Monday, March 30, 2015

The Big Book Catalog Series (Part 5) 1972b!

This post probably should be titled "Catalogs that have issues."  Why?  Well the two Big Books that we'll examine this week are the Aldens and Spiegel 1972 Spring / Summer editions!

So what's the problem you ask?  Well check out the cover of the Aldens catalog.  Yep that's a water stain on the cover (if you missed it, you were probably distracted by the guy's leisure suit.)  Note to self  "Do not buy a catalog with obvious water damage on the cover."  And yes, that's Karen on the cover of Spiegel - with zebras on her skirt!

Let's start with Aldens.......
Nothing wrong here.  Kathy and Karen look perfect in this pic.  Except, that, well, although this pic is from the Aldens 1972 SS catalog, it's not from MY catalog.  It's courtesy of JJ's Playhouse (Thanks).  

JJ's pics are fine.  However, when I try to scan from this catalog it comes out like this.....

Yuck!  I tried everything: putting a big heavy book on top, putting a solid backing behind the page. Nothing worked.  After all, it's difficult enough to preserve old printed material when it hasn't been exposed to water.  (And it's not like these catalogs were made with the highest quality materials anyway.)   Still, Kay and Dottie are looking good in these yellow coordinates!

Kathy and Karen in a classic pose, and despite the crinkly wrinkly copy, they manage to make these bargain basement shorts look smashing! 

The worst thing about the water damage is that it mainly affected the front part of the catalog, which, naturally is where all of Kathy's pics are located.  So let's move on to some the sections less affected...

I don't publish a lot of pics from the men's section of the these old catalogs, but in this case I'll make an exception.  Yep, these are some "turned-on" youth.  However, no matter how turned on they are, I doubt they are going to attract many ladies in that attire! 

Two items of note here: the ecology shirt (heck, I forgot all about those!), and the mesh shirt (that's one 70s style I never wore, thank goodness!)

I've had enough of trying to get decent scans from that catalog.  Let's move on to the Spiegel 1972 SS edition.....

Ahhh, that's so much better.  These juniors (unlike the guys from Aldens) know how to dress to get noticed.  Check out Kathy's dress.  Yep, those are elephants?!?  What was it with elephants back then?  They seem to show up on clothing from time to time.  Did I miss something there?

Not sure what to say about this pic.  It's like Spiegel was trying to be hip and modern and still trying to stay upscale and classy - strange mix.

Well these guys are ready to hit the scene in style (which includes the classic denim jacket.)

Up front I mentioned that my copy of both these catalogs had issues.  The water damage with the Aldens catalog is obvious.  So what's wrong with the Speigel copy?........... 

Do not adjust your monitor.  That's the way the page actually looks.  Must have been a printing error or something.  Fortunately it only affected a few pages.  Despite all that, Shelley still looks great. 

Well, after all of these problems scanning these pages and dealing the printing errors, I need a break.  
Good thing I outfitted my den with all the "with-it" styles from Aldens: fake wood furniture - check, weirdly futuristic plastic furniture - check, red shag carpeting - check, well stocked bar - check, pretty blonde sharing a drink - uhh, well, we're working on that one.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bodysuits (Part 7) Now They're Body Stockings!

Body suits - everyone's favorite style of apparel form the 70s.  They appeared in the 60s, but it was during the 70s that their evolution blossomed in full. Starting as the basic bodysuit, they morphed into body shirts, body blouses, and even.....body stockings!!

Yep, Kathy looks fantastic in this red body stocking!  I'm not sure about the description "Total coverage from throat-to-toe."  Yes, this "rib-hugging, curvy, one-color look" is indeed the "ideal way to pull together an outfit." (1)

More body stockings from Speigel!  Karen dazzles in a "bodysuit of 1-piece stretch nylon."  Sounds absolutely suffocating.  As a bonus check out the "Insta-gators" in the lower right corner. (2)

Of course, there is a thin line between a one piece bodysuit and your basic leotards.  I'm not sure where that line is or whether it really matters that much or not.   Here Kathy opted for the more traditional body suit look.

Either as body stockings or leotards, they apparently only come in solid (and very bright) colors. (Re-blogged from ThePeopleHistory.Com)

Another "Throat-to-toe" style body stocking.  This time worn by Joanne.  Meanwhile Kathy and Kay seem pleased to be wearing the regular bodysuits.  As a bonus check out the box behind Kathy about the 1972 Olympics. (3)


(1) Pic is courtesy of Blue Senshi.  Thanks!  Before 1974, Sears put out two versions of their Big Book catalogs.  This pic is from the larger of the two and is in color.  What did the B&W version look like, you ask?
Yeah, I know.  The color version is MUCH better.

(2) I don't know if you remember the "gators" where you could turn shoes into boots.  It's one of those ideas that sounds good in theory but doesn't work so great in practice.

(3) That was when the Olympics was an extension of the Cold War.  One really cared whether the Norwegian skier or the Czech skier won the biathlon because the Norwegian was on "our" side and the Czech was on "their" side.   Now, it's like "who cares".  They're all professionals and sponsored by corporations.

Monday, March 16, 2015

K Club Special - (Part 16) Joanne Vitelli

Wow! So now we are onto the 16th edition of the K Club Special. And what better way than with the ever elegant  Joanne Vitelli.  Well we may want to rename this post to Part 2 of The J Club Special (the first being the special on Jayne Modean).

Classic teen model from  the 60s.  You may not recognize her from this.  But wait....

Ah ha! Now we know her  - from the Big Book catalogs.  Yeah she was great....

On the cover of the Aldens 1974 Fall and Winter Big Book catalog!

Joanne in "Layered Separates" for that mix 'n match look!

Another great pose!

This is a great pic of Joanne, but I had a lot of trouble getting a good scan.  That part of the catalog was crinkly.  I tried everything, but this is the best I could do.  Even though it isn't a good scan, I decided to post it anyway.

Joanne was also a common sight in many print ads such as here for Gay Gibson.

And here with Colleen and Randy Oakes (re-blogged from

You're probably thinking "Okay, this entire post was a lead up to this pic."  Yep, you'd be correct. This ad is so politically incorrect on every level, it's hard to know where to start.  Apparently, Eve was introduced in 1971 as a competitor to Virginia Slims.  While that brand presented itself as the choice for the new liberated women, Eve was pitched as the choice for the more feminine lady. Naturally, Joanne was a perfectly elegant choice for that!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Break Ski Memories! (1)

"Hey son, next week is Spring Break.  What are your plans?"

"I dunno Grandpa, probably just chill at the beach with some friends.

"Well, that seems pretty tame.  Of course, I remember all the Spring Breaks from my college days."

"Uhhh, you went to all those rowdy places like Panama City and South Padre?  Grandpa, I can't really picture you doing that"

"Hey kid, I was young once.  And yes, most of my classmates went off to those warm weather ports for a week of drunken, baccalaurean debauchery.  However, a small, albeit hardy, minority of us cool kids would trek off in the opposite direction towards the ski slopes!"

"And you never had to wonder where to turn to get the grooviest His 'n Her coordinated ski fashions!"

"Where Grandpa?"

"Why the Big Book catalogs from Sears and JCPenney of course. Son, what are you doing on that on that smartphone?"

"I'm looking up ski fashions on the internet.  See Grandpa, no need to lug around those big catalogs anymore."

"Well, son, that may be true.  Still I miss all those Big Book catalogs.  There's something about having everything in one book that was special.  You could find everything you needed to outfit your big ski trip."

"Still, Grandpa, why go skiing on Spring Break?  I mean how did you stay warm?"

"Oh we managed, especially in groovy, goose down liners from JCPenney!

"You could even outfit the entire family for fun on the slopes."

"I don't know Grandpa.  You're telling me that you'd rather miss out on all the 'sizzlin' by the shore' bikini action at the beaches in order to go skiing?"

"Well, son, the beach scene is great, but there were plenty of cute gals on the slopes as well."
Back at the chalet, all is well.  Very, very, well.....

A sampling of the, ahem, wildlife inhabiting the upper reaches of the Mid-Rocky Mountain region of the USA (eat your hearts out beach bums!) (2)

Hey, is that Kathy on the left?!?!?!  Wow! (3)

"I see what you mean Grandpa.  But skiing is such hard work.  Wouldn't you rather just lay out in the sun?"

"Yes son, skiing involves, well how do I delicately put this, actually physical exertion.  I know that concept is almost anathema to your generation. Basically we skied our behinds off the first day.  That reduced our muscles to a quivering, lumpen mass of jello.  We'd then spend the rest of week trying to recover."

"And that is supposed to be fun?  yeah right."

"Well, we cheated sometimes.  A snowmobile ride was a great way to rest the body and have a blast, especially with that special someone."

"Grandpa, why are you smiling?  GRANDPA!"

"Oh sorry, I sorta wandered off there.  I was just reminiscing about the 'apres ski.'"

"Apricot what?"

"No, no, 'apres ski'.  That was sorta the whole point about going skiing in the first place!  The slopes were great, but it was what was waiting for you back at the lodge that mattered."

"Ohhh, I think I understand now Grandpa.  I do believe that I'll try skiing next Spring Break!" (4)


(1)  This post started out as a "Fashion as Couples Therapy" post, but it sort took on a life of its own.

(2)  Re-blogged from

(3)  If anyone can confirm whether this is, indeed, Kathy or not, please let me know.  The year is right (1972) and it sure looks like her!  The pic is from a Conde Nast magazine.  Re-blogged form

(4)  Re-blogged from

Monday, March 2, 2015

That's So 70s - The Long Look!

The mini skirt defined the 60s (well along with go-go boots, LSD, and anti-war protests).  So when the 70s rolled around, what would take its place?  After all, fashion, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  And one of the contenders that appeared on the scene was, drum roll please, the maxi......

Yeah, the minis were cool and, sigh, we all miss them terribly.  However, you gotta admit there is something about a pretty gal in a long skirt or dress that is uniquely atractive - especially when you have Kathy and friend here modeling them!

Yep, the title says it all here.  There IS something feminine about the long look.

Of course, you don't have to go with the elegant look with these maxis. Instead you can play dress up a bit like here with these 'peasant dresses" (the wording to the left won't fit in the scanner, but trust me, that's what these are).

Or you can forget about all that and just go or the total frilly look, like here - can't complain about that!!

Naturally we can't forget about the shoes.  Here, not only do we have some elegant long gowns, we have the platform shoes to go with them - soooo 70s!

It is amazing how many of these long dresses emphasized traditional femininity.  You don't see that today.  Of course outfits like this don't go well with tats, piercings, and multi-hued dyed hair.
Yep, we've come a long way baby, and not necessarily for the best.  Looking back on dresses like those shown above, or those shown below........ almost like looking back on a long lost world.  Like I said, I'm not sure the change has been for the best.  Yeah, they may have gone a bit over the top with the lace and frills, but they still looked great!  Let's just hope that styles like this make a comeback!