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March 20, 2005 6:16 AM   Subscribe

It came from the 1971 Sears Catalog!! Child models of the damned! Tacky bedspreads. Gracious women.The Nursery of Death. Lamps and awful paintings. At home wear - you wouldn't be caught dead outside the house wearing these. Pages and pages of incredibly yucky things people bought and put in their homes. I know, I was there. (Underwear links questionable at work, maybe.)
posted by pyramid termite (64 comments total)

 
the 70's. crazy!

Aren't hipsters wearing the same stuff?
posted by joelf at 6:30 AM on March 20, 2005


Is that Gwenyth on the right?
posted by Witty at 6:32 AM on March 20, 2005


OMG!! *Points & Laughs* Eras other than that in which I am living are foreign and derision-worthy! LOL!! LOL!!!
posted by MaxVonCretin at 6:39 AM on March 20, 2005


The lamps are way cool, and if you saw one in a vintage lighting store it would probably be sporting a $200 price tag.
posted by fixedgear at 6:41 AM on March 20, 2005


[this is good]
posted by roboto at 6:42 AM on March 20, 2005


What, no double-knit leisure suits?
posted by caddis at 7:00 AM on March 20, 2005


I was expecting some kind of extreme garishness at the at-home wear link but it just looks like normal 70s stuff to me.
posted by gubo at 7:03 AM on March 20, 2005


Aren't hipsters wearing the same stuff?

Yeah, most of this would be uber hip if worn by a 20-something, and I don't even think they're being ironic anymore...

most of today's fashion is easily as silly... reminds me a bit of this comic.
posted by mdn at 7:04 AM on March 20, 2005


Find! I cringe for whoever was made to wear these "Instant Boot Look" knee-high vinyl socks.
posted by carter at 7:05 AM on March 20, 2005


carter - Does that not look like man-legs? Perhaps preparing for the caber toss?
posted by Witty at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2005


My mother used to dress me in shit like this all the time. But with the added flourish of a scarf and ring cravat kind of thing. For which I have never forgiven her.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:30 AM on March 20, 2005


I would wear everything in this catalog. Including the wallpaper.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:31 AM on March 20, 2005


Oh man - I LOVE the lamps. I've been looking for stuff just like that. And some of those geometric loungewear patterns are kinda cool. Is something horribly off on my taste-meter?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:41 AM on March 20, 2005


1971 is a little early for leisure suits, at least for a middle-of-the-road store like Sears. I don't recally seeing a leisure suit much before about '75, although I'm sure somebody was making a bold fashion statement earlier than that.
posted by alumshubby at 7:42 AM on March 20, 2005


recall
posted by alumshubby at 7:42 AM on March 20, 2005


And ooooo - leather knee highs! I want.

Okay, yes, time for an intervention.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:43 AM on March 20, 2005


It was bland then, and it's bland now. Nothing unexceptional. Sears was the equivalent of Wal-Mart, and sold clothing that was not quite cheap, not quite sturdy enough, and guaranteed to be a little off no matter who you were. What's funnier are the higher-end clothes from that period.
posted by Peach at 7:45 AM on March 20, 2005


My mother used to dress me in shit like this all the time.

this sort of apparel made my elementary school look like picadilly circus had been transported to north carolina for a couple of years. the boys looked like a bunch of half-pint mick jaggers six years too late. the girls were all midget versions of peggy lipton. unfortunately, the goods have since all disappeared in yard sales. does all this stuff end up in landfills? third world countries? where?
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:50 AM on March 20, 2005


Say what you want, but I bet the catalogs from the 80's look even worse. Truth be told there's an almost likeable guilelesness about all these looks from this perspective.

I was a little kid during this decade, and my mom had horrible taste in boy's clothes (really into sleveless sweaters and plaid pants) but I don't recall us ever getting clothes at Sears, that was for car batteries and lawn chairs. We usually went to Caldors or Marshalls.


Yeah, most of this would be uber hip if worn by a 20-something, and I don't even think they're being ironic anymore...


Thank the good lord for that. I never understood why someone would structure their entire "look" (to say nothing of actually consciously having a look) about the idea "Gee, isn't this awful?"
posted by jonmc at 7:52 AM on March 20, 2005


I also must admit that I would've loved having a bedroom like this as a tyke. Hell, I think I'd like it now.
posted by jonmc at 7:54 AM on March 20, 2005


Those logos (Lemon Frog and Put-On Shop) took me back to my childhood. Somehow this stuff didn't seem so garish when everybody was wearing similar stuff, you saw clothes like it on people on TV, etc.

Also, now I know where one of our floor lamps came from.
posted by alumshubby at 8:16 AM on March 20, 2005


OOh, the lamps. I have twelve of those round ball lamps in different colors and with different "feet". I love 'em, and fixedgear might be right in that pricetag in the US, who knows.
posted by dabitch at 8:20 AM on March 20, 2005


Oh, ya - how hip could you get? It's what all the urban single career girls were wearing. And do check out these jogging suits. But if exercise wasn't your thing, there were alternatives ... and as for the shiny knee-high faux boots, I am with CunningLinguist on that one - I need me some of those funky things - maybe in a few colors.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:40 AM on March 20, 2005


this just made me vomit in my own mouth.
and it confirmed my impression of the clothes I got as a child.
posted by Busithoth at 8:59 AM on March 20, 2005


jonmc -- that's not a bedroom, it's Google HQ!
posted by krunk at 9:20 AM on March 20, 2005


Heh . . . it makes me smile that my parents were probably responsible in some form or another. They used to be buyers for Sears' Women's clothing line back in the seventies.

They also never understand why I only wear solid colors.
posted by thecaddy at 9:24 AM on March 20, 2005


I was born in 1973 and not only did I by definition wear seventies-era stuff, but I also had Cindy Brady hair (you know, the bangs and the ringlets). I reprach my mother frequently and bitterly. She insists that it all looked good at the time.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2005


Jon, I've seen pictures of myself in eighties clothes--there's no way in hell that they were as bad as these, at least not for kids.
posted by dame at 9:40 AM on March 20, 2005


Give it a few years, dame, or perhaps you're mom had better taste than most. I was born in 1970 so I had a kid's eye view of the whole shebang. As in all things the seventies were much more pleasant than the eighties. Compare these two box sets to see what I mean. (I am firmly of the belief that you can judge an era best by it's ephemera). The 70's at least had some residual flavor of the sixties about them. The eighties were just....yech.
posted by jonmc at 9:44 AM on March 20, 2005


I wish somebody would find and scan an '80s catalog so we could have a basis for comparison.

And then I remembered this.
posted by alumshubby at 9:56 AM on March 20, 2005


But 1980 isn't the 80s except in the purely chronological sense. The 80s didn't start until, say, 82, and probably didn't even last until 1/1/90.

For normal kid clothes, the 80s were less awful, or at least awful in more muted ways, unless you were actually trying to dress like someone from The Breakfast Club. Blue jeans and polo shirts, while dull, aren't aesthetic nightmares. Parachute pants were a legitimate Lovecraftian horror, but the tight jeans on the girls made up for them. And you didn't have to wear the parachute pants, but the 70s horrible styles seemed to leech into everything so that there was no escape.

Either way, better than bell-bottom corduroys with an eight-kinds-of-brown-splotches buttondown polyester shirt like I have a picture of me wearing when I was 8 or so.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 AM on March 20, 2005


"Here comes a brownie" on a t-shirt seems to be in a very bad taste.
posted by nagunak at 10:18 AM on March 20, 2005


In the mid '70s went to a "cool" middle school where I found out too late that one did not dress like a Sears model. I actually liked some of that stuff, especially the striped pants, big-cord bell-bottoms and belted sweaters. I bet I could get away with wearing those clothes now: anybody who laughed would be told to "Pull up YOUR pants over your butt cheeks, this is not a prison bitch audition."

I've got eBay in another Firefox tab. Guess why.
posted by davy at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2005


"Here comes a brownie" on a t-shirt seems to be in a very bad taste.

You'd rather it was on the briefs?
posted by jonmc at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2005


We had one of those "portable" color TV's when I was a kid. Akin to attaching a flimsy handle onto a refrigerator and calling it "portable."
posted by evilcolonel at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2005


I was also expecting something far worse. I have seen enough pictures of 70's fashions to know that generally it was truly awful - I still cringe whenever I see a photo of someone in full 70's regalia, even if I have no idea who it is. However, everything in here, except the clothes maybe, looks fairly unremarkable. I agree the lamps are beautiful, not far off from what was on a home design show on tv last night. I actually don't mind the bedspreads, even if I would never use them. Even the mirror tile wall is kind of cool. I was a kid during the seventies, but thankfully, my mother never made me wear anything worse than somewhat ill fitting cordouroy pants. I must confess, however, that I will always have a horror of olive colored appliances and orange shag rugs.
posted by blue shadows at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2005


I will always have a horror of olive colored appliances

I thought it was "avocado." Our blender was that color if I recall corectly. We also had zodiac themed paintings in our wood paneled basement.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2005


I agree with ROU... There is never a discrete line between when one decade ends and one begins when it comes to culture. I always think of the 80's as staring with Michael Jackson's Thriller released 1982.
Don't know much about the 70's since I was born in '73, wore underroos(spider-man of course), and even performed in a white disco outfit for my parents' friends.
posted by MrMulan at 10:46 AM on March 20, 2005


Is that Gwenyth on the right?

No, but it could be her mother Blythe Danner, who looked amazingly like Paltrow when she was younger. (Though I doubt she'd be modeling for a Sears catalog by the 70s).
posted by braun_richard at 10:48 AM on March 20, 2005


*Looks at mefites*

Mefites, in public : Yak yak, 70 bad 70 yuk Disco Stu no 70 for me !

Mefites, right wing : Those dirty hippies ! *secretely thinks that the Pimp suit will make him look sexalicious to the other sex...Frank the mailboy being the other sex*

Mefites, left wing : Those demode freaks ! *secretely wishes she could afford that "I look Miss perfect but for you I'm a slut" slutty suit and the escapade quickie with the mail boy..end up marrying the above rightwinger sighing for Frank*
posted by elpapacito at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2005


the rest of the mefites: I bet pot was really cheap then.
posted by jonmc at 10:58 AM on March 20, 2005


If you buy into fashion, you are condemmed to a life of insecure, expensive superficiality, at the end of which time you will be hoisted on your own petard. Do you really think the people you offend by wearing whatever you want are worth knowing?

And it might be Gwenyth, but it's not Gwyneth.
Please.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:25 AM on March 20, 2005


yes, jonmc, pot was really cheap back then ... but it wasn't quite as good ... at least in 75/76

in 1971, we were still in the 60s ... after watergate and the oil shock, the 70s began in earnest ... and i'd say mrmulan's date of '82 is probably right for the 80s

i was 14 in 1971 ... i remember looking through that catalog ... it seemed normal then ...
posted by pyramid termite at 11:59 AM on March 20, 2005


Jon, I'm sorry, but we can no longer be friends. The music of the seventies pales before the glory that was the eighies. You'll just have to accept my childhood was better than yours. And better dressed.
posted by dame at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2005


And you know, I think the "I don't even know if I'm being ironic anymore" nostalgia isn't so nefarious as people suspect. It's just a rememberance of one's childhood combined with the money and autonomy to enjoy it this time around. What we heard as kids forms our taste more than we'd like to admit--for instance, people I know who were kids before the eighties are not so into electroclash, but those casios just make me feel warm & safe.
posted by dame at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2005


What we heard as kids forms our taste more than we'd like to admit--for instance, people I know who were kids before the eighties are not so into electroclash, but those casios just make me feel warm & safe.

Oh yeah. Just like my digging the Black Crowes.
posted by jonmc at 12:56 PM on March 20, 2005


Oh, I'll bet there're bands towards whom you feel tenderly for no logical reason. And if we look hard enough, that reason will be spotted resting among the detritus of the seventies, like diamond in a pile of zirconia.
posted by dame at 1:08 PM on March 20, 2005


I never heard the term "electroclash" until now. I feel old and out of it, and it feels great.

The 80s sucked. I should know, I was there.
posted by keswick at 1:09 PM on March 20, 2005


Oh, I'll bet there're bands towards whom you feel tenderly for no logical reason.

I feel tenderly towards all the music I like for no logical reason. It's music, what does logic have to do with it? And I honestly do like the Crowes, probably at least somewhat because distorted guitars, wah-wah and Jaggeresque vocals remind me of the 70's of my tykedom.

But the songs are great, too. All the nostalgia in the world wont help if those aren't there.

The 80s sucked. I should know, I was there.

I spent most of the 80's wishing it was the sixties. Around '87 or so the proto-90's began to get underway, so things weren't so bad for awhile, then petered out around '95. But truth be told, I've never really felt like a member of my own generation, or even that cohesive "generations" really exist except as a way to cut history into snack size chunks.
posted by jonmc at 1:22 PM on March 20, 2005


(me in 72 or 73)

Everyone had those curtains and wallpapers and other stuff, but not those clothes. Maybe hicks wore them, but not normal people. We did pore over the catalogs and wishbooks every year tho. : >
posted by amberglow at 1:29 PM on March 20, 2005


The 80s sucked. I should know, I was there.

That's because you were in the real eighites, not the refracted dream eighties of a five-year-old.

But the songs are great, too. All the nostalgia in the world wont help if those aren't there.

Definitely. But I don't think the nostalgia is as ironic as anyone wants to pretend. Which I think was once my point.

Anyway, keswick, I should tell you that my affection for electroclash--both as a style and a term--is actually very 2001. It's all about the new noise bands now.
posted by dame at 1:42 PM on March 20, 2005


But truth be told, I've never really felt like a member of my own generation

You and me both, Jon.

I was born in 73, moved to a small town in NorCal in 79. My memories of the 70s were very SoCal, avacado, Kodachrome. Good times.

The town I lived in from 79-92 almost existed out of time. Hell, there were still local grocers and a local department store there, and the whole damn town was closed on Sundays. It was like growing up in the early 60s.
posted by keswick at 2:25 PM on March 20, 2005


My sister was born in 1970. I was born in 1980. My mother managed to dress me in hand-me-down avocado green polyester pantsuits and plaid ponchos until i was nine or ten. I'll never forgive her.
posted by makonan at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2005


I have a 1978 Sears catalog at home. One day it will be brought to you digitally. When I can stomach it. Plus it's really big. This is good.
posted by bdave at 2:48 PM on March 20, 2005


I have a 1978 Sears catalog at home. One day it will be brought to you digitally. When I can stomach it. Plus it's really big. This is good.

Oh man, I remember when these would come out around September. I would literally spend hours looking through these. mmmm, Star Wars
posted by keswick at 2:56 PM on March 20, 2005


Does anyone remember the Sears Christmas Wish book? The toy section in that was the ultimate porn for kids.
posted by orange swan at 4:45 PM on March 20, 2005


Man, those clothes are all so vivid that I think they would have upset the stoners. I can't imagine tripping in the same room with some of those patterns. But then, my parents were hippies...so we had lots of tie-dye and folk art everywhere so it's not like I have much room to giggle at the bad stripes. Hee. Some of the non-fashion ads are great too...and the commentary is amusing me to no end.
posted by dejah420 at 5:29 PM on March 20, 2005


yes, i remember that wish book ... a couple years before that, the toys were included in the main catalog, but i guess it got to be too much ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:51 PM on March 20, 2005


But with the added flourish of a scarf and ring cravat kind of thing.

Those were called "Apache scarfs", and I had a few myself. My mom was never so cruel as to dress me in those insta-boots, though, but my girlfriend had a pair in white! In 1971, I was in the fifth grade, and my mom bought our clothes at K-Mart and Federal's and places like that (which actually turned out more fashionable stuff than Sears.) Then in 1972/73, hip-hugger pants were all the rage, and Pants Galore was the place to get them. These kids today think they're something other than else with their low-slung pants...hell, we were wearing those before their parents were born! (By cracky.) Anyone want to bet whether the fashion wheel will continue full circle, and next on the hip parade will be those high-waisted baggy pants with the big bells and large cuffs?
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:07 PM on March 20, 2005


bells are definitely back, but not called that anymore. I remember my elephant bells : >
posted by amberglow at 6:11 PM on March 20, 2005


Between the memories stirred by this and the nasty bugs thread, I won't be sleeping for a week. Centipedes in plaid pants....
posted by five fresh fish at 6:25 PM on March 20, 2005


My 1970 Sears "shirt with a built-in vest". I was a hawt lil' six year old.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:25 PM on March 20, 2005


I watched my first pornographic movie (and saw a fully naked woman up close for the first time in said movie) in a garage-turned-den complete with fake wood paneling and one wall completely covered in those damn mirror tiles.
posted by mrbill at 11:26 PM on March 20, 2005


"Here comes a brownie" on a t-shirt seems to be in a very bad taste.

Yeah, it'd be better on the hip pocket.
posted by mono blanco at 9:47 PM on March 21, 2005


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