Bollywood Retro Fashion: Embracing Nostalgia and Timeless Style

Bollywood retro fashion, with its distinctive charm and nostalgic allure, has captivated the hearts of millions. It is a sartorial style that harks back to the golden era of Indian cinema, when flamboyant hairstyles, statement accessories, and vibrant colors defined the silver screen. In this article, we will explore the key elements of 70’s Bollywood retro fashion, delve into the iconic fashion icons of the era, examine its influence on contemporary trends, and provide practical tips on incorporating this timeless style into your own wardrobe.

Key Elements of Bollywood Retro Fashion

A. Iconic Hairstyles

The hairstyles of yesteryear Bollywood are synonymous with retro fashion. The era witnessed the rise of iconic hairstyles that continue to inspire fashion enthusiasts today.

  • Bouffant

The bouffant, characterized by its voluminous and high-rise appearance, was a favorite among Bollywood divas. This hairstyle exuded glamour and added an element of drama to their overall look.

  • Beehive

Another popular retro hairstyle was the beehive, which featured a large, elevated bun atop the head. It was a statement-making style that complemented both casual and formal outfits.

  • Feathered Bangs

Feathered bangs were a signature look of Bollywood retro fashion. These softly layered, wispy bangs framed the face beautifully and added a touch of femininity to any hairstyle.

B. Statement Accessories

In addition to hairstyles, statement accessories played a crucial role in defining Bollywood retro fashion. These accessories were bold, eye-catching, and often served as the focal point of an ensemble.

  • Oversized Sunglasses

Big, oversized sunglasses were a must-have accessory during the retro era. These sunglasses not only protected the eyes from the sun but also added a touch of glamour to any outfit.

  • Statement Necklaces

Chunky, statement necklaces were popular among Bollywood actresses of the time. These necklaces featured intricate designs, vibrant gemstones, and bold motifs, making them the perfect complement to retro ensembles.

  • Embellished Handbags

Embellished handbags with intricate embroidery, sequins, and beads were a common sight in the hands of retro fashionistas. These handbags added a touch of elegance and sophistication to their overall look.

C. Vibrant Colors and Prints

Bollywood retro fashion embraced vibrant colors and bold prints, making each outfit a visual delight. These colors and prints became synonymous with the era and continue to inspire fashion trends today.

  • Polka Dots

Polka dots, with their playful and retro charm, were a popular print during this era. Whether on dresses, blouses, or skirts, polka dots added a touch of whimsy and nostalgia to any outfit.

  • Paisley Prints

Paisley prints, with their intricate teardrop motifs, were a staple in retro fashion. These prints were often seen on sarees, blouses, and scarves, adding a touch of elegance and cultural richness to the outfits.

  • Bold Color Combinations

Bold and vibrant color combinations were a hallmark of Bollywood retro fashion. From striking reds and oranges to electric blues and greens, retro fashionistas embraced colors that exuded confidence and individuality.

Retro Fashion Icons of Bollywood

To truly understand and appreciate Bollywood retro fashion, it is essential to explore the iconic fashion icons who defined the era. Their fashion choices continue to inspire generations of fashion enthusiasts.

A. Zeenat Aman

Zeenat Aman, the epitome of style and glamour, revolutionized Bollywood retro fashion with her daring and flamboyant choices. Her fashion sense embodied the essence of the era.

  • Flamboyant Silhouettes

Zeenat Aman often donned outfits with flamboyant silhouettes, such as flowy maxi dresses and wide-legged pantsuits. These silhouettes accentuated her confidence and charisma.

  • Bell-bottoms and Jumpsuits

Bell-bottoms and jumpsuits were Zeenat Aman’s signature style. She popularized these retro trends and showcased their versatility and chic appeal.

  • Scarves as Headbands

Zeenat Aman often accessorized her hairstyles with scarves worn as headbands. This added a touch of bohemian flair to her overall look and became a fashion trend during the era.

B. Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore, with her grace and elegance, embodied timeless beauty in Bollywood retro fashion. Her fashion choices showcased sophistication and refinement.

  • Elegant Sarees

Sharmila Tagore was known for her graceful draping of sarees. She often opted for silk sarees in rich colors and intricate embellishments, epitomizing the elegance of the era.

  • Choker Necklaces

Choker necklaces were a favorite accessory of Sharmila Tagore. She adorned her neck with delicate yet statement-making chokers, adding a touch of regality to her saree ensembles.

  • Winged Eyeliner

Sharmila Tagore popularized the winged eyeliner trend during the retro era. This timeless makeup technique accentuated her eyes and added a touch of glamour to her overall look.

C. Rekha

Rekha, with her mesmerizing beauty and distinctive style, remains an eternal icon of Bollywood retro fashion. Her fashion choices exuded elegance and grandeur.

  • Kanjeevaram Sarees

Rekha was often seen wearing exquisite Kanjeevaram sarees, known for their rich silk texture and intricate designs. These sarees became synonymous with her iconic style.

  • Heavy Gold Jewelry

Rekha’s love for heavy gold jewelry was evident in her fashion choices. She adorned herself with statement necklaces, bangles, and earrings, showcasing the opulence of retro fashion.

  • Classic Red Lipstick

Rekha’s signature red lipstick became an integral part of her retro fashion persona. The classic red shade added a bold and glamorous touch to her overall look.

Influence of Bollywood Retro Fashion on Contemporary Trends

The impact of Bollywood retro fashion on contemporary trends is undeniable. The timeless appeal of retro styles continues to inspire fashion designers and enthusiasts alike.

A. Revival of Retro Silhouettes

Contemporary fashion has witnessed a revival of retro silhouettes, bringing back the essence of the bygone era with a modern twist.

  • Wide-legged Pants

Wide-legged pants, reminiscent of the retro bell-bottoms, have made a comeback in recent years. They offer comfort and style, allowing individuals to channel the retro vibe effortlessly.

  • Puffed Sleeves

Puffed sleeves, a prominent feature of retro fashion, have regained popularity. Whether on blouses, dresses, or tops, puffed sleeves add a touch of femininity and drama to modern outfits.

  • Peplum Tops

Peplum tops, characterized by their flared and ruffled waistline, have become a go-to choice for those seeking a fusion of retro and contemporary style. They accentuate the waist and offer a playful twist to everyday attire.

B. Fusion of Retro and Modern Styles

Contemporary fashion has embraced the fusion of retro and modern elements, creating unique and innovative looks that pay homage to the golden era of Bollywood.

  • Retro-inspired Prints in Contemporary Fashion

Fashion designers often incorporate retro-inspired prints, such as polka dots and paisley motifs, into modern clothing. This fusion of prints creates a visually striking and nostalgic appeal.

  • Modern Interpretation of Retro Hairstyles

Hairstylists have reimagined retro hairstyles for the modern era. Classic bouffants and beehives have been given a contemporary twist, incorporating modern techniques and accessories.

  • Mixing Retro Accessories with Modern Outfits

Fashion enthusiasts now mix retro accessories, like oversized sunglasses and statement necklaces, with modern outfits to create a unique and eclectic style statement. This juxtaposition adds depth and personality to their overall look.

How to Incorporate Bollywood Retro Fashion into Your Wardrobe

If you’re inspired by Bollywood retro fashion and wish to infuse it into your wardrobe, here are some practical tips to help you embrace this timeless style.

A. Vintage-Inspired Clothing Stores

  • Online Platforms for Retro Fashion

Explore online platforms that specialize in vintage-inspired clothing. These platforms offer a wide range of retro clothing options, allowing you to curate a retro-inspired wardrobe.

  • Thrift Shops and Vintage Boutiques

Visit thrift shops and vintage boutiques in your area to discover hidden gems from the retro era. These stores often house unique and authentic pieces that embody the spirit of Bollywood retro fashion.

  • Reproduction Retro Fashion Brands

Reproduction retro fashion brands create modern versions of retro clothing. They capture the essence of the era while incorporating contemporary fabrics and designs, making it easier for you to incorporate retro fashion into your everyday wardrobe.

B. Mix and Match Retro Pieces

  • Pairing a Retro Blouse with Modern Jeans

Mix a retro-inspired blouse, such as one with puffed sleeves or a bold print, with a pair of modern jeans. This combination creates a balanced and stylish look that blends the best of both eras.

  • Styling a Retro Dress with Contemporary Shoes

Opt. for a vintage-style dress, like a polka dot or paisley print dress, and pair it with contemporary shoes, such as sleek heels or trendy sneakers. This juxtaposition adds a modern twist to the retro ensemble.

  • Layering Retro Accessories for a Statement Look

Experiment with layering retro accessories to create a statement look. For example, pair oversized sunglasses with a statement necklace and an embellished handbag. This layered approach adds depth and visual interest to your outfit.


Bollywood retro fashion continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts with its timeless appeal and nostalgic charm. The iconic hairstyles, statement accessories, vibrant colors, and elegant silhouettes defined an era and continue to inspire contemporary trends. By incorporating elements of Bollywood retro fashion into your wardrobe, you can embrace nostalgia and add a touch of vintage glamour to your personal style. Whether through vintage-inspired clothing or a fusion of retro and modern elements, the allure of Bollywood retro fashion is a testament to its enduring influence in the world of fashion. Embrace the charm of the bygone era and let your style reflect the timeless beauty of Bollywood retro fashion.


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