Running in the 70s!
July 14, 2012 4:27 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I need totally awesome 70's costumes. That we can run a 5K in.

We're planning to run in a 5K at the end of September, and it has a "retro" theme. The best 70s costumes win a pair of running shoes, so it is CRITICAL that we win. We're a male/female pair in our mid-30s, and we don't remember the 70s that well. I've googled up some pictures of stuff from the 70s, but I can't run in a maxi dress or bell-bottom jeans.

Possibly relevant information:
  • This will be our first 5K. I'm a slow, sort of crappy runner. My husband is a better runner, but not experienced.
  • I have long (past my shoulder blades), straight hair - sort of like Donna from That 70s Show. The husband has a buzz cut.
  • Weather is likely to be in the mid 70s to low 80s here at that time, although this has been an uncharacteristically warm this year.
  • We're both pretty fit and willing to wear things that are silly, short or revealing. I have to wear a good sports bra, though.
A couples costume would be great, but not a requirement.

What kind of costumes can we wear?

Final note: In the time it has taken me to type this question, my husband has started thinking about making a shorts jumpsuit with a zipper up the front out of technical fabric for his costume. Feel free to comment on this idea as well.
posted by jeoc to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (28 answers total)
Best answer: I have these, but it occurs to me that this would be pretty fabulous, as well. Especially if worn with those Mork From Ork rainbow suspenders.

American Apparel has a huge variety of Hot Pants and ridiculous vaguely retro shorts, as well as leotards, crop tops, and other ridiculous items that are really only useful for costumes like this.

If your guy is on the smallish side, he could potentially wear some of this stuff, too. Their mens' items aren't nearly as ridiculous as the womens', but they have some retro 70's stuff, certainly.

In my experience, American Apparel clothing runs VERY small. I'm a women's size 8 or 10 and I wear an XL bottom and a medium top.
posted by Sara C. at 4:38 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Personally, I would take my inspiration from the runners of that era. Short shorts, vintage tank top, with USA or Adidas or similar logo, mustache, shaggy hair. That is a costume in and of itself. That is where I would start.
posted by Scientist at 4:41 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I suggest Match Game chic. Worked for us.
posted by Madamina at 4:43 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Get wigs. Find some appropriate polo shirts, a skirt, as many towel sweatbands as you can find, and some old wooden racquets at a secondhand shop. Go with Björn Borg and Chris Evert.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:44 PM on July 14, 2012

I'd also go with 70s gym clothes. At an 8k I ran, a guy had knee high tube socks, stasche (complete the look), aviators and lots of sweat bands. It was awesome!
posted by neveroddoreven at 4:47 PM on July 14, 2012

Red microshorts, red and white trainers, kabuki makeup = zombie Jim Fixx.
posted by apparently at 4:55 PM on July 14, 2012

Can you go in nude suits and then sing The Streak?
posted by pickypicky at 5:19 PM on July 14, 2012

Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman.

A NASA jumpsuit and a tennis outfit might work as costumes, maybe with their names on the back so people get it since it's maybe not immediately obvious.
posted by ambrosia at 5:34 PM on July 14, 2012

dammit 1970s Antihero!
posted by ambrosia at 5:34 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dress like Jim Fixx: Short shorts, t-shirt, jogging suit top. Headband optional (Fixx didn't wear one).

Your husband will need an epic Frank Shorter mustache too.
posted by plinth at 5:36 PM on July 14, 2012

Seconding '70s-style running gear, if your husband is willing to wear REALLY short shorts: both males and females wore running 'shorts' that had little more coverage than underwear --- and I DON'T mean boxers! (If you can't find a photo of runners from that era, find one of pro basketball players: the outfit would be much the same.)

Add a cool Magnum P.I. 'stache for him, plus the towel sweatbands (headbands and wristbands) and tube socks neveroddoreven mentions. As for wigs, a giant afro will do nicely for him, and something Charlie's Angels-ish for you (big hair with a giant flip in front).
posted by easily confused at 5:38 PM on July 14, 2012

How about Bruce Jenner and the Tennis Girl - both from 1976.... Both outfits should be easy to find and easy to run in.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:03 PM on July 14, 2012

Olivia Newton-John, circa Physical? Headband, legwarmers, etc.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:03 PM on July 14, 2012

posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:49 PM on July 14, 2012

I would actually not go for 70s era running gear, because everyone and their girlfriend will be doing that.
posted by Madamina at 6:49 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You say 70s and running, I think Prefontaine. In fact, with your long hair, I wonder if you would be the better Prefontaine?

Mork and Mindy would be fun, too, and pretty easy to pull off. Your husband could wear a striped shirt and rainbow suspenders. You could part your hair in the middle and wear it in side pigtails.

You could also go as Julie and Captain Stubing from The Love Boat. Captain Stubing was bald or balding, so the short hair could work. You might need to get some white uniform-ish clothes and modify them.

Other ideas (going with the theme of tv characters): Marsha and Peter Brady; two of Charlie's Angels (your husband in drag and a wig would probably go over well with the crowd); along the same lines, maybe Laverne & Shirley.

To mix things up a bit: how about two 70s tennis star? You could be Billie Jean King or Chris Everett, and he could be Jimmy Connors. It might be fun to try to find some retro tennis outfits, which would certainly be easy for running.

I think you'll do well going for 70s stars or characters rather than just 70s clothes. Good luck!
posted by bluedaisy at 6:56 PM on July 14, 2012

How about either a short sleeved cullote dress or skirt with the front panel and matching T in some hideous flower pattern. Flowers in your hair and either an 3 inch metal ankh or a large peace sign on a leather thong. Several strands of beads. Hair in two side braids or in 2 ponytails (if you can stand it.)

For husband, hideous tie-dyed rainbow t-shirt, metal mary jane leaf on a leather thong, ugly headband that looks like an old guitar strap and psychedelic print shorts. Round sunglasses if he can stand them. Maybe wear them prior and after race and put in pocket? Or in a vintage 1970's fanny pack?

Pin the necklaces to your shirt so they don't bounce up and down on your chest and drive you bonkers.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:25 PM on July 14, 2012

Pan Am Flight Attendant, and Rocky.
posted by cashman at 7:33 PM on July 14, 2012

Looking at my parents' yearbooks from the 70s it seems that streaking was very, very popular.

Body suits with furry "patches". If you have the guts.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:39 PM on July 14, 2012

It may violate the deeper norms of the event, but what if you got two pairs of vintage roller skates, some knee pads and tube socks, and did 5K of Roller Boogie?
posted by five toed sloth at 7:41 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bo Derek, and Bruce Lee. The hair beads on braids are what makes Bo, and the face and body scratches are what makes Bruce.
posted by cashman at 7:45 PM on July 14, 2012

sorry your husband keeps ending up shirtless.
posted by cashman at 7:46 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (boo!).
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:19 PM on July 14, 2012

Fonzie and Pinky.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:54 PM on July 14, 2012

I once won a 70's costume contest at a party when my then-boyfriend and I came as Annie Hall and Alfie. You've even got the hair for Annie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 PM on July 14, 2012

This tee shirt might be all you need to win.

Or, can you run as the girl getting eaten by a shark -- and he can run as Brody, Quint or Hooper?

(This summer marks the 35th Anniversary! Of 8 year old me seeing it on vacation in Myrtle Beach, and refusing to go in the water no matter how much my parents told me it was "just a movie"!)
posted by peagood at 9:12 PM on July 14, 2012

Wrist sweat bands were SO 70'S!!!!!!

Yes, sadly. I remember this from my childhood.

Sweat bands are your go-to. Think Richard Simmons. He kinda nails it:)


If you want to go DISCO - and I suggest this! Here is what to do...

- Halter tops (sorry boobs!) and hot pants are the way to go. For the male, shirtless with a white suit lapel innard (what was that thing called that John Travolta wore over his dress shirt in Saturday Night Fever??) with shorts made from matching white suit pants. Really. Don't forget the gelled male hair (via Travolta), and go with a curly wig for female, if feasible.

I used to promote at a "disco" theme club that favorited gay men... When our outfits were spot-on for the 70's, our saying was, "Looking so hot that the gay boys love you." And this was a thing! When I nailed it, all the gay boys would dance with me, even though I'm not their flavor.

Hot pants.

Hot pants.

Every. Time.
posted by jbenben at 11:32 PM on July 14, 2012

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