Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Le Chic, C'est Bleak'

(image credit: James Lileks)

(Or, c'est eek.)

Just when you thought 70's fashion was safely forgotten, along comes James Lileks' disturbing peek into the past. (*Warning: Cringe-inducing*)

This is nothing more than torture. Arrest Mr. Lileks now!


Colonel Neville said...

Dear Eowyn, thanks for this wondeful bit. Thepictures and the my, my, fantastic satirical and wonderfully sarcastic text. I absolutely loved it. I will treasure this link.

Sadly, I wore a lot of that stuff...and sometimes the clothes for boys!

Bloody terrific and had me coughing up an old synthetic hairball from 1974 from the Osmonds Do Quatro Collection. Yes, it seemed that everything was a control freak monopoly and lie from that time. Thus I am NOT sentimental!

All the best from Colonel Neville. Loved this bit:

"All the shirts seem to be pledging allegiance to something. We don’t know what, but “The Democratic Republic of Attractive Fabrics” probably wasn’t it.

Or the shirts are acting out the posture of the boys who will wear them: Me? You think I picked this out? My Mom made me wear this. I had a Led Zep T-shirt and she shrunk it in the wash on purpose.

I’m sure this was Sears’ patented SupR-Itch fabric, annoyingly thin, with Perma-Strech elastic that lost its shape after you jammed the sleeves up to your elbow half a dozen times.

The most appalling touch, though, wasn’t the elastic shirt cuffs. It was the elastic around the waist. It always rode up, and if you didn’t wear a shirt underneath you were always yanking the damned thing down over your belt. The very sight of that elastic waist drags me right back to 1974, standing in a high school somewhere in North Dakota on a Saturday morning, beginning a debate about lowering the speed limit, feeling the unmistakable itch of contact dermatitis.

I think everyone got hives from their clothing in those days; the stuff was made from chemicals that came in drums that used to say AGENT ORANGE but now said FABRIC-MAKING BOY-CLAD FLUID.

Note Sears’ excellent sense of the vernacular: the clothes were available at the “Put-on Shop.” Because they were something you put on, of course. But “Put-on” was hip talk for a lie, a phony scene, falsehood imposed on the People by the Man, man.

The Peter-Max graphics attemptedto assure Male Teens they were not being co-opted by the Establishment, and for the most part we bought it. Or rather we wore it. Mom bought it".

Eowyn said...

"Sadly, I wore a lot of that stuff...and sometimes the clothes for boys!"


My dear Colonel, James Lileks is an absolute treasure. By all means, investigate his entire site. If you're like me, and a fan of esoteric cultural history, you may find yourself getting sucked into a vortex of old postcards, matchbooks, etc. -- entire slices of life to peruse and ponder, to the detriment of getting other stuff done. AND, for a fairly short, daily injection of insight that will make you say, "Well, YEAH," his Daily Bleat can't be ... well, beat ;)

My own horror story from the 70's? Trying to decide at any given minute whether I was supposed to be wearing a "mini," "midi" or "maxi." Ugh.

And yes, you're right -- for once, it wasn't much better for the boys. May we never see a "retro" movement!