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70's Fashion Warning

Regarding this and this: Is this what you fashion industry people want to bring back? Please, for the love of go-go boots, NO. No one should have to live through that again. Ever. Look. Look at these dresses: [click for bigger image]Wait. Wait until I get home. I have pictures of me in ponchos! I will sacrifice my dignity and post all the 70's era photos of myself and my sisters that I can find if it saves just one child from having to face this fashion again. We must fight the industry and tell them NO. No ponchos, no, handkerchief dresses, no enormous stripes or plaid pants or corked shoes. It's wrong and you know it. What's next? Eight tracks? Tuna casseroles? Pea green living room decor? Dorothy Hamill haircuts? I swear to you, if my father starts wearing his beige and brown leisure suit again, I will make the fashion mavens responsible for this pay. I've got to find those poncho pictures.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 70's Fashion Warning:

» The Orange Couch from Mark Time
Michele, of A Small Victory, has posted an article on retro fashions coming around again - particularly ponchos. That leads me to believe that it's time for the story of my Orange Couch. (It helps that I'm listening to the [Read More]

» Gifts for my readers from Twisted Spinster
My cat says: "Hm. Her readers... I will not bite them." (That means she approves.) And here, for Michele -- behold the Poncho of Doom: Good night, my children of the, uh, night.... yeah! [Read More]

» They Weren't Kidding from hard times
Lileks warned us. Michele warned us. Then, yesterday, I came face to face with the horror of bad 70's fashion, back from the dead like a zombie. One of my daughter's friends came over, clad in an off-white crocheted poncho. I'm steeling my... [Read More]


Keep your mitts off of my tuna!


Dave,there is something even scarier...dickies.

Fashion is cyclical. Having grown up in the 80's, I fear day-glo colors coming back into vogue. :-S

I'm not so sure if I'm totally against the poncho. My friend Anna wore one one day to the stats class we had together -- it looked like a blanket with a head-hole in it. She also had on a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Maybe it was because she had that glowing Russian beauty -- the kind where it shines through the skin, the kind you only get growing up in a place that cold (she was from somewhere in Northwestern Russia). I don't know.

But I'm okay with the poncho.

Not okay with the mullet.

What's wrong with the picture of the girl and her cat? She looks awfully cute in that outfit to me. Sorry, being a retrosexual guy means fashion consists of a suit or blue jeans so I'm not much on women's fashion but I think that's a nice photo.

Now the kids in the class photo - that's a crime. I remember the crap that I had to wear as a kid and I really wish I had the kind of choices they have today.

I assume you read the lileks column today on current fashion disasters...

Michele, you look alarmingly cute in that jean dress and boots, so it's hard for me to accept it as a fashion disaster.

Now, brown polyester leisure suits are another matter entirely...

I'm totally diggin the return of the 70s. :)

You've noticed that, too, huh??

Gaucho pants and ponchos. I already thought it was a shame I gave away my ponch (c. 1976) from Mexico.

What I really can't stand are the colors, brown, orange, harvest gold.


Oh, and leisure suits cause cancer in rats.

I must concur: The boots look good. Perhaps you should publish some comparative photographs to let us see what the alternatives are.

I think the kid with the bow tie next to the teacher looks kinda cool.

Eh, the first picture only shows that if you put a pretty enough girl into ANYTHING and it will look good. Doesn't matter if it's the latest Gucci dress or a potato sack.

That being said, if the 70's are coming back, I want out of it. The second they start having collars that look like the wingspan of a prehistoric bird on men's shirts, I'm running off to join the Amish...

Nice rack!

Or can we not say that now?

I'm so confused.

Don't worry about the leisure suits. We'll never import enough oil to put that much polyester in one garment again.

the dress works. if you must ditch the "retro" aspect, change the shoes, or just the color of the boots; black might be more "now." change the shirt to a lycra short or three-quarter sleeve screen print tee, with a smallish pattern so it doesn't overpower the dress and can be seen on the sleeves.

this exercise proves two things: having pictures taken in uber-cool getups often makes for many laughs later; and if you can survive the seventies, you might be able to salvage a fashion sense after all.

One of my friends had a powder blue polyester leisure suit.

Please, God. No.

I saw poncho's at Walmart the other day.

I screamed. People stared. It wasn't pretty.

Don't these people understand that these clothes were UGLY then, and they are still ugly now?

Next it will be glitter socks and gaucho pants.

The leisure suit? I'm turnin the dogs on the first person I see wearing one.

disclaimer, I quit smoking this week and I am not responsible for my comments or actions..thank you

I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Harvest Gold and Avocado major appliances. And the Burnt Orange shag carpeting.

Actually, polyester always made my skin crawl. Not to mention that you couldn't walk within a yard of a sharp object in doubleknits without snagging them. Getting smacked in the face by my own shirt lapels when the wind rose was always a treat, too.

About the time I entered college I realized that I was under no obligation to be hip and cool. Since then, it's been natural fiber all the way. Problem is, natural fiber became trendy too, but I get around that by buying from Cabela's instead of L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer.

When do we finally get to relive the 80's? I just want to know. I have all of these thin ties and alligator shirts...

Pfffft.... Michele to your dad's brown liesure suit

MY DAD had a powder blue one... with the dark blue shirt with "Mod" designs in matching powder blue which he wore with the HUGE shirt collar OVER the jacket.

(and yes, he grew his sideburns down and had a mustache.) Good god, if I could figure out how to get a pic off the family movies of my dad posing in that outfit!! whoa!

The one thing that is both a delight and a horror about that 70's show is that the set/costume designers have NAILED the era's look.

Hell, ponchos... when the crocheted vests come back, listen to the screams of late baby boomer females echo across the land.

I graduated high school in 1975, and I will neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of certain aspects of "That 70s Show" (ever play spoons?).

For the most part, the 70s were a decade of putrid music and hideous clothes.

Gas lines
Jimmy Carter
stagflation (home mortgages with credit card interest rates)

Gag. Could you fit more disasters into a single decade short of global war?

Loving the go go boots. I got mine on today with a skirt. Yah baby yah!

I have even ventured with the blue eyeshadow. I know! I know!

We should make a pact, however, to never ever ever...girls...ever sport a "Dorothy". Not good.


I graduated in 72... I don't understand the "spoons" reference (I haven't seen ever show) and being in CA, anything to do with basements I only have the testimony of others ... but, er, yeah, I'd agree with your general assessment of the decade.

I saw a 14 year old girl last evening in a tight t-shirt riding 2 inches above her skirt, the hem of which was barely 1 inch below her panties, wearing clear acrylic high heels. I'd settle for the 70s look in your photo if it would clean up the "little hooker" look. This is a church-related vacation spot.

I cringed when I saw teenagers at the local Mall-o-Hell walking around with the collars of their shirts pulled up.

Are parachute pants and kids sporting haircuts best left seen on albums by A Flock Of seagulls far behind?

Ahhh, the wave of nostalgia. How can I dislike clothes that could have been worn by any of my high school girlfriends?
But yes, they are best kept in the past.

I know I'm terminally unfashionable, but I don't see what's so hideous about the boots and denim dress photo. It's actually kind of a cute outfit, IMHO. Far, far better than the love-handle-revealing lowrider jeans and belly button exposing tops popular today.

Fashion IS cyclical. A couple years ago some of the teenybopper fashion places in the mall were carrying those hideous polyester tops (with wide collars and technicolor-yawn-inspired prints) and people were buying them. There are, I suppose, some things from earlier eras that are good and should be brought back, but there are other things - like those tops - that should be allowed to rest in peace.

I suppose the 80s are next. I knew I'd have wished I kept my big boxy white "Miami Vice chick" blazer.

I will say that the last time I visited my mom I urged her to go through her closet and the storage trunks in the basement - she's got mucho 60s and 70s stuff (including some really rather nice cocktail dresses; were I a size 10 I'd have snagged one) that she's not wearing; she could make a killing at the local vintage-clothing shop.

Spoons is a children's card game. You have several people sitting around in a circle with one fewer spoon than players in the center. Each player is dealt cards, picking one up and putting one down until he/she gets 4 of a kind. The player then reaches in and pulls out a spoon. When the other players realize that a spoon is missing, they can either dive in and grab a spoon or sneakily slip a spoon out. Like musical chairs, the one left without a spoon loses.

So, what's the big deal? Well, according to legend (I wouldn't know about such things, of course), the game is best played while stoned.

You want fashion disaster so huge it cannot be measured with current technology?
1970ies wedding parties.
Pastel tuxes with ruffled shirt fronts and patterned cummerbunds.
My brother has friends who can't put out their wedding pictures because their kids begin laughing incontrollably.
Stick with classic preppy stuff, it may not be in the height of fashion always, but at least it doesn't make you a laughingstock to your children...

I hated the colors of the 70's (a few of them were leftovers from the 60's - like burnt orange and harvest gold and coppertone).
Shag carpets - what an awful idea.
I like the picture of Michele with her boots, though! I think she's cute.
I did love my ethnic looking dresses of the 70's - low scooped necks, vests, blousey blouses. Heck, I still wear that kind of stuff when I can find it - only in cotton, not polyester.

At least no one is claiming that this stuff is authentic.

"Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?" - Frank Zappa

Two words: Tubular Bells

(exit with evil laugh)

I seem to recall two popular variations of Spoons when I was in high school. There was the drinking version, where the loser of each round had to chug -- and then there was another version, the exact rules of which now escape me, but I think it may have been cross-bred with elements of Truth or Dare and/or Spin the Bottle...


Don't forget about the avacado kitchens.

Hey.. that little girl in the front row, that looks just like me!

But I know its not.

I think she's cute :-)

If I ever have a daughter, I will send her to school every day with a yellow ribbon in her hair. I think that girl is so cute. Who is she?

Yea, that's me. Stupid yellow ribbon.

Ah, girls in Gunny Sax ... brings back memories of my youth!

Here's some information on a "new" fashion trend: http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2004/08/breaking_fashio.html

--Two words: Tubular Bells

(exit with evil laugh)--

Uh, Ray????

Have you been to a movie theater lately????


I was pregnant in 1978 with my oldest daughter

Maternity clothes at that time were even more hideous then regular "fashion"... One either was offered puff-sleeved, pastel printed, lace trimmed abominations that even 3 y/os wouldn't wear, or weird muu-muu type "dresses" (tents really). But it was like a rule everything had to be decked out in lace and ribbons...

My grandfather was made home movies on his old crank Bell & Howell (I still have it!) from about 1955 through the 70's. I was due at Christmas (but delivered 1/6/79) and grandpa pulled out movie camera with a light bar that would pull in airplanes on the LAX path and immediately warmed the house 10 degrees..and there is a clip of me wearing about the only "tailored" maternity top I could find, in this weird shade of burnt orange with brown polyester maternity pants...

I look like this huge pumpkin! Argh.

Michele, most heterosexual males are far more interested in the present than the wrapping.
e.g. the Denim dress and boots photo, sorry, my reaction is basically 'high cuteness factor' rather than 'fashion disaster'. But then again, my wife supplies my fashion sense, I was born with a congenital lack thereof.

Re Tubular Bells : Careful, you're offending my religion. Mike Oldfield Is God. Go have a listen to 'Songs of Distant Earth', or even 'The Millenium Bell', or Tubular Bells I,II or III, or Hergest Ridge, or Ommadawn, or Incantations, or 5 Miles Out or I think I'll stop now.

You've inspired me, Michelle, to admit to the world that I, too, have pictures from this oh-so-painful period in fashion history.

I've been working on a tribute page to for my father, who passed away on May 30. He had many many friends in NY who could not make it to his funeral, and so I'm putting together this little tribute for them, and for me.

Anyway, take a look at the last pic on this page, it's the herald of cheesy 70s clothes to come:


All I can say is, Thank God I was too young to dress myself during the 70s.

My big sister, on the other hand....

Everytime I see some snotnosed Gen-Xer wearing the accoutrements of that ugly God-forsaken decade - trucker hats, shawls, three ring circus socks, ringer shirts - I just want to shake the idiocy out of them. Or make them read "The 70s" by David Frum.

50s nostalgia? Absolutely. 60s? Sure. 80s? Okay, I'll buy that.

But... nostalgia for the nineteen fucking seventies? Good lord, that's like pining for golden days of the Wermacht, or the black plague. The relentless orange/brown/avacado/harvest gold macrame deluge of ugliness made me dream of the sweet release of blindness.

For a great visual indictment of that era, rent "AutoFocus."

Ditto's jeans; the skin-tight ones with bell-bottoms with the seam that ran up one leg, across your butt, and down the other leg. The height of fashion, at least in San Diego in the mid-1970s. I had at least 5 pairs in different colors. Also, who can forget toe-socks? Which one had to wear with your Bear-Trap sandals.

As for hair styles, to a girl we all had long (preferably waist-length) straight hair and at one point in 7th or 8th grade we all cut our bangs in wings that sort of swooped back on either side of your face. Oh, yes. 70s fashion nightmares. I graduated from high school in 1979 and have too many years of pictures of me in those god-awful fashions.

What's the over/under for how many months it will take before the "Zip-around" jeans will reappear in a low-rider variety? That would combine the worst of the 70s (hip-huggers) with the worst of the 80s (the pants the Hessian chicks wore that had a zipper go all the way from front to back, allowing friends to share a leg of each other's jeans). Update that, and you will have me screaming that fashion has finally gone too far!

Thong underwear in the boys department will create a similar reaction. That would really be the end of Western Civilization. Luckily, it hasn't shown up yet (and don't tell me if it has--I genuinely need my safe version of reality!)

I'll have to dig up one of my Dad's "sabotage" era photos...

I burned all my photos from the seventies.
Especially the jumpsuit and cowl neck ones.

I like the boots and the yellow ribbon. You're gorgeous, Michele!

Michele, what's up with the guy on the left in the second row? The poor guy is so jaundiced that he looks orange! The hell with fashion, what happened to the dude with the Bruce Lee haircut and no body?

And memo to the back row, center: Eddie Munster needs his hair back.

You're all way behind - the 70's are SOOOOOOO 90's.

Becky, Farrah made millions on those wings.

All these posts, and not one person mentioned crushed velvet. I still have school pictures in burgundy crushed velvet vest and skirt with pale pink blouse. ACK!

I do wish I could find some bell bottoms that weren't low riders, though. Not all of us want to show our butts to the world.

You know, I was born in '81, and it seems like most of my teenage and adult life has been spent waiting for the fashion world to end its incomprehensible love affair with the 70s. Honestly, if it's not bellbottoms, it's smoked aviator glasses or platform shoes. Occasionally there'll be a weak attempt at an 80s revival, and then it's back to the regularly scheduled program. In avocado and harvest gold.
When I go to the mall, I see teenage girls wearing the same clothes my mother wore 30 years ago. To put that in perspective for you boomers, that's like if all the hip girls looked like this in 1975: http://www.cmgww.com/music/andrews/community/wallpapers/wallpaper3_640.jpg

It's unnatural.

WHATTHEHELLIZZA parachute dress?? I survived the 60's and 70's, but I swear I never heard of parachute dresses.......

Darleen: I completely agree. All of my kids were 70's (74, 76 and 1/24/79). I remember the red seersucker maternity bathing suit I was forced to wear. But I still have the white-and-purple yoked peasant blouse and fisherman's sweater I wore when I was pregnant.

The kicker is when my youngest (25) chided me for not keeping those horrors, as they were coming back into style.


Imperial Keeper

P.S. I hate to do this, but I had a pair of neon green culottes at 14 (1967). And a pink flowered poncho. Scary, isn't it?

Those clothes look like the kind of thing I'm looking for in the stores (and not finding) now.

I can't find the kind of clothes I like to wear :(

but, but... i LOVE tuna casserole!
i asked jocelyn if she wanted a poncho. i got one of those 'looks', then the maniacal, hysterical laughter ensued...

i've seen hints of good things... pointy toed shoes without clomper heels. OOOH!

Really i eagerly await the redeath of the 70s. No one who had their dittos caught in their bike chain could possibly ever want to wear the evil bellbottoms again. It's gone on FAR too long.

"As worn by Mackenzie Phillips on TV's One Day at a Time."

Actually, a crocheted poncho is just the thing with your lime-green dittos, famolares and an orange tube top. Or you could drape it lifelessly over your shapeless gunny sax. Oh yeah -- you'll be a stone fox.

I graduated in '77. For me the depression and hopelessness of the mid-'70s are evident in a mental image I have of Rosalynn and Amy Carter standing together in matching ponchos while dad bleats on about turning down the thermostat...or why 19% interest rates are good. I hope that image does not actually exist. It's too horrible to inflict on others.

About the only thing good from that time were the skirts and gogo boots. You found at least one cute picture from the 70s

Hey i wore bell bottom pants in when i went to high school back in the early 70s(i grauated in 1976)and wow what a style and when me and my sister went to grammer school my sister had a poodle skirt far out

i need any pictures on the fastions that were going on in the 70's becuase i'm throwing a party and don't have many ideas on what to wear. thank you. please help

I just came across this, and the clothes your talking about, well, I think lo rider jeans are sick! I mean, who wants to see a girls crack? It reminds me of this dog ugly girl I seen once, wearing regular jeans that showed her crack....she had a chew of tobacco and was operating a paving roller. Other than that, I believe todays fashion is more "Im me" type thing. I know this guy whos like 33, and wears these skintight (I do mean skintight too! all the way to the ankles), jeans everyday 24/7. He has many pairs, but he is doing it because they work better than compression pants for his damaged nerve and muscle from the waist down in his lower back. It screams 80's!, I like to see them, but wouldnt wear them myself.

I just came across this, and the clothes your talking about, well, I think lo rider jeans are sick! I mean, who wants to see a girls crack? It reminds me of this dog ugly girl I seen once, wearing regular jeans that showed her crack....she had a chew of tobacco and was operating a paving roller. Other than that, I believe todays fashion is more "Im me" type thing. I know this guy whos like 33, and wears these skintight (I do mean skintight too! all the way to the ankles), jeans everyday 24/7. He has many pairs, but he is doing it because they work better than compression pants for his damaged nerve and muscle from the waist down in his lower back. It screams 80's!, I like to see them, but wouldnt wear them myself.

i think everything worn in the 70's should be buried in antartica and never unleashed....like the mummy!!!

...and the 80's : )