Fashion Designing make her brainy and creative as well.


We all live by fashion, don’t we? Some of us live for fashion, we see, hear, hear and speak fashion. Also fashion inspires us all the time. Inspiration might range from a year-old baby to a 100-year-old Fashionista, we might get inspired seeing flowers, seasons, colourful patterns of the sky, it can be anything. But do you know where are Indian girls take mostly our inspiration of fashion from? Well, you might have guessed it… It’s our very own Bollywood and its ACTRESSES.

Bollywood has inspired not only my generation, but many generations before me and would continue to do so for the next many years too. And yes, we can see fashion changing in Bollywood too through the decades. So let’s go down the memory lane and see how fashion was, is and would be…


The Elegant 40’s And 50’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.


This was the era which still had the British hangover. The popular actresses of this era were Nargis, Meena Kumari, Begum Para and Suraiyaa whom the female population followed blindly of style inspiration. During this time, fashion was modest, understated and formal. Women wore elegant sarees with puffed sleeve blouses, while Begum Para’s cropped top and skirt were way ahead of its time and have made a comeback in 2015… talk about the revival of fashion.

White pearls and hair curled and worn in a neat bun were the style statement. Another fashion style which is inspired by this era are the Anarkali Suits popularized by Madhubala in Mughal-E-Azam. Fashion does return… What if it’s after more than 60 years!


The Swinging 60’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.

In this decade, fashion started to come out of its comfort zone. The most iconic thing that became fashionable was the hairstyle called the ‘Sadhna Cut’, a typical fringe on the forehead made popular by the actress Sadhna and in fact till today, it’s still going strong. The blouses became shorter, and the sarees were tighter, and talking about sarees, how can we forget the famous saree draped by Mumtaz.

Now these sarees are pre-stitched in this MUMTAZ STYLE made so popular decades ago and even suits were fitted and short too! Shoulders were bared and a hint of skin exposure had started. One of the most popular comeback is the iconic winged eyeliner which was a rage in the 60’s… Remember Sharmila Tagore and her big bouffant hair, yes, that was all in rage. The sixties were a preview of a brighter, hipper era and Bollywood was seeing shedding inhibitions and getting more sensual.


The Flower Power Of 70’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.


This era was definitely the ‘hippie’ era of Bollywood. Fashion was fast evolving and trying to find a place of its own at this time. There was a splash of colours, prints and experimental styles. Memorable trends include bell-bottoms, cropped shirts, over-sized glasses, platform heels and polka dots, famously named ‘bobby print’ after Dimple Kapadia’s look. This era also saw an advent of bikinis and swimsuits which garnered a lot of attention.

Bollywood divas jived on the screen in bell bottoms, platform heels, big sunglasses, jump suits and maxi dresses. Hair trends on the big screen included long straight hair and bangs, and iconic wigs. Eye makeup was thick, bold and exaggerated black eyeliner, creating dramatic cat eyes on screen which are now copied in form of Smokey eyes.


The Dramatic 80’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.

The 80’s were considered the gaudy decade in Bollywood fashion. Everything was very over the top from padded shoulders to chunky accessories and an overdose of metallic colours from head to toe.

But all was not so bad too. This era was a mixed bag. On one hand, we had actresses flaunting neon colors, bright sarees, red lips, unruly hair and leg warmers and on the other we had the introduction to sheer chiffon sarees with delicate floral prints… Remember Silsila and Mr India. Well the floral prints have been a rage since the last few seasons and would continue to be dominant during summers.


The Big 90’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.


Welcome to the ‘Big’ era…why big, well because everything in the decade was BIG!! This era can be divided majorly into two parts, the earlier part of the 90’s was a lot about big hair, big skirts and big puffy sleeves. During the latter half of the decade, however, things toned down and crop tops, midi skirts and denim overalls became raging trends. The 90’s were the last decade before we were hit by the brand revolution, but hints of it had started cropping like in movies like Kuch Kuch Hota hain, where we can see SRK sporting tight DKNY Tees.

Sportswear among girls became a rage too. Heroines like Madhuri, Juhi and many more were extremely fashionable divas who made some looks ICONIC. The Green and white lehnga-choli and of course the purple saree in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was aped and most wanted amongst all girls. And Juhi’s fresh look with skater dresses, cropped tops and all inspired the college look in girls everywhere. What has come back as a fashion statement now, well, I guess the skater dresses and sportswear.


The Designer 2000’s


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.

Say Hola to all the designers on board. The 2000’s saw all the fashion designers entering mainstream Bollywood fashion.

Who can forget the makeovers that Manish Malhotra gave to Urmila and Karisma This decade made Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta style icons and was the age of redefining fashion.

It saw the entry of micro minis and crop tops on one hand and on the other it was all about wearing brands.

Our actresses were seen walking the red carpet at international film festivals wearing our Sabyasachi’s or wearing Robert Cavilli or Eli Saab. The brand revolution had certainly hit us.




2016- An Amalgamation Of All Eras


How Fashion Changed Over The Last 70 years.


2016 is a mixture of all the era’s put together, it’s a colorful mix of all the decades gone by. Whether it is wearing Anarkalis, Palazzos, Sarees and Lehnga Cholis, High slit gowns, floral prints, every attire are taking fashion inspiration from the decades gone by. So Deepika, Sonam, Kangana and all young starlets are recreating looks with the mix and match of today, and the times gone by with the iconic winged eyeliners and nose rings.

Bollywood inspired fashion, have a very close relationship since forever! Right from the black and white era up to now, fashion and Bollywood have been style partners and inspiration for millions of girls. Bollywood has been a fashion inspiration and continues to be so even today. Just the faces and trends change as time goes by…