There are some trends that can’t be understood or explained in retrospect-not because we lack understanding or context, but because there simply is no explanation. Here are some more unexplainable fads of the 70s and 80s that still have us wondering . . . what were they thinking?
Member’s Only Jacket
These jackets were so plain and unimaginative, yet everybody wanted one. Every guy I knew had one in either beige (blech) or grey. Why we all wanted one, I don’t know. Was it the exclusive and privileged feeling one felt donning the “Member’s Only” label? What were you supposed to be a member of, anyway? The ugly jacket club, of course.
Big baggy sweaters worn over stirrup leggings
These two wrongs don’t make a right, they coalesce into a fashion catastrophe. Back in the day, leggings had a terrible habit of riding up. The fabric stretched out with movement and you ended up with a saggy butt and baggy knees. The added stirrup feature ensured that at least your pants stayed in place. As for the baggy sweater, I never got it. Still don’t. To really rock this look, try finishing it off with a pair of “Jellies”.
In the 70s it seemed that every single home I visited had long, two-toned shag carpet. It came in browns, avocado greens, and oranges and it looked really cool from far away. Get a little closer and you realized that there were all sorts of things permanently caught in the twisted yarns: hair, food, dirt. It was an OCD’s nightmare. Why didn’t they just vacuum it, you ask? Because the yarns were too long. No problem, just break out the specially designed-for-the-job carpet rake and rake away.
Side Pony Tails
In 1983, the side pony tail was my hairstyle. I could never keep it in for more than 15-30 min — with all that weight tied up on one side of your head, it was a guaranteed headache. I’d transfer it from side to side until I’d finally give up and put it in the back of my head where it belonged. Anyway, it was a confusing hairstyle that always looked as if one of your pigtails had gone missing.
You have to hand it to Los Gatos advertising executive Gary Dahl for coming up with a brilliant scheme for marketing plain old rocks. The Pet Rock came in a cardboard “carrier” with a manual, “The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock”. It made him a millionaire. I wanted one so badly, but my mother wisely refused to waste good money on a rock when I could just as easily “go and get a rock for free”.
Short on the top and long in back. I don’t think I need to say anything else.
Each generation has those embarrassing moments where it went out on a limb and tried something new. Sometimes it worked and other times . . . not so much. Kudos to those who embraced the moment (and now have a shoebox of photos hidden in the back of their closet that someone could use as blackmail)! We tried new things! We explored the unknown! And as long as those embarrassing photos stay hidden, no one has to know.
What past fashion faux pas do you keep hidden?