Did people actually wear these things?
I fear they did. The 1970s was, after all, “the decade that fashion forgot”.
Except, it wasn’t. It was more like, “the decade that fashion forgot that clothes should not be principally hilarious.”
By which I mean, look around you. There is relatively little in how people dress now that in twenty years’ time will provoke amused head shaking. OK, I’m not including here the fashion for young men to wear suits at least two sizes too small. Whose idea was that? Snug-Fitting I can understand. Can’t wear, but I can understand. Snug fits have been a standard option since Paul Smith first started making suits that stood out in the big, boxy 80s. But even Paul Smith suits had sleeves that came past your wrist and trousers that touched the tops of your shoes.
So, yeah. Teeny-tiny suits on fully grown men is ridiculous, and we’ll laugh in a few years.
And wearing jeans below your buttocks so that everyone can see your underwear? That’s dying out, surely? (“Yeah, grandad, sheesh…”)
And dressing up as a Yukon lumberjack with a massive beard, like some kid doing Call Of The Wild for World Book Day? That’s gotta provoke amusement before long.
Oh, and ripped jeans. That’s weird, but they’ve been around for years and don’t look like they’re going anywhere. Or maybe they’ve been and gone and returned and I just haven’t noticed. It’s possible. Probable, even.
Anyway, all that notwithstanding, the nineteen seventies were especially silly, and this collection of pictures that I have collated amply proves it.
First up, the Eleganza ad (left) “Things happen when you were Eleganza” says the ad copy. Like being accidentally cast as an extra in a low-budget TV space opera? I know we all joke about outsize collars being fashionable in the 1970s, but really? That is a designer’s joke, surely? One that he never expected to get away with.
So Eleganza may not be a name you have heard of, but Wrangler (above) surely is, and I LOVE this ad for the marvellously-named “Wranglers Wrelaters”, handily marked with a “TM” by the brand name, like anyone’s going to nick it. I love, too, their line: “Now you can have perfectly color-wrelated clothes – even if you’re color-blind.” Why bring up colour-blindness? Did someone mention it? They should have. Best of all is the last line: “Wremember the W is silent.” What? How else can you say it? Do they honestly think that, without that reminder, people will be trying to pronounce the W? I’ve tried. I sound like Frank Muir doing an impression of Jonathon Ross.
Finally, for today (because I’ve got more!): my favourite. I’m not sure which bit of this
page I like best. Is it the guy on the right who looks very pissed off (and who can blame him) even though he’s holding what appears to be a CD long before CDs were invented.
No, it has to be the three fellas on the left. Do you remember that ad a few years ago for Dove soap, when they got women of all shapes and sizes posing in their underwear as a “celebration of real women”? Not such a new idea, was it? This is what it would look like if me and my mates Olly and Dave became underwear models.
What happened here, really? Did the models not turn up? I think they were delayed by a 1970s three-day-week transport strike, so the photographer said to three lads from the factory floor, “OK boys – you’ll do,”?
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