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Fashion Fads Hit the Sooner State

January 9, 2002

Historian's Notes

Scanning through several newspapers I found that Oklahomans, during this week, were inundated with news and stories related to the new fashions of 1976. I thought that this would be an interesting topic; fun yet informative, sassy and serious at the same time. I had a mood ring, after they had gone down in price a bit, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.


Tulsa Tribune, Daily Oklahoman, and Stillwater NewsPress. Early January 1976 issues.

Almanac Transcript

Fashion fads hit the Sooner State this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

It was January of 1976 and Baby New Year was bringing new fashion sense to small towns all across Oklahoma. The mood ring, invented in 1975, became one of the most talked about trends in 1976. In January of 1976 a fashion forward newspaper reported that the rings were almost flying out of stores in Oklahoma with many retailers reporting it difficult to keep any in stock at all. The mood-analyzing jewelry, for those not in the know, could supposedly reflect by its color the mood of the wearer. If your ring turned violet-blue it meant you were happy, blue indicated tranquility and the color green meant that the wearer was at ease. Watch out if you or your friend's ring was black, because that meant tension, stress and irritability. Of course everyone was irritable if they got their ring wet, because that ruined the chemical reaction and your ring became permanently black. According to the Stillwater News Press, it was women who were wearing the rings but men found them equally fascinating. Mood watches and pendants were said to be soon on the way. When asked if the rings were very popular in Stillwater one merchant exclaimed, "Oh, mercy yes!"

Jewelry wasn't the only fashion item receiving an update for the new year. Newspapers across the state reported this week that 1976 would not be a year for any sort of wild experimenting in the fashion world. Designers instead, it was reported, were relying on thinned out layered clothes in fabrics that are crisp and more lustrous. Trends to watch for as reported by the local fashion gurus included the following:

  • Dresses: 1976 was to be a year of dresses. There were dresses, it was said, for every style and taste. As a companion piece, they mention to watch for the new short wide sleeve and the smocked torso.
  • Spirited sportswear took a turn toward hard-working play with clothes including jumpsuits and painter's pants.
  • Ladies, it was stated, should pay special attention to the newest toppings of tunics, loose aprons and kimono wraps over pants.
  • In the world of coats and suits, be on the look out for well-cut blazers, slim coats and skirts to match.
  • Shawls, blankets and ponchos, it was speculated, would definitely wrap up the coat scene for 1976.

Slip on your mood-ring and check the color... blue? Oh yeah, now for the poncho and you are good to go! 1976 fashion favorites this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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