Taking the '70s more seriously
October 17, 2014 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Style Gone Wild: Why We Can't Shake the 1970s

Collectors Weekly: What prompted such radical changes in popular fashion?

Lutyens: One reason was that people in the West were becoming increasingly affluent, and this gave young people the confidence to question their parents’ values. Because they had money, they could be more independent. Society was also becoming much more liberal as well because you had things like the legalization of homosexuality and the legalization of divorce. People were allowed to be themselves more without being judged by other people.

Then the three main minority movements — feminism, black civil rights, and gay liberation — all these minorities had been marginalized until the late ’60s. In the ’70s they began to assert themselves more and become more visible. So their style became more visible, and it influenced mainstream fashion.
A good example of this is the black civil rights activist Angela Davis who wore an Afro hairdo, which was completely natural, because she felt that she didn’t want to conform to white Western ideas of what black people should look like. This would not have happened without the political movement that was going on, so politics was influencing style.
Amazon link to the book under discussion.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (61 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Interesting how the 40 Year Rule still holds, the 70s had an infatuation with the 30s, and now we're seeing a bumper crop of 70s-set or inspired movies.
posted by The Whelk at 7:50 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hmm. I was around in the 70's, and don't remember any nostalgia for the Depression years. Here is an alternative view of the 40 Year Rule.
posted by kozad at 7:56 AM on October 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


One argument I remember as to why we keep going back to the 70s well is that it was a time when fashion and design was both really experimental and diverse, and also very accessible - so you had lots of micro genres and styles coming out of people mixing and matching, so there is a lot of STUFF to mine for inspiration.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Retro revival happens long enough after the initial instance that everyone forgot why the rebelled against it in the first place. There are examples in the Slate "alternative view" link from kozad that point to "revivals" happening all the damned time, not in nice and clean 20, 30 or 40 year cycles. Revival fads rise and fall, often with lags in adoption, so when one region is getting over the fad, it's just picking up somewhere else, like ripples spreading out in a pool.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2014


Oooh, great post! I actually have that Cheap Chic book (bought it used when I was a teenager in 1979, and so glad I hung on to it after all this time)! I don't really use it as a guideline, but it's fun to leaf through it and see what was considered "cheap chic" back in the 70's. I know that vintage is NOT cheap these days, and it's very mainstream; it's a glimpse into a bygone world to read that it was both inexpensive and innovative/eccentric back then.

I also recall the 70's as a time when pants for women were adopted by the mainstream. I think that trend started in the late 60's, but when I was a little girl (late 60's/early 70's) many people still believed that women belonged in dresses or skirts. My grandma and great-aunt wore skirts and dresses most of the time, and these things called "housedresses" or "housecoats" to lounge around in instead of sweats or pajamas. (It was NOT done to wear pajamas in the daytime unless you were sick, at least among the adults I knew.) Last year, I was invited to a church Christmas play by my neighbors, and I (non-churchgoer) asked what I should wear - do I need to dress up? My neighbor laughed and said, "Everyone wears jeans!" My grandma would spin in her grave to see me wearing jeans to church! That was NOT done in her day, nor even in the 70's IIRC. So I can see where the 70's was a watershed as far as jeans for every day is concerned. Ditto clothes like those floaty gauze skirts from India, which were innovative back then, but absolutely common and unremarkable in the summer where I live - it gets stinkin' hot here, and those skirts are so nice and cool.

Finally, that paragraph buried at the end makes an excellent point - rent was so cheap in the 70's, even in places like San Francisco, that you didn't need a lot of money to live well and look nice. Imagine being able to have welfare as your "day job" while performing in a band like the Cockettes did, now! Not only is San Francisco unaffordable even for the middle class, the outrage at someone having the! nerve! to draw welfare while performing onstage would pierce the rafters. I don't miss the 70's, and I don't believe in "good old days," but it's interesting to see the attitude changes as well as fashion.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:21 AM on October 17, 2014 [17 favorites]


I still have my copy of Cheap Chic and I don't have words to say how big an effect that had on my style and still has to this day.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:28 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I was around in the 70's, and don't remember any nostalgia for the Depression years.

yeah, I was around as well. The BIG nostalgia movement of the 70s was very much the sockhop 50s and early pre-psychedelic 60s. American Graffiti, Happy Days, etc. Annoying as hell if you were young and just wanted to focus on what was new and cool, the David Bowies, the Black Sabbaths, all those big deal disaster movies.
posted by philip-random at 8:44 AM on October 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


The BIG nostalgia movement of the 70s was very much the sockhop 50s and early pre-psychedelic 60s. American Graffiti, Happy Days, etc.

I'd suggest, then, that there was a supplementary "1890's" nostalgia movement which spawned the whole Gunne Sax thing. Or maybe that was just for little girls.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 AM on October 17, 2014


yeah, I was around as well. The BIG nostalgia movement of the 70s was very much the sockhop 50s and early pre-psychedelic 60s. American Graffiti, Happy Days, etc. Annoying as hell if you were young and just wanted to focus on what was new and cool, the David Bowies, the Black Sabbaths, all those big deal disaster movies.

The 70s were very much (in part) a reaction against the 'excesses' of the '60s. See, for example, Nixon. The fashion, though amplified, had already been depoliticized and commodified, with social change being substituted for 'personal development'
posted by leotrotsky at 8:49 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gauchos, ladies, gauchos.
posted by chapps at 8:51 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


My grandma would spin in her grave to see me wearing jeans to church! That was NOT done in her day, nor even in the 70's IIRC.

What's crucial about this period is that the pressure to wear clean, tailored, pressed, reasonably new, reasonably fashionable clothing for social occasions was near universal.

Today we wear clothes; in the seventies (and eras prior to it) we "dressed." Dressing meant selecting an outfit corresponding to the event and venue. Church? Suit and tie. Work? Suit and tie (white-collar jobs); company uniform (blue-collar jobs). Social occasions like parties, weddings, nights on the town? Expensive leisurewear, with long sleeves, trousers, and leather shoes as a necessity, no matter how informal the gathering. Jeans (called "dungarees"), running shoes ("sneakers"), and T-shirts were seen as work clothes, inappropriate for most social events. High-end kicks didn't exist. Designer T-shirts didn't exist. Raw denim was just that--the product used in your wrinkled, stained Levis.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:53 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


I do remember the 30s nostalgia thing... Maybe more prevalent in early 70s. Paper Moon and They Shoot Horses Don't They were big popular movies set in the depression. My high school had 50s days though, and of course Happy Days, The Fonz and ShaNaNa were big. I wore many of my mother's college clothes from the 50s.

I also distinctly remember people bemoaning the fact that the 70s had no style of its own because everything was about nostalgia.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:54 AM on October 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


Hmm. I was around in the 70's, and don't remember any nostalgia for the Depression years.

I was going to argue against that point using IMDb tag "great-depression" as Exhibit A, but looking at it, I realize that while a good chunk of the big Depression-set movies were made in or around the seventies, despite that bump, the only hard rule seems to be that the Great Depression was practically verboten subject matter in the 1950s, probably because it's hard to make a movie about that sort of thing without seeming a little bit Communist.

But, hey: The Waltons.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love reading interviews like this where you have perceptive people who are really into their particular interests, in this case 70s fashion. I feel like these folks are doing the rest of us a service, diving into the depths and bringing up the pearls so we don't have to.

That 40 Year Rule thing is a nice try but I don't buy it for a second. Pop eats itself and nostalgia will kick in as soon as enough time goes by, not 40 years. When you're too close to an era the unfortunate parts are too fresh. In the 1980s the 70s were literally a joke.

Here's Bobcat Goldthwait in 1987 trying to imagine what 1970s nostalgia would look like.

There's some meta-nostalgia right there, what sort of cultural mindwarp was America in the 80s in which a character like Goldthwait could have his own comedy specials, be a recognized movie star, etc?
posted by jeremias at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


All this happened in the 70s mainstream but it started in the 60s. Really it started in the 1910s with Modernism's wholesale rejection of everything, radical experiments that went mainstream by the 1930s, and continued once the wars and depression had subsided.
posted by stbalbach at 9:01 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gauchos, ladies, gauchos.

*blink*

As God is my witness, I totally forgot about gauchos until just this very moment. And I think I even WORE a pair as part of a first-day-of-school ensemble in second grade or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Gauchos, ladies, gauchos.
posted by chapps at 8:51 AM on October 17 [+] [!]


lol (I loved my gauchos. And they were so unflattering. Never again).

The Depression nostalgia was mostly a Bonnie and Clyde fad, wasn't it? Showed up in the form of t-strap shoes and knitted hats/berets, if I recall. Sort of a mini-fad.

I had many fights with my parents over When It is Ok to Wear Pants. Not just church, but random functions where it was not ok. Even though I had some very nice pants. But by the time I was out of elementary, the battle was over. My dad held firm on No Pants at Sunday Morning Church, but Sunday night and other church activities were fine.

Little House on the Prairie and Holly Hobby fueled a lot of the pioneer nostalgia. Long dresses with smocked fronts on little girls everywhere. I think it was useful for absorbing a lot of leftover hippie fashion; long hair, flower prints, ugly shoes.
posted by emjaybee at 9:03 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that this article barely mentions punk, which was much more truly a phenomenon of the 1970s. Most of the other things mentioned are hangovers from or developments of the sixties.
posted by sobarel at 9:11 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gauchos! I wore 'em. With knee socks! I swear, that was one of the "in" fashions at my school. I also wore Gunne Sax dresses. Never mind how unflattering those fashions were on a petite, small-boned girl like me. Live and learn!

Re "dungarees:" Ha, I remember when some people called jeans "dungarees!" I don't think I've heard the term in yoinks.

Something else that I think originated in the 70's and we see the full effect now: the blurring of age groupings in fashion. I look at old family pictures from the 50's and earlier and it strikes me how matronly women my age look, in contrast to how I and my same-age friends look. Actresses, socialites, and boho/creative types could look stylish as they aged, but most (not all, but most) of the middle-and-working-class women I knew slid into "dowdy" once they hit their 40's. (This is in the US.) There were clear age demarcations in what was acceptable to wear. Now, not so much. Your grandma wears jeans. To church, even. Middle-aged women look stylish, and wear their hair long. Sure, there is still the phrase "mutton dressed as lamb" but it means more "don't wear crop tops, really low-slung jeans, and jewelry from Claire's" than "give up, you sexless thing, cut your hair and wear polyester frump couture." The women who were born in the 50's and were young in the 70's aren't going to give up looking stylish and having fun with their clothes. Women of this age are also accustomed to having careers, and many are divorced and/or remarried so there are all kinds of reasons to not give up fashion as they get older, and the grounds for this were laid in the 70's (along with the second wave of feminism).
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:15 AM on October 17, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ah. That explains the '80s counter-revolution in fashion.
posted by Renoroc at 9:16 AM on October 17, 2014


It's interesting that this article barely mentions punk, which was much more truly a phenomenon of the 1970s.

Punk? Punk only became huge in the early eighties.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:24 AM on October 17, 2014


It's interesting that this article barely mentions punk, which was much more truly a phenomenon of the 1970s. Most of the other things mentioned are hangovers from or developments of the sixties.

Eh. American Punk was pretty much just a straight line from the Beat and Greaser (and, dare I say, Hippie) subcultures, and British Punk was just more Mods (much of British punk is more correctly called "Mod Revival"), Rockers, and Skinheads. That's all '50s and '60s stuff.

Even the iconic ripped-up McLaren/Westwood punk look (which was never actually that much of a thing at the time) was mostly just lifted from European Elvis fans.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:32 AM on October 17, 2014


Combine a reactionary withdrawal from the turmoil of the sixties, Vietnam, and Watergate on one hand, with hippie environmentalism on the other, and you get a big mid-1970s trend. The Foxfire books were part of this. The Waltons were a mainstreamed expression of this. Granola, earth shoes, herbal essence, country rock.

There was certainly American Graffiti, Happy Days, etc., but 1950s nostalgia didn't hit the earthy, back-to-the-land notes for everyone.
posted by gimonca at 9:33 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]



Punk? Punk only became huge in the early eighties.

If you were there (and I was only at the edge really) Punk in 76-77-78 was the cultural equivalent of a nuclear bomb. It tore everything to shreds and guaranteed prolonged fallout, enough for any number of subsequent decades.

Eh. American Punk was pretty much just

You're just talking surface here. Whereas punk had real substance, else we wouldn't be talking about it.
posted by philip-random at 9:35 AM on October 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


You're just talking surface here.

Well, we are talking about fashion.

Whereas punk had real substance, else we wouldn't be talking about it.

The substance predates the movement. Said the gastroenterologist.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 AM on October 17, 2014


Punk in 76-77-78 was the cultural equivalent of a nuclear bomb.

Yes, but depends on where you were. In great swaths of the U.S. heartland, "punk" was something that happened hundreds or thousands of miles away. "New Wave" was pretty old by the time it was mainstreamed into regular culture.

1978 was Peak Disco for a lot of people.
posted by gimonca at 9:41 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


But, hey: The Waltons.

yes. The Waltons were HUGE in the 70s. So maybe the better take is just to say that nostalgia in general was a big deal in 1970s as the culture fumbled for balance in the wake of the 60s.

Combine a reactionary withdrawal from the turmoil of the sixties, Vietnam, and Watergate on one hand, with hippie environmentalism on the other, and you get a big mid-1970s trend.

I'm thinking (and trust me I've thought about stuff like this way too much) that you do any decade a disservice by trying to narrow it down to a few bite-sized observations. That said, I'm reminded of the notion that I first heard espoused by Jeff Wall (artist type), that you don't really know a decade until you're in its middle year. Extrapolate from this and you have the notion that the discussion to have about the 1970s would be of 1975 only. The songs, the cut of the jeans, the hair, the movies.

Otherwise, you just end up talking about everything.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Eh. American Punk was pretty much just a straight line from the Beat and Greaser (and, dare I say, Hippie) subcultures, and British Punk was just more Mods (much of British punk is more correctly called "Mod Revival"), Rockers, and Skinheads. That's all '50s and '60s stuff.

I don't necessarily disagree, but my point was that punk really arose in 74/75 and was pretty much dead by 1980 (even if the fashion legacy really rolled on into the 80s) so it's odd that it gets left out of what people think of as "the seventies". In the UK we'd had the Sex Pistols - who were pretty much a manufactured band trying to capitalise on the punk craze - have all their hits, cause mucho hullaballoo, and spilt up all by 1978.

In contrast a lot of the things the article talks about - dayglo pop aesthetics, informality, androgyny, afros, etc - are more like artifacts of "the long 60s".
posted by sobarel at 9:52 AM on October 17, 2014


I still see gauchos around, but only on plus-sized women and no longer on spaceship captains.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:58 AM on October 17, 2014


I hate when civil rights movements get called "minority movements", especially when the term is applied to feminism where it isn't even factually correct. Labeling them that seems to imply that rather than being about civil rights--something universal and which benefits all of society when it is applied more consistently and fairly--those movements are instead concerned merely with the special interests of a smallish number of people, so the rest of us (the majority) can safely ignore them.

Plus, most people are female. Women are the majority. Just a pet peeve.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:31 AM on October 17, 2014 [6 favorites]


David Bowie music was, in the early '70s at least, always kind of half-self-consciously retro--or, at least, much of "Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust" was. It's a throwback to the '50s and early '60s, heavy on the blues and R&B influences. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, from which the name was half-taken, was more than a bit of a throwback too. It was all a remix of influences! Which was very '70s.

(The Philly International stuff was different, maybe, but it's not like he discovered that, exactly.)
posted by raysmj at 10:32 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]



Punk in 76-77-78 was the cultural equivalent of a nuclear bomb . . .

. . . for about six people.


Yeah yeah and they all started bands, so what?
posted by Herodios at 10:40 AM on October 17, 2014


I'm irked that I came of age in the mid-eighties, which featured some of the most body-hiding, ugliest clothing of any era. Leg warmers and Peter Pan collars, anyone? (Now we've gone wholly in the other direction on the exposure thing.)

Since maxi dresses have been back in style for a couple of years now, I eagerly await the return of the one-piece pantsuit. Perhaps I should just find a pattern and sew myself one.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:50 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Somewhere there is a picture of twelve-year-old me in a pastel blue leisure suit. "Your great-grandmother bought you that suit and she's going to be there. You're wearing it today." "I am not." "You are." "I am not." "You are." Fine. I'll wear this silk shirt with the floral patterns on it. It will dress it up a bit. Oh, what a fool believes...
posted by cwest at 11:08 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's also interesting to look back and see how incredibly successful the right wing counter-revolution was in the 80s, the cultural landscape shifted over night.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


(anyway in honor of this post I managed to wear plaid and orange and brown and not look ridiculous. )
posted by The Whelk at 11:17 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


For all the myriad influences cited for forming a 70's aesthetic, I'm glad that there was one mention of the 1890s. Polyester, bold patterns, 'organic' stylings... sure. But one of the most lasting 70s revivals that I carry with me in my artistic (not fashion, but still...) toolbox is that of ragtime piano. My grandpa's post-Sunday-dinner concerts of tunes from the soundtrack of The Sting (1973) inspired my future piano repertoire. This wasn't an isolated intersection of 1970s and 1890s: the first ragtime opera, in 1972, or the works of Joshua Rifkin. (Rifkin, previously, on the blue.)
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 11:20 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


yeah there was that ...odd mania for mashed-up Victoriana which lead to a lot of ...ragtime inspired restaurant decor
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


ragtime inspired restaurant decor

I remember a lot of ersatz Tiffany-glass fixtures.

The absolute best thing I ever remember hearing someone say when I was a kid and the "prairie girl" look was on an "in" period in fashion - "yeah, the 'prairie girl' look doesn't really work for me - I look more like the covered wagon."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah yeah and they all started bands, so what?

seriously, I don't think you know your cultural history if you sincerely believe this.

A. The Sex Pistols charted big time (in Britain anyway and if you know your pop culture, you know that Britain tends to influence the world.), #1 album, #2 single etc.

B. While it's true that the scene itself was very small and never came close to touching disco or the likes of the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac in terms of sales, it nevertheless affected things. Name bands adjusted their sounds, their outlooks, their poses. Punk was the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings ... except it was more like a hornet.
posted by philip-random at 12:41 PM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]




The 70's didn't really get started until your mom got a denim pantsuit.
posted by telstar at 1:43 PM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd suggest, then, that there was a supplementary "1890's" nostalgia movement which spawned the whole Gunne Sax thing.

There was a big decadent/fin de siècle revival starting in the late '60s/turn of the '70s. Biba was very indebted to that sort of thing. (Speaking of which, last year Maggs put out a very cool catalog of '60s/turn of the '70s ephemera. It's a great resource.)

The Foxfire books were part of this. The Waltons were a mainstreamed expression of this. Granola, earth shoes, herbal essence, country rock.

Mustaches, cowboy hats, early American- and farmhouse-style furniture.

In the US, I think this manifested less as nostalgia for the Depression than as nostalgia for a kind of "lost America" that never existed. One of my favorite album covers, Mason Profitt's Wanted (1969) is just a perfect picture of this yearning to live in a simpler time, while still screaming "early '70s." (Cf. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid the same year and the rise of Outlaw Country music.) By the middle of the decade Butch Cassidy has become The Bandit, but it's a cultural wave that even the Farmer from Plains rides.

(My parents were hugely into all that stuff. For a long time I just thought it was what they were into, then somewhere along the way I realized that they were squarely in the middle of a cultural trend.)

Punk was the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings ... except it was more like a hornet.

In retrospect, Punk rock is obviously an important part of the cultural history of the '70s; at the time I think it's effect outside of relatively small groups of angsty youth in major cities has been exaggerated, mostly by Punk historians themselves.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on October 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Indeed.

There's a lot of space between "it was part of the 1970s scene, yet surprisingly, the (primarily fashion-based) article doesn't cover it" and "cultural nuclear bomb".
posted by Herodios at 2:20 PM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Herodios, I must ask. Were you around in 76-78? Are you arguing from experience?

Because I was around, but hardly a fan. I very much resented punk until at least 1979-80 ... when I finally began to get it. But at first, it was just like this annoying brat kid who I had no interest interacting with, but he wouldn't shut up, wouldn't go away. Which is more or less my point. Punk mattered/matters precisely because it was so f***ing resilient, and ultimately did affect everything.
posted by philip-random at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2014


In the 70s I was living in rural Michigan and I was aware of punk.

Just this weekend I was in TJ Maxx and saw all the 70s fashion and it scared the crap out of me. Never again. Never again.
posted by acrasis at 4:38 PM on October 17, 2014


ALL MY PLAID BLAZERS ARE HIP AGAIN

YES
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on October 17, 2014


In East Lansing in the late 70s we had the Ramones come to town twice (great shows), as well as the Stranglers. We also drove to Detroit to see Nick Lowe/Rock pile, Blondie, and Elvis Costello. So yes, even in flyover country we had punk and New Wave.
posted by rfs at 10:00 PM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


punk couldn't afford to fly.
posted by philip-random at 11:39 PM on October 17, 2014


I don't necessarily disagree, but my point was that punk really arose in 74/75 and was pretty much dead by 1980

Of all the proclamations of punk being dead this is an exceptionally unfair one, because hardcore/the second wave already had momentum by 1980 and honestly did more in the end to define what "punk" means to most of us now.
posted by atoxyl at 3:57 AM on October 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


All I can say is that I wish I could for one second look as pulled together as the Pointer Sisters in 1973. Hot damn. There is a design thesis in that photo alone.
posted by arha at 4:54 AM on October 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


My dad just found and digitized a bunch of concert photos he took as a teenager, mostly from 74-78. Looking through them, I'm struck by the range of style on display, and how really disparate styles all read as the epitome of 70s ridiculousness to my eyes. You've got man-caftans, comically tight pants, whatever the hell is happening with the third guy from the left hair-wise, and Mick Jagger, just for a start.

But there's also stuff that reappears later, or even is ubiquitous later: these guys are basically proto-grunge; others could pass for present-day hipsters with little trouble.

However, I think we can all agree that it is very hard to look bad if your outfit consists of really tight jeans, a leather vest, and a sheen of honest sweat, and also you are Bruce Springsteen.
posted by nonasuch at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


However, I think we can all agree that it is very hard to look bad if your outfit consists of really tight jeans, a leather vest, and a sheen of honest sweat, and also you are Bruce Springsteen.

Tangent - when there was that big international tour for Amnesty International in '89, the one with Bruce and Sting and Peter Gabriel and a couple others, HBO broadcast their final gig from Argentina or something - and they showed that when the rest of the musicians came out to join Bruce for the finale of the show, they'd all raided their own wardrobes and dressed in black jeans and black vests just like him.

(It didn't really work for Peter Gabriel largely because all he had was like a man's polyester vest from a 3-piece suit or something.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:31 AM on October 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I saw Springsteen in 1978, Darkness On The Edge Of Town. An astonishing show. But the one thing I would never have accused him of was being particularly hip or cool looking. In fact, that part of him seemed kind of awkward (ie: not to be emulated). But the show just transcended it all anyway.
posted by philip-random at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


You've got man-caftans

Well, that's Jon Anderson of Yes. A peak-era progressive rock frontman is not exactly the best place to look for normal '70s street clothes. You'll come away with the weird notion that everyone was walking around in codpieces and sequinned satin capes.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I do remember the 30s nostalgia thing... Maybe more prevalent in early 70s. Paper Moon and They Shoot Horses Don't They were big popular movies set in the depression.

Also "The Sting", I think was set in the 30's
posted by thelonius at 11:21 AM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


You'll come away with the weird notion that everyone was walking around in codpieces and sequinned satin capes.

There's truth in this. The only time I ever saw this particular combination was on a stage.
posted by philip-random at 11:53 AM on October 18, 2014


As long as all those polyester clothes don't come back, I'm ok with it. That stuff was bad back then and age cannot have helped it.
posted by freakazoid at 4:32 PM on October 18, 2014


A peak-era progressive rock frontman is not exactly the best place to look for normal '70s street clothes.

And we're back to Peter Gabriel!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:23 PM on October 18, 2014


Quite.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:20 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always thought that the movies and rock fashions of the early 70s drew more upon the 1870s. The 80s brought back the 50s narrow ties and pointy shoes, then the late 90s brought back the 80s and everything has been eating itself since. I started feeling old and out of it somewhere about 2000 and the only thing that made an impression on me was low rise jeans. I liked those and await their return.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:16 PM on October 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


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