10/12/07

Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back.

Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife's grandfather. After a bunch of hours spent in The Hottest Attic In The Universe, he had a ceiling fan that ducted to the side of his house.

While my brother-in-law and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:



A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It's not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking. I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels:



Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom, because obviously nothing absorbs errant pee like a nice, thick shag:



There's plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I'm not going to bore you with that. Instead, I'm going to bore you with something else. The clothes.

The clothes are fantastic. Imagine if you wore them today.

Here's how to get your ass kicked in elementary school:



Just look at that belt. It's like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long, for god's sake. And way to pull your pants up to your armpits, grandpa.

Here's how to get your ass kicked in high school:



This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.

Here's how to get your ass kicked on the golf course:



This "all purpose jumpsuit" is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply "relaxing around the house." Personally, I can't see wearing this unless you happen to be "relaxing around your cell in D-block." Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden forced you to at gunpoint.

Here's how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere:



I'll bet these guys do ok with the ladies. If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob "No-pants" Saget has his hand in the other guy's pocket. In this case, he doesn't, although you can tell just by looking at them that it's happened - or if it hasn't happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his color-coordinated coffee cup.

Here's how to get your ass kicked at the beach:



He looks like he's reaching for a gun, but you know it's probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.

How to get your ass kicked in a meeting:



If you wear this suit and don't sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you'd be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit; which, frankly, is a step up.

How to get your ass kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick's Day


Dear god in heaven, I don't believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you're working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys.



As does your search for chest hair.

And this -- Seriously. No words.



Oh wait, it turns out there are words after all, and those words are What. The. Fuck. I'm guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. I think the little tie must be the pull tab. If you look closely, it says, "In case of chest hair emergency, pull tab quickly and back away."
Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, in 1977 it was apparently considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don't they?





I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best."



And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and an appreciative blonde with a look on her face that says "I love the way your junk fights against that fabric."



Then, after the lovin', you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits:



I could go on, but I'm tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it's the colors. I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers:



Man, that's sexy.

--------------------------------------------------

Me and my brothers in 1976.



Dammit, mom.


(If you want to meet the woman responsible for dressing us like this, check out my book here.)

629 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:16 PM

    Don't let the E Harmony guy get hold of those couple pics i smell a whole new ad campaign..
    colin@ablogc.com

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  2. OMG!!!! JV!!! I swear to god, I have never laughed so hard at any of your posts as I did this one. I guess mostly because...well I can remember 1977 and I remember a lot of that crap!!
    But seriously the "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best" got me, because the god honest truth now, no kidding....I was in my next door neighbors house a while ago (they are idiot rednecks from hell, long story) but their wedding photo was sitting on a shelf in their living room, and I swear to god, JV, they got married in cowboy shit like that. Who wears dumb stuff like that...ever...let alone to your own wedding? And no they are not old, probably mid 30's.

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  3. I used to wear platform sandals while riding my boyfriend's Big Wheel. Is that not hot?!

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  4. Wore that, dated someone that wore that, Dad had that, had a crush on someone that wore that, aspired to but never attained matching shirts with significant other....thanks for the memories. Now I have to live with the shame of confronting not just my past wardrobe but also hairstyles...

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  5. I used to think that nothing could be worse than today's fashions. I will have to rethink my position.

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  6. That is the absolute funniest post I have ever read on your blog..oh my God...this is the erra I was born in? I actually remember that kind of stuff...

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  7. I swear to God, my brother had that outfit with the belt. And I had more than one terrycloth jumpsuit (the short summer version, though). And one of them was D-block orange. I was the coolest 11-year-old EVER.

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  8. Funny as usual, now I see what led to my divorce in 1979.

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  9. Katie2:49 PM

    "Sky rockets in flight,
    a-a-afternoon delight"
    That is all I can hear when I see that picture of the matching swimsuits.

    Good stuff, JV!!

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  10. Holy Jesus, JV! There just aren't words...

    (Note to self: No eating or drinking while reading 15 Minute Lunch)

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  11. Treasure! Treasure I tell you!

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  12. that was the hottest shit ever, dude are you gonna try to order something out of that, that would be the shit if you sent for a lone ranger shirt and they actually found one and sent it..... the possibilities are endless.....

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  13. I had to do a double-take because I first thought you said 1997 and scrolling downwards, I felt like I must've slept through 1997. Thank goodness, it was 77. And thank goodness my mom didn't buy my clothes at Penney's. Thank you, Mom.

    I think one of my friend's parents had that dining set. I remember the splinters.

    Is that Toni Tenille moonlighting with her own look-alike in the last picture?

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  14. You are the most awesome-est ever .. I laughed until I cried.. no, really, Cowboy Chachi indeed.

    jc

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  15. the 70's produced the ugliest clothing styles in the history of the world. what f'ing luck that i got to be a teen in the 70's. the only good thing was that i went to a catholic schools and wore uniforms for 12 years.

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  16. I think my grandmother has the same catalog. Since I was born in the late 70's, I can't remember the clothes, my grandmother made sure to save every magazine and catalog she ever owned from like, 1960, and on. They're mostly woman's day anf family circle, but JC Penny from the 80's is still in her bathroom.

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  17. OMG, Johnny. What a trip down memory lane! I was 15 in 1977, and for Christmas that year, my boyfriend got us matching shirts like the one Cowboy Chachi is modeling. We wore those things EVERYWHERE!! I thought I was the SHIT! * big happy sigh *

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  18. Thanks alot for making fun of my wardrobe.... I thought I was wearing hip retro clothing, obviously not... I"m gonna go down and kick those people from the salvation army right in the teeth.

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  19. This was the greatest blog post I have seen in a while. Thanks for sharing and for the nightmares that will follow.

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  20. That is flippin' awesome! I haven't laughed that hard at a post for awhile. You lost me at the St. Patricks one...I just couldn't finish until I stopped cracking up for awhile.

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  21. I lived through the '70s, and even was forced into J.C. Penney's for clothing a time or two.

    Your archeological research has answered two major questions, however... why so many people dressed so tastelessy during that decade (it was the incredible marketing power of Penney's), and why J.C. Penney's got (ran) out of the catalog retail business.

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  22. Sweet Jesus, I wore a brown plaid wide-collared suit for my kindergarten class picture. Add to that my home cut shark-tooth bangs and it's a miracle I never got my ass kicked at the sandbox.

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  23. This is freaking hilarious. Although chest hair guy looks pretty cool.

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  24. "I love the way your junk fights against that fabric."

    Hahhahahahaha! This is the best thing i've read in weeks. Thank you thank you JV. I really needed the laugh.
    It's funny, I don't remember it being that bad but then I was very young back then.

    Alex

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  25. truely shocking. Most of these catalogues pics looks like my parents photo albums...yikes. Im glad the 70's are soooo over

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  26. you should try calling in an order.....

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  27. Anonymous6:28 PM

    Both my sons were born in the seventies. Obviously their Dad did not order clothes from Penney's, or their conception woulda been of the immaculate kind!!!!!!!! I, of course, didn't wear ANYTHING that could be construed as "fashionable" for a decade or so. White (3 for $2.50) t-shirts did ever so much better with baby barf. As for hair....hmmmmmmm, let's not go there. I shall hafta put a little extra in the boys' X'mas stocking this year, as a thank you for making me miss that decade.....
    Thanks for the guffaws JV!
    Marion

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  28. lansen9:01 PM

    Don't pick on Penneys -- every store sold sh*t like that

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  29. I was in high school in 1977. Penney's was about the only store where Mom would take us shopping. I had managed to suppress all of those bad fashion memories. Until today, of course. It's even worse than I remembered. The plaids, the pastels, the humanity!

    I may need therapy.

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  30. Hilarious! I wore the same thing as the kid with the weird belt loops.

    That was some weird alien crap back then. It almost seemed normal at the time.

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  31. for some reason, this post brought almost a thousand hits to my website today. If anyone can tell me where all these people are coming from, I would be forever in your debt.

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  32. Now that was some funny stuff. Nicely done.

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  33. Johnny,
    I may have directed a few people over to this post from my blog. I was going to send you a TrackBack, but I couldn't find one.

    That was hilarious! I bow to the master!

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  34. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Hi, Johnny

    I'm in Atlanta, GA...I was sent a link to this blog from a friend. I don't know how it's making the rounds, but it is and it's a good thing too!! I was crying....funniest thing I've read and seen in a long time. My entire family wore clothes from this catalog. What were we thinking??!!

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  35. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Pushed the "Forwrd" button and went down the "Send To" list. All of us who committed those fashionw to perpetuity in our school portraits and family scrapbooks should be so lucky to have your witty captions accompanying them in order to ease our pain.

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  36. Actually, a friend forwarded me the text of this post, and when I saw the words "blog fodder", I asked her who wrote it. She said there was no credit on the forward, so I googled "how to get your ass kicked" and found it.

    I think I have a picture of my mom sporting a bandana with some godawful romper. I also have some bad elementary school photos featuring some of these styles.

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  37. vlad2all@hotmail.com11:17 AM

    Oh this is bad.... Our High School Music Director made us wear crap like that to vocal contest. Its a miracle we didn't get the crap kicked out of us. I think the saving grace was all of the girls changing on the bus after the contest was over. The other guys were too busy getting a free show to worry about us.

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  38. Anonymous11:37 AM

    I think I just pee'd a little.

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  39. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I'm in Kansas City and this was sent by a friend. I laughed so hard I sent it to everyone I know who lived through the fashion nightmare of the 1970's. Dude, thanks for the memories!

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  40. Anonymous2:40 PM

    This is some funny s.h.i.t.!!!! I do think I heard "The Fifth Dimensions" in the background humming a song !!!!

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  41. Anonymous6:14 PM

    I just sent this to my son in Belgium. It is now going to make the rounds in Europe. I got it from a girl at work, we laughed so hard tears were streaming down our faces, and we actually could not breathe. This needs to get to Jon Sewart somehow, anyone have his email address? Jen

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  42. Anonymous9:40 PM

    I grew up in the 70's. Bad as that is....my clothes came from Woolworths. They were probably WORSE!

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  43. that was painfully funny.

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  44. this is one of the funniest things i've read!!! thanks for the laughs!

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  45. Anonymous8:28 AM

    A friend at work sent it to me. I sent it to my boyfriend at a New York City agency and they all laughed all day over it. Later I sent it to my sister in Florida. She says she NEVER forwards stuff, but she's sending this one to "EVERYBODY!!"

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  46. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I'm here because of a link on a Rush fan message board. Bet you didn't expect that one.

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  47. Rush is one of my favorite bands, actually so that sorta fits...

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  48. Anonymous12:16 PM

    The commentary is as funny as the outfits.

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  49. Deb Cole1:36 PM

    Thank you! My husband & I were wheezing and crying with laughter. Your writing is perfect.

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  50. This is the funniest thing I have read forever. I'm still laughing. Don't know what's funnier, "afternoon delight running through my head", "the pics" or "your comments. Way too funny. Encore, encore!

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  51. any place that markets his and her matching outfits like this deserves my boycott. I still see some couples-40 to 80 dressing like this and always in a travel trailer. I change if I see hubby even remotely close in color to me!

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  52. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Believe it or not, this was posted at MySpace. So now I'm sure everyone and their mother have seen it, that's how I happened by here. This brings back memories of the picture my dad carries in his wallet of me at 5. I refused to wear dresses because I was such a tomboy, so he duded me up in a powder blue, plaid bellbottom pantsuit and had my picture taken. Why, thanks dad, for flashing that every chance you get!
    The commentary is, as has been said, just as frickin' hysterical as the photos.

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  53. This was emailed to me and I posted a reference to it on our blog. A JC Penney Catalog From 1977

    The word is spreading! Very well done!

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  54. Anonymous7:39 PM

    AHHHHH! My cousin owns that barrel furniture. I'm serious.

    What a nightmare.

    AHHHHHHH!

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  55. This is so funny .... I would have been 8 in 1977 and I do remember Granimals and some of those kid fashions ... thanks for making my day!

    -Chelsea

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  56. I don't want to sound like a broken record...but this is some seriously funny stuff. I worked at JCP's competitor (Sears) in the 70s...and yep...stuff looked just like it does in the catalog. Wonder where those models are now???

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  57. I just happened to see this post. I am sitting here laughing hysterically, while putting a lock on my closet.

    1. For my first wedding, my ex wore a blue leisure suit which he got a J.C.Penny's. When I started to walk down the friggen aisle, I knew right then that I should have turned back around and ran.

    2. Back in 1976, my family of 6, (us 4 kids and mom/dad) were going to Disneyland. My dad had an idea of all dressing alike. So, now you have the Brady Bunch in diguise...we all wore red/white/blue/gold striped pants (which we all bought from, yes, you guessed it, J.C.Penny's) and red turtlenecks.

    I am going to have to scan a picture so that I can post that one on my blog.

    Thank you so much for sharing your 'find' in the attic. Totally hysterical!!

    ~:~carol~:~

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  58. Anonymous10:57 PM

    ... sweeeeeet Jesus, dude...... I need some eyewash now!....

    .... oh, and Jerry from Back Home Again sent me.....

    Eric from straightwhiteguy....

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  59. The third one looks like the "Parisian Night-Suit" Sam wore to school in "Freaks & Geeks." Anyone else remember that?

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  60. Anonymous2:08 PM

    IT WAS UNISEX! Don't you remember? Unisex haircut, Unisex clothes... they weren't trying to match, they were trying to lose their gender!

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  61. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Hey JV!
    OK the tears are flowing. This was sent to me from a friend.
    I remember sitting at the dining room table salivating over the new Fall fashions from JC Penny's and Sears. What a thrill it was to pick out the hottest outfits around - pages and pages! I picked the red and white checkered pants with the princess cut red tee shirt and matching white belt with a huge Silver Dollar for a buckle. Hey the belt had a secret compartment how cool was that!. I also had to have the white Go-Go boots! I was the coolest 10 year old girl in town!.

    Thanks for the memory - Our kids don't realize how lucky they are! LMAO in California!

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  62. Here were my thoughts as I was reading this with my boss in my office, trying simultaneously not to laugh or let something from inside of my body sneak out one of my many orifices:

    -Is that ABBA on the cover?

    -I got my first pastel palazzo outfit at JCP. Palazzos?

    -I thought that was my little brother, but he only wore Toughskins from Sears.

    -I'm pretty sure I have a 1977 Charter Oak yearbook photo of Vince Wharton aka Vince Neil from Motley Crue sporting a couple of these mod outfits for a gig with Rockandy (his HS cover band).

    -Where are the shiny froot boots (men's ankle boots with slippers)? My dad wore his with every single one of those outfits.

    -Unisex = duct tape on the crotch, females and males alike. Piercings do NOT go well with polyester.

    -I live in Iowa now. . . photos are not so far from my reality.

    Thanks for the lunchtime squirtp*ss.

    SoCal to Iowa

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  63. It's a wonder that any of us are here today because I'm not sure how our parents got laid looking and wearing clothes like that.

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  64. That is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever read in my life.

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  65. I can't believe you knocked the dining room set. That shit is really popular ... in Niagra Falls.

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  66. A friend of mine sent a link to this post and it is hilariously funny - I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my face and 4 year old kept asking me, "what's so funny?" She'd never understand! Only us 70's kids get just how bad the fashion was back then. Thank you for the laugh! It made my otherwise mundane day pretty bright. I'm keeping this link and will be checking back for more laughs!

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  67. Absolutely fabulous!!! I can't believe the stuff....although I kept expecting a picture of John Travolta.....oooohhhh where is a disco ball when you need one?

    gk

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  68. leigh3:08 PM

    i love a good ass-whipping. i may need to borrow your catalogue.

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  69. I was in my 30's in 1977 so I saw it all.. OMG, it's funny now. Thanks for posting. Thanks to my friend Tricia for linking to it in our discussion board. I suspect you owe her some dry panties.

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  70. And everyone screams at ABBA for their crazy 70s satin spandex and flowing capes?

    It WAS the 70s!

    Sad, but true, everyone was wearing that shit.

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  71. Where the fuck is the 1977 lingerie?

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  72. Seriously --

    77 lingerie = birth control.

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  73. Just...dying here. I was alive in 1977, and had equally hideous clothing, not to mention the avocado carpet in the living room and the harvest gold appliances.

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  74. Yup, Fuglyhorseoftheday posted this on FHotD blog, and they will all be trotting over here to see some serious fug. Gotta go upholster my bathroom fixtures before bedtime now.

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  75. Go Bears2:19 AM

    I remember going to a wedding where the ushers wore "leisure suits" that were in that limey-yucky green. It was all the rage back then.

    And I believe my mother-in-law-to-be bought my then-fiance a plaid suit -- possibly at Penney's -- that he wore once in my presence. I threatened to douse it with gasoline and set it aflame if he ever wore it around me again. I think he left it in a closet at his parents' house and abandoned it.

    If he had worn it again, I am sure I would have cancelled the wedding. Just had our 30th anniversary and there have been no more plaid clothing items.

    I also remember all the his'n'hers outfits. They actually hit the fashion big-time a few years earlier, which is whey they're in the 1977 Penney's catalogue. :-)

    Thanks for the chuckle!!

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  76. Oh my God. I am so glad that I was born after this. *horrified*

    JC Penney: it really is all inside.

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  77. We had that dining room set growing up. It may look dreadful, but those barrels roll! We used to sit in them and twirl ourselves around. (I think that's how we broke them, but lets leave that aside.)

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  78. Anonymous8:30 AM

    I wuz one of those models!

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  79. Anonymous8:36 AM

    I actually remember being envious of those well-dressed, rugged men, getting all the chicks...Oh the '70s!

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  80. Anonymous10:22 AM

    I remember those styles ... and to be told that you looked like the JC Penny catalog (or Sears) was a bid dis back then. However, the jumpsuit WAS quite "the bomb" after all there was a war going on, thus lots of jumping out of planes...and apparantly hitting of heads upon landing, thus the styles.

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  81. Anonymous10:46 AM

    So THAT'S where Beck does his shopping!

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  82. Anonymous1:09 PM

    No wonder why everyone started doing cocaine in the 70s!!!

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  83. Anonymous1:23 PM

    This got passed around at work but with no credit. Someone googled 1977 JC Penny and found you. Damn funny! Thanks!

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  84. OMG!!! I was roaring!!!

    JV, are you single?? I want to marry you! never have I laughed so hard!

    Unfortunately, I didn't get the note that it was a lunch time read and now everyone in my office has seen me rolling on the floor crying with laughter :(

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  85. Anonymous1:47 PM

    A friend of mine forwarded your blog link to me, and thank god she did. I can't remember the last time I lauged so hard!!! Unfortunately I am at work in a small, quiet office, so everyone had to find out what was so funny. We all think you are hysterical. Thanks for the that :)

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  86. AliasTLH2:12 PM

    Where can I get one of those blue "Chest hair emergency, pull tab" shirts? My man would look sooo sexy in that thing. *shudders*

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  87. Anonymous2:16 PM

    My God, I laughed so hard I cried - guess that means that I remember the original clothes, in fact I think my high school classmates wore some of them. They wouldn't look good in any dacade! Thanks for the laugh and I will definately check out the ret of your blog.

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  88. Hey, I had at least 2 suits in that 'unnatural' shade of green. One was a genuine Yves St. Laurent, no less. I might still be wearing it if it weren't for the basketball that I've grown since then....

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  89. dying here ... simply dying.

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  90. I should clarify... I was pretty much hanging on by a thread till I got to the 'chest hair' one ... then hell broke loose. I could no longer contain my cackling. thank you

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  91. Hi-lar-ious. I am laughing hard.

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  92. Anonymous3:23 PM

    A friend just sent this link (Thanks Trish!). Appropriately enough, it's Halloween!

    Man, the tux I wore to the Prom was that same green!

    JV, you've got to do a followup!

    Maury

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  93. Jerri Blank4:01 PM

    this dude copied you:
    http://www.wallstreetfighter.com/2007/10/how-to-get-laid-in-1977-and-your-ass.html

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  94. Born in 1974. And, oh so thankful that I don't remember much of the 70s.

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  95. you just cracked me the FUCK UP

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  96. Anonymous4:56 PM

    We used to think it was "cool" dressing alike in Jr. High (I was 12 in 1977).

    Didn't shop at sears or JCP, but did have some clothes from K-Mart...wow what fasion "divas" we all were then...no wonder everone spends a fortune these days getting their kids decent clothes.

    Remember "Haband" those plastic shoes that used to send the little samples in the mail?

    We thought "Harvest Gold" appliances were the S**T!!

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  97. This is my first visit to your blog and I'm adding you to my favorites! You are way too funny for words! I laughed till I cried-- I was eight years old in 1977 and lived in Fairbanks, Alaska where shopping from JCPenny was one of the ways we got our clothes (delivered by dogsled of course.) I swear I remember these pictures!

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  98. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  99. this is by far the funniest post i have read, but then again I've been gone for two years. And to tell the truth, my mom had to help me get that belt on.

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  100. A little respect please, some of us are still wearing this stuff!
    Incidently, there was a guy at work back then who had actually done modelling for catalogues, and although we had no proof that he'd ever modelled underpants, he became known throughout the building as "the underpants guy".
    As he walked the corridor people would stop, look askance, raise a hand to their chin and point at an imaginary distant object a la the catalogue poses. If he knew why, he never let on.

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  101. Anonymous7:19 PM

    OMg --- I've been laughing at this ALL DAY LONG. Seriously - THANK YOU. TOOOOO FUNNY. Someone sent me the link they saw on a site they frequent and then I had to send it out....

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  102. yeh, a friend e-mailed the link to me, and I am a 70s baby who remembers *WISHING* I could get inside info on Kristy McNicol's hair-feathering technique. It is mindblowing how fucked-up the clothes were back then... we had a Harvest Gold fridge that we bought used... and ever since scrolling thru the comments, which have added much spice to the post, all I can do is murmer over and over to myself, "mom in a romper, mom in a romper!"

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  103. Dear Johnny, I am in Melbourne, Australia, and I received your hilarious take on 70s fashions from Portland, Oregon (in an email, which made me look for your blog by Googling). I have sent it on to everyone I know, mainly in Australia, and also to a friend in Texas who actually wrote copy for JC Penney catalagues. Can't wait to hear how she reacts. Thank you for the biggest laugh I've had in ages.

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  104. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I have had two very crappy weeks at work. I really needed this laugh. I'm laughing so hard I am crying! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for making my day. I think the reason it's so damn funny is I grew up in the 70's and every year my mother would shop the catalogs for our school clothes. OH MY HELL!

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  105. I was a senior in High School in 1977. I think my grandma bought me one of those outfits for my birthday. She always shopped at Penny's.
    She's dead now. Good.
    Bitch.

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  106. Anonymous9:33 PM

    JV-OMG!It took a while to compose myself, that was the funniest thing I've ever seen. I was in my late teens in 1977, holy shit! I feel like I had been in a time warp seeing all of those ugly clothes! Thanks for the great laugh, I'm still cracking up!!!
    Mary V.

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  107. Anonymous10:29 PM

    My parents have that barrel furniture in their basement, and I have always wondered where it came from... now I know!

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  108. Ah, the seventies. Such a wonderfully horrendous time -- all those pictures make you wonder what everyone was thinking -- and there's always much pointing and laughing. Thanks for sharing. You might like to check out this site for the "Grooviest Motel in Wisconsin". It's fantastic.

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  109. EGAD, funniest forwarded email I ever got contained this post. THE BEST!

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  110. Anonymous11:57 PM

    i choked on cheetos (no, i really almost stopped breathing) for laughing so hard at your commentary.

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  111. Anonymous2:03 AM

    OMG, TOO funny!!!! I was born in '72 so don't recall a lot of that era, thankfully, but do recall not being so happy with the way mom dressed me. Crazy plaid pants... and that harvest gold and avocado green appliances, oh yeah.....

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  112. Oh, man!
    I'm seriously crying here! Thanks for the laughs!

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  113. JV, what a funny bloke you are. I'm an Aussie and was an exchange student in Illinois '77-'78. We don't have JC Penny in Australia, but I seriously bought stuff from that catalogue. What a shame my box of goodies got lost in transit! A friend sent me this blog and I'll be sending it around. My kids will love your sense of humour (as well as some of the comments you've received). Thanks for such a great laugh.

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  114. T Hagen6:48 AM

    I remember some of the 70's, I was between marriages, and it didn't seem funny then as JC Penney was the foundation of mid-America fashion. But, I can't believe how hard I laughed at the Penney's blog...great stuff. Good to get me going at 5 a.m.

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  115. OK...I have had extensive therapy and can no admit that my parents had that very advertised barrel dining set! Each chair weighed about 300 pounds! My step-mom was a JCP devotee and I vividly remember dozens of sets of curtains and bedspreads and coordinating throw rugs being exchanged between bedrooms. Polyester flashbacks from hell! Thanks for the laugh!

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  116. Anonymous10:07 AM

    On the second matching couple,
    you need to add:

    After the kid in elementary school got his ass royally kicked, his mom inherited his 3 1/2" belt.....

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  117. I found this because it was caught by my spam filter (this blog is an email that is getting forwarded around the net - how cool is that?) Anyway, I had to search it out. Did a google search on the first paragraph and found your blog. GREAT BLOG by the way. Anyway, I have book marked you, so I can check back --- this was the best thing EVER (I was around for the 70's so I do remember these things ... I think I dreamed of having that dining room set! I had tears in my eyes when I was reading the 'emergency pull tab' ... MUCH APPRECIATED!

    (embarassingly, my journal is extremely outdated!)

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  118. You need to put this up on eBay. You'll never have to work again.

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  119. Mad Gringo11:03 AM

    Late to the party as always, I just finished wiping the tears from my eyes.

    The chest hair comments did me in.

    Linked back to you here: blog.madgringo.com

    Go slow.

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  120. Singapore Lah11:25 AM

    Just remember this when your grandchildren find the clothing adds from 2007. I can hear it now: "What is with the "tats" and people showing so much skin?" "Was everyone in those days malnuristed?" "What is with the pointy toes?" The saddest part of all is that the baby boomers really thought we were as cool as the generation Y and X think they are today. Scary, lah?

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  121. Anonymous11:58 AM

    We had the shag carpeting for the basement toilet, only the fabric was yellow. My dad still has the evangelical polyester blue/plaid suits in the closet.

    I can remember my mom shopping at JC Penney and Woolworth's, which were in a block of each other at the time. Woolworth's had the escalator, which made it more cool!

    Unfortunately, I think most of my clothes came from TG&Y and Gibson's, which were much closer to our house. By the mid-1980s, Wal Mart drove them all out.

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  122. nice find! glad i took the time to figure out where the email forward had stolen all the pictures from (the level of wit in commentary seemed well beyond the chain of folks who forwarded it to me).

    If you're into scathing commentary of the "WTF were they thinking" era (1970's) and earlier, check out James Lileks website. A good place to start is his book on 1970's interior decorating (online snippets abound). I've now got a copy of this book as well as his book Gallery of Regrettable Food which features photos from mid-century cookbooks.

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  123. OMG I laughed until I cried thanks I am so glad I do not remember much of the 70's. In 77 I was only 4 so clothes were not a biggie for me, LOL.

    Thanks
    Amy

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  124. Anonymous1:01 PM

    I swear the guy in the Beach Clothes is Howie from the Fall Guy.

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  125. Can you please post the order form? I'd like to see if they still have some of those fabulous duds in stock. kthx

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  126. Anonymous2:45 PM

    I'm still laughing. Hell I might still have some of that stuff hanging in my closet. Damn, I did get rid of the scarlet vest, but I might still have the velvet bow tie. The bathing suit was nice, but a bit too large compared to what I wore back then. Speedo Rules! Junk pressing against the fabric? Nah! Lets talk about junk popping out the top of the waist band. Now there was a bathing suit.

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  127. Anonymous3:26 PM

    OhMiGosh. I owned that white shirt with the plaid blanket yoke and pocket flaps. I am mortified.

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  128. Now Sports Illustrated has a link. You're a star, kid.

    I was born in '72 and all my school clothes came from Sears or Penny's catalogues.

    I'm from Iowa, but live in NC now. When I visit Iowa, people still rock their Penny's finest... from around the same time period.

    You might be able to sell it as a current catalogue in Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas....

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  129. FYI, links to your blog are all over my friends' list on LJ. I think we were all teens in the 70s and you've given us a blast from the past that we want to share.

    I had that Carol Burnetty bowl-cut haircut! But I dressed more femininely than the boyish clothing you posted. Not better or more attractively, mind you, just more feminine.

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  130. Holy crap! That was hilarious! I'm very young and glad that such fashion mistakes aren't apart of my past. But then again, fashion mistakes are a part of everyone's past. I mean, I probably wore things that would get my ass kicked somewhere, right? But I do remember seeing pictures of my parents wearing stuff like that. And who wants shag carpet a part of their decor in their bathroom?!

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  131. This is truly well done. The pictures are funny, but the text is worthy opf Dave Barry. Congratulations on an exceptionally funny and well done piece. Like many who received this as an email, I googled a phrase, and found your site. You can bet that I am both bookmarking your site, and sending the link to the site rather than forwarding the email to share this great humorous piece.

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  132. The Colonel6:27 PM

    Wow, you are a CHOACH. How can you hate on such distinctively fresh clothes? They may not be your cup of tea, but at least they allowed people with little means to stand out from the crowd.

    You're going to tell me those people look any dorkier than the fools today walking around in such oversized clothes it looks like they got partially zapped by doctor shrinker?

    Clothes back then FIT, and had SASS. Now, people are practically born wearing sports gear.

    And bro: if you don't think an evening at home with your lovely lady sporting those matching terry-cloth jumpsuit wouldn't RULE, well, yer straight trippin.

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  133. Thanks for the laugh, I seriously disrupted my serenely quiet workplace while reading your blog. thanks heavens I was little in the 70s and do not recall the outfits I wore or I'd be scarred for life.

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  134. Hey Johnny! I just got an email with a portion of this entry in it. I made sure to let them know where it originated. You rock, dood.

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  135. Anonymous7:23 PM

    So, so funny. And to know that I was actually living at
    that time!!!!!!! This is living proof that evolution is real. If we had kept wearing that stuff, we would
    definitely all be DEAD. The only thing that could top
    the clothing in the catalog would be homemade versions of the same. Yes, I had the honor of wearing
    those. To this day, I still think of myself as a dork. Your childhood experience do have a lasting effect on your self esteem. Thanks for the laugh, I loved it. hp

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  136. Love it. That kid in pic #4 could have been me.

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  137. Holy sh!t! My best friend has a MINT set of that barrel furniture in his basement. I've offered his Dad up to $500 for it...now I guess I'll have to go to $1000 seeing it was originally $399....

    Great find, best link I've been sent in a month.

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  138. vnamerican9:27 PM

    Dear JV,

    Please run office in 2008. You have my vote.

    ...and I'm still peeing in my pants after reading it for the umpteenth time....

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  139. Anonymous10:01 PM

    A link to your blog was posted on a message board that I visit. I'm sending this to all of my friends!

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  140. This is ALL OVER the web already. Well done!

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  141. HAHAHAHA! Thanks for the "trip" back to the past!

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  142. Anonymous11:18 PM

    I can count on one hand the times I burst out laughing when at my computer but I nearly pissed myself reading this. That is a seriously hilarious post.

    thanks, that honestly brightened my day.

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  143. Lori Brown11:43 PM

    I got this from another Close To My Heart consultant. She's in Kansas & I'm in Illinois. It is now headed to my DH's work email so he can share!

    Oh, and my bro's had awesome blue/white wide stripe pants with narrow stripe shirts a few years earlier than this. And I disitinctly remember LOTS of patterned pants in my wardrobe. Explains a lot about my current fashion choices and phobias.

    I am adding you to my favorites; this was both hysterical and memory-inducing!

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  144. Maureen8:21 AM

    This has made it's way across the pond now and is doing the rounds in the UK ! Just as well I was wearing my Tena Lady pants when I read it or my chair would have been soaked. Sadly this fashion was also in abundance in the UK in 1977 and I confess to owning some white crimplene hot pants which my Mother made for me. Not as bad as JC Penneys, they were ten times worse. I'd like to think I've emerged from the 70's unscathed but I found myself reaching for a magnifying glass to note down the telephone number on the front cover.......... It also induced a wanton and unnecessary version of "Crazy Horses".

    Absolutely hilarious, as are the comments and have passed it on to friends with a health warning - make sure you are wearing suitably absorbent underwear whilst reading.

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  145. Save your 2007 catalog and you can re-use this post in 2037. When you look at what young people are wearing today, you can do nothing but laugh hysterically.

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  146. Oh dear. I graduated from high school in 1977! One of my friends had the snap front western shirt and boy was he HOT.

    Oh no...I'm laughing too hard, I have to visit the ladies room. You're all laughing now...ha! Just you wait.

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  147. I was a teen back then and the youngest of 5... simply put: "JCP Hand-Me-Downs"... uhgh...

    Deeply troubling yet hilarious JV... well done!

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  148. More! More! I'd love to see some more of the girl's fashions, and I use that term loosely! I was so into the striped socks and had the coolest pair of jeans that had a bunny with a cotton tail and the words "sit on it" embroidered on the back pocket.

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  149. cdurrill9:37 AM

    I'm so glad my family was too poor to be fashionable. The 70s were Levi's and flannel shirt times for us!

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  150. OMG...I personally loved the green St. Pat's leisure suits. That was freakin' hilarious. I haven't laughed so hard since the "Ryan's Steakhouse" story that has been floating around the internet for years!

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  151. This is great. I have forwarded to several. I think you should find a Sears catalog. I miss the Toughskins I crew up with. Along with my veleour red white and blue shirt. That was the BEST.

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  152. I laughed until my sides ached! Thanks for that trip back to my freshman year of high school. Though, I swear, I don't remember anyone EVER dressing anything like most of that! The green suits, unfortunately, totally ring a bell. I'm thinking my homecoming date.

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  153. Anonymous11:32 AM

    I am CRYING over here....laughing so hard. Your comments are HILARIOUS! Thanks for the laugh!

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  154. Y'know, both before and after that time, most people had the sense to ignore the junk in those catalogs as well as the magazines that said "...latest fashion." Nevertheless, twenty years before that time, I had a college roommate who actually wore whatever was "hot." I think she dropped out of school because she didn't make the cheerleading squad.

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  155. No wonder I cringe at the thought of sharing my childhood pics, and why everyone I know was embarassed and resentful of their parents by the time they were teens...We remember the paisley polyester and pumpkin colored ensembles, oh yes, we remember. Too funny, thanks for the laugh!

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  156. it is my opinion that kids growing up in the 70s were virtually untouched by pedophiles.

    i know i was never abducted--the avocado, pumpkin, and plaid color schemes must have been too sickening.

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  157. By the way, Johnny, might I suggest a sequel post to this one? If there are more great pics in that catalog we'd love to see them.

    Thanks

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  158. Anonymous1:24 PM

    This was the most hilarious thing I've seen this year - it came through email to me and I have sent it to everyone in Michigan (the whole state) and to family in California and Georgia. We howled with laughter in my office because we all lived (and survived) the 70s, wearing this trash, and we thought we were the coolest kids ever. Thank you so much for all the laughs and for the comments (which made the article) - my personal favorite being the idiot with the tie about 2 inches long. What. The.... HA!

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  159. Whoa! Take me back!! My Dad had, like, 7 of those orange jumpsuits, which he wore working/tinkering in the garage, because my mother, save our souls, wouldn't allow him to wear them anywhere else. If she would've, he would've worn 'em to church, being as he didn't golf.

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  160. Anonymous3:11 PM

    I wouldn't go to where the real cowboys wear some of those shirts. It sure won't be them that get their ass kicked if you make fun of them.

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  161. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Can't imagine what kind of stains I'd leave in that terrycloth one-piece.

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  162. Hey, I wore some of those clothes and I thoughbt I looked cool. LOL How times change, thank god.

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  163. sandra4:00 PM

    Wow, those really were The Dark Days of Fashion. Were the entire 70s a backlash against cool?

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  164. I made the mistake of looking at this at 4 in the morning and laughed so hard I woke my boyfriend up!

    Absolute pure gold.

    Now when I see silly kids strutting their stuff in recycled 70s gear thinkin they look cool I shall point them here to reinforce, it was not cool the first time, and it still aint cool now......... although those fetching terry towelling relaxation suits for the guys; handy for free balling!

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  165. I made the mistake of looking at this at 4 in the morning and laughed so hard I woke my boyfriend up!

    Absolute pure gold.

    Now when I see silly kids strutting their stuff in recycled 70s gear thinkin they look cool I shall point them here to reinforce, it was not cool the first time, and it still aint cool now......... although those fetching terry towelling relaxation suits for the guys; handy for free balling!

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  166. Holy jeeze, I remember those plaid suits! The guys in the white (?) suits look like Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island and Tattoo's evil normal-sized twin. And the androgyny...the androgyny...

    BTW whoever thought it was hip to combine Earth Tones and disco colors should be shot :-)

    I do like the shag toilet, however.

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  167. I grew up during that time and I have yet to find any record of cool clothing. No news clips, catalogs photos, nuthin'! Kids like to do the retro thing but believe me boys and girls it sucked. The plaid, the sweater vests, the wide belts. All of it, AWFUL! I would give today's kid grief about what they wear but they would hit me with: "Hey gramps! What's with the platform shoes and bellbottoms you could shelter the homeless in?

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  168. FYI.... there are several blog posts around the internet taking credit for this, including the part about the exhaust fan.

    You might want to Google part of it, like the Cowboy Chachi part, and see what's out there.

    People think nothing of stealing other people's stuff, even when personal history is involved!!

    Anyway, hilarious with great commentary. Just don't want to see you get ripped off.

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  169. my guess is that all of the designers in the 70s were enjoying the effects of some sort of plant-based and/or chemical supplement. if not, they have no excuse and i hope their careers were all crushed under the weight of so much plaid polyester :) I put you on mixx.com!

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  170. Francine6:00 PM

    Oh my God. Sadly, I used to spend a lot of time as a child poring over those catalogs and drawing mustaches on all the models with an ink pen. Those photos look VERY familiar. Almost as if I've mustached them before.

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  171. Your blog link was posted at a Starsky & Hutch group due to your David Soul reference

    What can I say...graduated high school in 1976, chubby kid, small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you ordereed clothes from a catalog that never fit or looked good on you...ah nostalgia! *lol*

    My favorite bit "In case of chest hair emergency, pull tab quickly and back away." Hmmm I think I shall apply that to British actor Martin Shaw aka Ray Doyle from the U.K. TV series "The Professionals" (1977-1983)

    (photo here *luvre*)
    http://www.thetvlounge.co.uk/professionals/viewtopic.php?t=801&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75

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  172. cindy6:55 PM

    Thank you for the best laugh I've had in ages!

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  173. sunnie55@yahoo.com7:14 PM

    You....Me....let's go rent "Saturday Night Fever" together...
    You are too funny...I like the way you think...you had me peeing in my pants...brought me back...I bought an old boyfriend a maroon corduroy suit, and a shirt with wings like the leprachaun's body guard..Thank God I was more of a bohemian dresser...bought my clothes in head shops...
    Keep up the funny stuff!

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  174. Trust me, David Soul NEVER wore anything as bad as that. I'm a Huge fan, still.

    But I swear my mother sewed ALL those clothes for us in the 70s during one of her "creative" periods.

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  175. to quote Denis Leary - "We were in the middle of a sexual revoluation wearing clothes that guaranteed we wouldn't get laid"

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  176. Laurie8:19 PM

    I just want you to know that this is now circulating as a joke e-mail!! Way to freakin' go!! I was laughing so much reading the e-mail that I googled 1977 JC Penney Catalog blog and found you! Plan on reading more and if it's anywhere in the neighborhood of funny, consider yourself bookmarked!

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  177. Kristen B9:19 PM

    OMG - I grew up in the 70's and I remember that guy in the leprechaun ad (one on the right) I used to think he was so hot! He was in all kinds of ads. Thank you so much for bringing me back to my childhood, wearing a red velvet dress and brown & yellow striped pants because it was too cold out. thank you also, for making me laugh so hard about the pull tab snap shirt!! Still crying...

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  178. Thanks for the comments everyone. It's incredible.

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  179. I am DYING with laughter. The jumpsuit is the best one ... followed by the suntan-lotion-holster one. Tears are streaming down my face. You rock.

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  180. You know what's *really* funny about the catalogue? The small inset pictures... like, you know, I totally hated the plaid suit the kid was wearing until I realized it came in green AS WELL.

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  181. Seriously, I love them all. Your comments that is. I especially enjoyed the mr bob "nopants" saget.

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  182. Seventies survivor11:08 PM

    An LJ friend linked me here. I was in high school in '77; a sophomore. I remember a lot of those clothes, though I also remember refusing to let my mother shop for me at Penney's (or Sears). I can also hold my head up proudly: my father refused to get a leisure suit. "Why the hell would I want to wear something that looks like that in public?" I recall him saying, and I am proud of him for it.

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  183. Dude - my parents had that whiskey barrel furniture! In fact, *I* had it in my basement until I got divorced a few years ago. I miss it! It was so retro and cheesy. AND HEAVY. God, you could give yourself a hernia just nudging the chair over to vacuum under it.

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  184. Okay – a couple things:
    I was born in July 1977 – which means I was never forced to wear most of this garbage. However, that being said, a couple of these outfits are better than some of the outfits people wear now.
    For example – I actually think the plaid jacket worn by the used car salesman is not horrible, and with a smaller lapel, would look actually decent. In fact, plaid has (for those still wearing the GAP blue shirt with khaki pants (we will get to this a little later), come back in sports coats, just in a more muted color scheme than that one.

    Secondly – the pale green suit (the 3-piece, not the leisure) is not bad either. Not sure why, but it seems as if it would be a decent summer wedding suit to wear even today. I think some guys could pull it off.

    As for picking on that fashion, has anyone pondered how bad our own recent fashion trends will look like? For example, in another 20 years, do you not think people are going to laugh out loud for the Tommy Hilfiger craze? Plus – at least the clothes in the 70’s fit. Nowadays, so many guys wear relaxed fit everything, that we all look like khaki sacks. Anyone in shape until recently with the fitted dress shirts were relegated to looking like were wearing blouses (unless you happened to afford custom clothing or had a naturally wide bone structure to take on the extra fabric so fat people could buy clothes).
    Plus – and I wear them today, but all of the striped (Thomas Pink ripoffs really) patterned shirts are going to be laughed at in 30 years.

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  185. Anonymous11:46 PM

    Any "Designing Women" fans out there? I'm pretty sure that's Charlene's guy "Bill" (Douglas Barr) in the beach attire, reaching for something!

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  186. Hey -

    Best laugh I've had in ages. I lived through that and remember vividly the intensely bad fashion that seemed so cool. The jumpsuits and necklaces *shudder*.

    Oh, and I made my way here from a Starsky & Hutch mailing list. Hutch was a stylin' dude, you jive turkey :P

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  187. "This kid looks like he’s pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15"


    BEST COMMENTARY....EVER.

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  188. My Mom made me wear day-glo green pants to second grade. My ears stuck-out and I wore thick glasses.

    Yes, I was regularly beaten.

    LOL!

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  189. Anonymous3:23 AM

    Thanks, I was trying real hard to forget all the bad clothing styles of the mid-late 70's. Now I have to up my meds.

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  190. This made my day.... I got it in a forwarded email, and decided I just HAD to track down the source. Fortunately, it wasn't too hard. Why don't people just send the link to your site, rather than stealing your content and emailing it around???

    Anyway - just had to thank you for this hysterical walk down memory lane. My dad really did wear one of those jumpsuits - though his was blue, not orange.

    I'm going to have to link to this from my own blog.

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  191. pinnacleband.com8:43 AM

    I thought you had a heart that's full of music and a head that's full of song...and a love for nothing else???
    Seems like you've got a pretty strong love for that funny writin' stuff.
    Sorry, that's the only Kevin Gilbert reference I could come up with on short notice. You just don't run across Shaming fans every day.
    I'm pretty sure my dad still has that weird green jacket. I don't think he's worn it in years, but I don't know that he hasn't, either.

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  192. Anonymous9:59 AM

    I've never LOlouder! I wore a jumpsuit to make my mother happy because she made it, she must not have known that she just coulda bought one at PENNIES! And my poor brother. But the one that really got me was the penis staring chick, what was she thinking..........

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  193. I think you're going to get hits over this post forever, or at least a long time in blogland...

    As for matching outfits... try walking around Amsterdam for a while and pick out the American tourists. It shouldn't be too hard, I've just given you a big hint. ;-)

    And not only do the couples dress the same, they also look a lot like the other couples. Some days I felt either the couple was following me or they had some kind of polyamorous relationship going on...

    But yeah, I was a child in the seventies and I wore a lot of horrible clothes too. I blame it on my parents, I was too young to know better.

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  194. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Now I have to go through my childhood photo albums and find ut if my parents dressed me in any of that shit. If I find any white belts I'm kicking ass.

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  195. Roddy McCorley2:29 PM

    Herb Tarlek lives!

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  196. teduardo2:32 PM

    First time here, this post was frakin' hilarious, nice work! I think I had to pick Christmas presents from a ratty edition of this very same catalog for about 5 years.

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  197. BCPipes2:43 PM

    Wow. A whole catalog devoted to The Captain and Tinnille.

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  198. *Gah* Those fashion designers had to be smoking loco weed to dream up some of those nightmares! Thank goodness I stuck with my hippie outfits clear up through the eighties.

    BTW, you are HILARIOUS!!! I think my guts almost came up through my mouth from laughing so hard!

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