Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Spirit of '76: wardrobe in 'Boogie Nights' and 'The Ice Storm'

EW casts a critical eye on the ’70s-fashion do’s and don’ts seen in the two hit movies

Posted on

The real sequel to Scream is already in theaters. It’s that moment when audiences first see the hilariously accurate ’70s costumes in the new films Boogie Nights and The Ice Storm. There’s just something about the decade’s duds — from bell-bottoms and plaid sport jackets to ankle-spraining platform shoes — that still makes people shudder. ”I never dreamed that I ever wore that crap,” says Nights star Burt Reynolds, who had a fashion flashback while filming the ’70s porn-scene flick. ”But I did. When I put it on again, I got hysterical.” Once the giggles subside, however, both Nights and Storm (which is set in a 1973 swinging Connecticut suburb) prove the decade of denim wasn’t all that bad. Sure, the clothes could be ugly, outrageous, and sinfully synthetic, but Storm costume designer Carol Oditz (Tin Cup) fell in love with the era’s clean lines (turtlenecks, jumpsuits) and big jewelry (architectural cuffs, oversize belts). Nights costume designer Mark Bridges (Hard Eight) strove to distinguish his movie’s clothes from all the new retro-’70s fashions now in style, he says, ”so it didn’t look like kids walking down Melrose Avenue today.” With both movies likely to galvanize interest in all things ’70s, here’s our guide to the good, the bad, and the ugliest of the era.

The Good

Ice Storm: Everything Sigourney Weaver wears, especially accessories such as jeweler Stephen Dweck’s bold amber bead necklaces; Joan Allen‘s pale blue futuristic turtleneck.

Boogie Nights: The embossed-leather platform shoes worn by Mark Wahlberg‘s Dirk Diggler; the chocolate pinstripe suit he wears playing Brock Landers; and Julianne Moore‘s Qiana disco dresses with cork-soled platform sandals.

The Merely Bad

Ice Storm: Red plaid jackets; eyeglasses the size of Elton John’s; and palazzo pants (more elegant than bell-bottoms).

Boogie Nights: Wearing vests without shirts; Rollergirl Heather Graham‘s skates with knee socks; anything in silver lamé; a kitschy photo-print T-shirt with a dirt bike on it; and hippie mongrelizations like a denim patchwork jacket (ugh!).

The Completely Unredeemable

Ice Storm: Patterned sweaters over printed shirts are unforgivable; sweaters made from crocheted pot holders give us hot flashes.

Boogie Nights: Dirk Diggler’s denim tux with satin lapels is a lethal combo; Wahlberg, a former Calvin Klein undies model, owes his audience better Skivvies than the yellow-and-brown pair he sports.

Retro Bonus Round: The New Wave

As if resurrecting the ’70s weren’t bad enough, Nights delves into the early ’80s, when skinny ties and track suits commandeered our closets. And Burt thinks the ’70s were scary?

(With reporting by Jessica Shaw)

Comments