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1977 Penney Catalog
November 7, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back. No one under 30 will really get it...
posted by Doohickie (83 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
amazing! once again, the email forward i got yesterday is the best of the web today!
posted by quonsar at 11:02 AM on November 7, 2007 [6 favorites]


quonsar, you get the best email forwards. The only ones I get are about how Jesus loves me and I should forward it to at least 73 people in order to stay in his good graces.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:04 AM on November 7, 2007


Reminiscent of the "It came from the JCPenney catalog" post of a couple of winters ago.

These clothes didn't seem nearly so dorky back when, y'know, everybody was actually wearing similar stuff. Some of this reminds me of middle school and high school before I was too big for hand-me-downs and I started having some input on my parents' clothing purchases for me.
posted by pax digita at 11:05 AM on November 7, 2007


OK, so I was all prepared to come in here and snark about how I get it, because I'm perfectly capable of getting jokes that reference things that pre-date my existence.

Then I realized I'd never seen that J C Penney catalogue and felt bad. I really didn't get the joke. Then I read the blog post and realized that I got it just fine.

Redemption is mine. And that barrel furniture is hot.
posted by empyrean at 11:05 AM on November 7, 2007


Well, you had your chance to post it, quonsar, and you blew it.
posted by Doohickie at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


My dad got me a light lime green polyester leisure suit for my high school graduation. It was worn one for one hour before my girlfriend and I buried it somewhere in D.C.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2007


Does it reflect badly on me that I want every one of these jackets?

Yes?

Okay, can I then jump forward in time to tell myself to go back in time and tell me not to click 'post comment' now?

No?

Okay.
posted by Kattullus at 11:07 AM on November 7, 2007


It was worn one time for one hour before my girlfriend and I buried it somewhere in D.C.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:07 AM on November 7, 2007


These clothes didn't seem nearly so dorky back when, y'know, everybody was actually wearing similar stuff.
No, they were dorky back then too. I remember NEVER wearing the leisure suit my mom bought for me that year.
posted by Doohickie at 11:08 AM on November 7, 2007


I may be under 30, but ugliness is forever.
And that was amazing.
posted by bassjump at 11:10 AM on November 7, 2007


Thank you for this post! Makes my day stuck in a cubicle just a little brighter.
posted by Mardigan at 11:10 AM on November 7, 2007


It was worn one time for one hour before my girlfriend and I buried it somewhere in D.C.

Who's D.C.?
posted by Ziggurat at 11:11 AM on November 7, 2007


Oh, that's sweet. The yellow jumpsuit is hawt. And the barrel furniture? My parents still have the full set in their basement.
posted by slogger at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2007


Mmm! Sexy sexy! We buried that sucker in the ground in D.C.
Considering the material, I'm sure it's as fresh as a daisy and in perfect condition. Somewhere near Silver Spring...or was it
Park Road. Oh yeah...I forgot..my mom got me a pair of plaid checkerboard square bell-bottomed jeans for my Jr. High school trip. Wore them once before Doctor Who showed up and destroyed them.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:17 AM on November 7, 2007


Ha!

Look at the funny clothes! Look at the dopey models and their goofy chest hair! What numbskulls they all were! What poor taste they all had!

Ha!
posted by notyou at 11:18 AM on November 7, 2007


Makes me miss my grandma's house, where I used to pore over catalogs endlessly as a child.

Disappointing that the comments take on the typical insecure juvenile attitude toward chest-hair and tight-fitting swimwear, which are (and always have been) two of the best parts of being robustly male.
posted by hermitosis at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2007


I had a blue polyester leisure suit in 1977 and I vividly remember looking at old magazines and catalogs from the 1950s and laughing at the dorky styles with all the skinny lapels and ties and the crew cuts. We were so much cooler than they were.
posted by briank at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2007


Reminds me of:

Threadbared (RIP)

Hand Knits for Young Moderns
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:22 AM on November 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


My grandfather STILL wears those jumpsuits. They're great, I guess, for sitting around playing video games. You really can't beat owning the latest Playstation AND a jumpsuit at 80 years of age.
posted by katillathehun at 11:26 AM on November 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


When I clicked on the link, I thought for a second that The Sartorialist was doing a Brooklyn-only special.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:27 AM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's times like this that I'm quite thankful that I went to a uniform wearing school in the late '70s early '80s. I have no memory of dressing anything like this, and for that, I'm truly grateful.

I remember the decor though. We actually had a shag-rug toilet seat cover.

*shudders*
posted by quin at 11:28 AM on November 7, 2007


Previously ripped-off here: How to Get Laid in 1977 and Your Ass Kicked in 2007
posted by designbot at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2007


Just hope that in 30 years people aren't loading up Metafilter in their flying cars to see a LOL2007 post with a picture of you in it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:29 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Being over 30, I was really hoping this would be something I didn't get. Then maybe I could fret & hummanuh hummanuh & have something to discuss with my wife later in the evening. But a 1977 JC Penney catalogue? Weak sauce.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:31 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this my day to have the last comment before the post is vanished?
posted by Mister_A at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2007


I:

a) am under 30
b) "got" it
c) was quite amused
d) think this was a worthwhile FPP
posted by ORthey at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2007


Previously, kinda.
posted by zsazsa at 11:47 AM on November 7, 2007


No Parisian nightsuit, no credibility.
posted by escabeche at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2007


I'm remembering wearing some plaid twill flare-leg jeans from either JCP or Sears, from the catalog, around '77 or '78. They were the kind that were visibly plaid when seen from a city block away, but they looked OK w/ a solid colored shirt.

And our kitchen (a succession of them in various places, actually) and our neighbors' kitchens were replete with appliances in Harvest Gold, Coppertone Brown and Avocado Green.

Yeah, I guess in 2037 here on Metafilter somebody's going to have a link to a "wayback machine" -type cache site showing us some online fashions from American Apparel, Old Navy, AberZombie and Fitch, Banana Republic etc. And 40/50somethings will tsk, "To think I used to dress that way!"
posted by pax digita at 12:00 PM on November 7, 2007


You know what really sucks? This.
posted by Mister_A at 12:01 PM on November 7, 2007


All I've got to say is, at least back then we knew how to keep our pants up...

Damn, if you guys are gonna laugh at this, wait about 40 years and see what they think of the crap you're wearing now...

what goes around comes around... :)
posted by HuronBob at 12:05 PM on November 7, 2007


Man, I have positively SOAKED some of those shag toilet seat covers with urine in my time, whoever invented those fucking things had a pee fetish for sure. There is a particular sort of hunched posture that one had to assume if one did not want the over-padded toilet seat to spring closed in media piss, very unnatural, one hand on the lid, one aiming the stream, bad news, not good for the spirit or the innards, I am sure.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2007


By 1977 I was well into the jeans and t-shirt phase of my life (which continues to this day) and I wouldn't have bought or worn any of this stuff. Well, except for that one polyester "disco" shirt I wore to impress the ladies at the bars.
posted by tommasz at 12:12 PM on November 7, 2007


It was what it was and in th euniverse of what it was it was funny. Maybe even a little funnier than most, maybe I'm just having a down moment, but it was a good good laugh.

thanks.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2007


what goes around comes around...

You ain't kidding. I went to an upscale-ish clothing store recently and was shocked to see how much of the design coming into favor seems to be straight out of the '60s and '70s. I got a major Go Go dancer vibe off a lot of it.
posted by quin at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2007


I remember being in houses where they had these things. You had to hold the goddamned lid and seat up with one hand to take a piss, otherwise the goddamned lid would fall down because of that thick carpeting. Besides that, I'm kind of tall, so I'd have to hunch over to hold the damned thing up, meanwhile using my other hand to maneuver my zipper and junk.

Obviously designed, made by and sold to people who sit down to pee.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:20 PM on November 7, 2007


I wore an "Edwardian vest suit" to my grad. It was sort of tree trunk coloured. I wore it with a mauve paisley shirt. People took pictures. They still exist. One is in a frame on my parents' living room mantle. Right beside the one of my brother in his Mountie graduating red serge dress uniform. This post mitigates mine somewhat now, because it gives me proof for my own teenaged daughter that it was, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, actually fashionable.

Dorky, wretched, poofy, pansy, lounge-lizardly execrable. But fashionable.

My God I need a Mod Squad re-run right about now!
posted by Mike D at 12:22 PM on November 7, 2007


Honestly, this sickens me. Hatred towards people from the past is the last acceptable form of bigotry and it needs to stop. What if this was pages from a yarmulke catalog? Or dashiki? Would we be laughing? What's next, LOLVICTORIANUNDERWEAR? LOLSUMERIANSHOES? C'mon, people.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:25 PM on November 7, 2007


There's a lot of this kind of thing on the blog at Plaid Stallions.
posted by MegoSteve at 12:36 PM on November 7, 2007


Dr Venture calls them Speed Suits.
posted by shmegegge at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Are shag-rug toilet seat covers themselves bad? Or is it just the color green one in the catalog? Because I have a bright orange shag-rug toilet seat cover. It came with two matching bright orange bath carpets. It goes very well with my swirly purple and orange shower curtain. Gosh, I hate to think I was unknowingly committing some decorating faux-pas with that shag-rug bit.
posted by marxchivist at 12:47 PM on November 7, 2007


Pax Digita -

That'd be Abercrombie and Felch. Get it right, dude.
posted by Sk4n at 12:48 PM on November 7, 2007


As someone who graduated High School in 1977, I can assure you that I understand. In retrospect, it seems fairly obvious that the culture was being prepared for Disco.
posted by spock at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2007


I'm 43 and I REALLY want to live to be 80something, if just to see the looks on the then-40-yr-olds faces when the kids make fun of droopy pants and other fashions of today.
posted by bornjewish at 12:49 PM on November 7, 2007


This JC Penney catalog is like a bad flashback, man. I had the misfortune to spend my tender formative years in the 1970s, the low point in fashion history of the last 300 years. (Seriously, you have to go back to the 1660s to see uglier styles, like petticoat breeches for men.)

Anyway, exposure to toxic levels of hip-huggers, platform shoes, disco suits and, worst of all, polyester doubleknit, has left me a pitiful fashion cripple, wearing only style-less clothes for fear of embracing a "look" that will make me cringe in a few years. Like I do now when I go to my parents' house and see my old clothes still in the closet. (They still fit so Mom thinks they're worth keeping. I think Mom may be part of my fashion problem...)

You young'uns like to rag on the '80s, but believe me, to a survivor of the 1970s that decade was like a return to sanity. It was like going from polyester to cotton, in fact.
posted by Quietgal at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like how no one in the past is fat.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh yes I did.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:55 PM on November 7, 2007


My thought exactly, shmegegge.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 1:01 PM on November 7, 2007


Huh? I'll be 28 next week and I "get it" just fine. I remember these catalogs from my childhood.
posted by agregoli at 1:08 PM on November 7, 2007


My dad got me a light lime green polyester leisure suit for my high school graduation. It was worn one for one hour before my girlfriend and I buried it somewhere in D.C.

Yeah, same here. Except it was Chandra Levy.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:12 PM on November 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


There's something to be said for chest hair, though. When did the male ideal become "hairless freak"? I suppose the ladies must be thinking turnabout is fair play - although I understand the new female ideal is "pre-pubescent". Ick, ick, ick.
posted by bonecrusher at 1:12 PM on November 7, 2007


My God I need a Mod Squad re-run right about now!

Mod Squad intro.
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, for the halcyon days of yore, when feathered hair was king (and before the civil rights do-gooders had forced through legislation allowing Negroes with neat 'fros to be mainstream models).
posted by rob511 at 1:19 PM on November 7, 2007


Laugh all you want, but if I had that terrycloth jumpsuit in my closet, I'd be putting it on right now. Looks comfy, yo.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:24 PM on November 7, 2007


I like how no one in the past is fat.

No, they were "husky".
posted by everichon at 1:32 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's something to be said for chest hair, though. When did the male ideal become "hairless freak"?

I was just wondering this. As a hairy male who is not hawt in any case, if I was cruising the singles scene the base-line expectation these days would be for me to shave my entire body? Who has that kind of time?
posted by maxwelton at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2007


When did the male ideal become "hairless freak"?

as a hairles* male, i resent your implication that my hairlessness makes me a freak.

there are about six or seven things entirely unrelated to my lack of chest hair that make me a freak.

*(relatively hairless on chest, arms and legs: there's plenty of hair on the top of my head, in the form of 'locks.)
posted by lord_wolf at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2007


I don't mind so much that I wore a silver tuxedo with a pink tie to my prom, or even that I have a picture of myself in this outfit. What I mind is that somewhere in America, there is a woman who was forced to sit next to me at Benihana and then danced to the Cure with me who is trying to explain my ridiculous get up to her teenage children.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2007


here's some shoes
posted by nervousfritz at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2007


Having lived through the 1980s, in looking at this catalog, I have come to the stunning realization that nobody dresses like the models in catalogs.

Shocking, I realize, but true.

Real kids in the 1980s mostly dressed in jeans and t-shirts.
posted by Malor at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2007


I wish I could say "just because the clothes were in a catalog doesn't mean people dressed like that", but unfortunately, I have a photo of my brother and I, ages 8 and10, circa 1980, wearing matching western-style shirts: one blue plaid, one red plaid, with white pocket flaps, white cuffs, and collar. I would post the photo but the Internet might break.
posted by Lord Kinbote at 2:07 PM on November 7, 2007


personally, i want to see the 1977 sears christmas wish book not the 1977 jcpenny catalog.
posted by RockyChrysler at 2:30 PM on November 7, 2007


Look at any J.C. Penny ad on TV today. It's just as funny.

The clothes and styles are knockoffs and always behind the times- by a couple of years or so (that's why they are so cheap).

What's funny is they have these upmarket-style ads to make people think the clothes are happening. Target and Kohl's do the same.
posted by wfc123 at 2:43 PM on November 7, 2007


Oh, I owned a mint green polyester gaberdine suit with a vest. And matching poly-print shirt.

Mind you, I was 14. And I am female.

By the time the 80's came along I had discovered punk, and wore nothing but black clothes, in lots of jersey knit, with funky haircuts and big pieces of silver jewelry: a look which I still cling to, in varous incarnations.

Some looks date better than others. I can still wear some old pieces of Comme Des Garcons.
posted by jrochest at 2:48 PM on November 7, 2007


In 30 years, someone will post a current fashion catalog and laugh at how absurd we all are for dressing as we do now.

The cycle continues.
posted by Dantien at 2:58 PM on November 7, 2007


I saw a set of that barrel furniture in Slovakia three years ago. At the time I assumed it was someone’s homemade conversion but it looked exactly like the set in the catalog.
posted by Tenuki at 3:09 PM on November 7, 2007


i remember those photos of the matching male/female outfits (especially the swimsuits).

i was 7 when this catalog came out. my thought at the time: "i wonder if my husband and i will be that happy."

funny, that.

thanks for the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back machine!
posted by CitizenD at 3:22 PM on November 7, 2007


I never dressed like that. Oh, wait a minute. In 1972 my boyfriend's mother gave us matching shirts for Christmas. We wore them, together, in public, to school. But, I really didn't want to. I think my parents even made fun of me. After that it was all flannel shirts and big ole bell bottoms for me.
posted by wv kay in ga at 4:15 PM on November 7, 2007


hehe...

the more wine you drink as you read this thread, the more fun it is...

DISCO!!!!!!
posted by HuronBob at 5:36 PM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whatever.

At least fashion was sort of forward looking and had a sense of optimism. There was a lack of gigantic megabuck mechandising there as well.

I wouldn't want to walk around in sweaty polyester all day, but we've lost something as a country since then.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 5:37 PM on November 7, 2007


A JC Penney catalog like that was an object of sniggering when I was but a wee snark in the late '70s, tho I'm not sure what my pre-po-mo pre-teen friends and I knew what we were laughing at. The blatant upgrading of '50s happy white consumerism, which didn't look a thing like the families we or our classmates had? The hideousness of matching cowboy shirts, when none of us had what was then called "intact" families? I wasn't even in junior high yet, but advertising smelled like a big scam even then.

Except: I did love my denim jumpsuit, until a crossing guard asked me (in front of everyone!) if I had to take the whole thing off in order to go to the toilet.
posted by goofyfoot at 5:44 PM on November 7, 2007


My God I need a Mod Squad re-run right about now!

Mod Squad intro.
posted by ericb


That intro...wow!! Makes absolutely 100% ZERO sense but frakkin' hell what a thing of pulse pounding TV police drama beauty. I think half the reason I kept tuning in to that show was to see if they would finally finally explain what the hellwas going on.

Wish they would come out on DVD already, such a good cast: Michael Cole as "Peter" and Peggy Lipton as "Julie" and Clarence Williams III as "Link" jumping 68 feet to catch some nasty murderer or LSD suckin' flower child whack job. (Ever notice how every show ended with Link jumping 68 feet? Link in his jumbo Ray bans was one BAAAA-AADDD Motherfucker. Like a super hero or something.)
posted by Skygazer at 6:31 PM on November 7, 2007


Yeah, fine, site there in your blue jeans, your sweat shirt, and your baseball cap and mock people who once actually tried to be sartorially adventuresome, and mock a time when that sense of adventure had gone mainstream.

Then pull your pants up. Your fucking underwear is showing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:49 PM on November 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


"We superior beings of the 21st century must remind ourselves of the gauche tastes of the past." (from)
posted by goatdog at 8:15 PM on November 7, 2007


bonecrusher writes "When did the male ideal become 'hairless freak'?"

In the 1980s.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:55 PM on November 7, 2007


Remember when flares came back recently? Everyone was all CHECK OUT MY FLARES and I was all HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE SEVENTIES?!? DID THE YOUNG ONES GET CANCELLED SO THAT THIS COULD OCCUR AGAIN?!? HAVE WE NO SHAME?!?

Turns out, we have no shame. Who knew?
posted by Sparx at 2:59 AM on November 8, 2007


Yeah, fine, site there in your blue jeans, your sweat shirt, and your baseball cap and mock people who once actually tried to be sartorially adventuresome, and mock a time when that sense of adventure had gone mainstream.

That is exactly what I love about 70's fashion. The stuff in that JC Penney catalog warms my heart. It has so much personality, which is something I can't say about anything popular now.

As for the last panel... he's mocking professional women's clothing from the 1970's because it was unsexy?

Wow, progress.
posted by zebra3 at 7:29 AM on November 8, 2007


I love the faux western wear--they put the ewe in dude.
posted by emanresubmud at 7:51 AM on November 8, 2007


When did the male ideal become "hairless freak"?

i don't get any guy who takes proactive measures to be hairless, and he can stay out of my bed. facial hair has to be shaved yes, watching a guy shave his face is seXXXy, but if you wax or laser treat more areas of your body than i do or use more hair products, you can forget asking me out - you need a guy, not a woman. personally, i like the difference between men and women, otherwise i'd be looking for my own lipstick kitten.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:36 AM on November 8, 2007


As for the last panel... he's mocking professional women's clothing from the 1970's because it was unsexy?

No, he's mocking it because it's spectacularly ugly.
posted by h00py at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2007


This is 10 kinds of awesome.
posted by triv at 6:30 AM on November 9, 2007


empyrean writes "Redemption is mine. And that barrel furniture is hot."

Bizarrely it seems to be back in style, I saw a very similar set (microfiber instead of naughyde) while shopping for a dining room set this week.
posted by Mitheral at 10:07 AM on November 10, 2007


Bizarrely it seems to be back in style, I saw a very similar set (microfiber instead of naughyde) while shopping for a dining room set this week.

Just goes to show. Good taste never goes out of style.

*Grin*
posted by Skygazer at 1:46 PM on November 10, 2007


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