Friday, October 26, 2012

Just Too Cute for a Wishbook Christmas!

After last week's crazy outfits, I thought we would take a break and go back to just some ordinary fashions from the early 70s. 

These pics are from the Sears 1972 Wishbook.   The Wishbook was a Christmas mail order catalog that came out in time for parents to place their orders for all the in demand toys for the season.  They were not as big as the big book catalogs for the spring and fall, but they were still pretty substantial. 
The arrival of the Wishbook (and their counterparts from other department stores) always caused great excitement in households across the land for they signaled kids that the Christmas season was in full swing.  It was almost like Santa had fired a flare across the sky letting everyone know that, yep, he was coming this year.

The Wishbook was mostly toys of course.  However, they had seasonal clothing offerings also.   Moms could always be counted on to order some clothes.  The kids wanted toys while moms were more interested in making sure they had school clothes.  Grandmas too could be counted on to always get clothes for the grand kids.  You can still hear the echos across the land from those Christmas mornings "No, you WILL put on that sweater with the reindeer pattern that Grandma Casey got you and we WILL take a photo of it and you WILL send her a thank you card, young man". 

All of these pics are form Sears Junior Bazaar.  Sears really was the marketing leader in this category.  The others never could quite come up with as catchy a name for their juniors section.

Otherwise these are just really nice pics of Kathy.  She was just too cute.

Not much to say here.  Except for the pointy collars, these shirts would not be out of place today.  Karen has a wig on (obviously).  They did that with the models sometimes.  Maybe they got bored or something during the shoots.  Not really a good look.  Kathy is absolutely radiant here.

Not sure who the third model is.  There were a posse of models that were always in these catalogs, and there were others that kinda popped in and out.  The extra wide white belt on Kathy is a nice touch.

Ahh, here we go - sweaters.  Nothing says Christmas quite like a comfy, cozy pull over sweater with acyclic bell bottom pants.  Note the price on the pants.  Gee, that is not much less than the equivalent would go for today.  And this was in 1972!  Those foreign workers making stuff for Walmart have really had an impact on clothing prices. Otherwise acrylic was about the most uncomfortable fabric to wear as I remember. 

Kathy looks absolutely adorable here, really steals the scene. No wonder she was a popular model for this kind of work.  You can picture grandmas looking at this and going  "Ohh my little Suzy would look adorable in that.  I'm not sure about the bell bottoms, seems a bit hippie, but if that is what the young folks are wearing these days, I'll get it for her".  Perhaps that is why Sears toned down the clothing for the season - they were going after the grandma sales.  They could save the edgier stuff for Spring.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Columbia Minerva Awesomeness

Blogging at times can be difficult.  It can be tough to find good material to comment on - especially if your log has a very narrow focus.

Then there are the rare moments like this when blogging mana seems to fall from the Internet heavens.  Such is the post today.  This one pic richly deserves to have a post all of its own for it is truly blogging gold uncovered from the world of Internet mining, preserved here for all posterity.

I strongly suggest that you do not look directly at the pic all at once.  There is simply too much and it will overload your senses.  Instead start at the left and SLOWLY work your way to the right - for each outfit needs to be fully appreciated on its own merits before moving on.

I am not personally familiar with Columbia Minerva.  Apparently it was a rag that showed you how to sew your own totally rad 70s style clothes.  People did that alot back then to save money, That is before we had our clothes made in overseas sweatshops for nearly free.

And yes this is real.  This is not photo shopped.  This is 70s fashion at its finest.

If you are not laughing hysterically now you are either: a) a heartless, soulless cyborg, b) comatose, or c) someone who actually wore one of these outfits to school and was socially scarred for life. Where, oh where, do we begin. 

Let's start at the left.  And yes, that is Shelley Hack in pre Charlie's Angels days boldly modeling something called "El Gaucho" (shouldn't it be "la gaucha" or maybe "gotcha" as in "gotcha to wear something ridiculous"?).  I am from the rural plains states, and I have known actual cowboys and cowgirls and I have NEVER seen any of them in any outfit REMOTELY like this.  It looks gay even on a good looking girl. 

I'm not sure what the point of the just-past-the-knees pants are but I doubt seriously that they would hold up in actual brush country.  And what does any aspiring vaquero (vaquera?) needs to match her blindingly white cowboy hat?  That would be equally blindingly white, plastic, sorta-kinda cowboy boots!

Next up is our favorite 70s model Kathy in "Peasantry".  Hmmm, I always thought that girls wanted to be princesses, not peasants.  Perhaps it was worn to PLAY peasant like Marie Antoinette did.

Kathy actually pulls this off and looks pretty hot.  You can almost picture her on a covered wagon heading our west in late 1800s.  "Katherine, we'll homestead here on this godforsaken, windswept 40 acre plot.  You plow the fields, clean the sod house, raise the young 'ens, while I stand here guarding for injuns and admiring your figure in that smoking hot peasant dress!".  Also, apparently peasants wore the same white, plastic go-go boots that cowboys do in this alternative universe of fashion.

And that brings us to the Pièce de résistance, the "medieval".  What can I say more than what the picture says about itself.  What poor, demented creature would wear this in public?  Maybe to a Dungeons and Dragons role playing session, but even in that world you would probably get the crap beat out of you for showing up as Friar Tuck in crochet!  Once again, apparently white, plastic go-go boots were as popular in the 1100s as they were in the 1800s and 1970s!

Look again and laugh again for this is the pic that keeps on giving and giving!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sear Catalog Fall / Winter 1972

The year 1972 was a turbulent one.  Tricky Dick was elected to his second term in office.  The Watergate scandal hadn't broken out as big news yet.  Negotiations were underway in Paris to end the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  The news of that day was dominated by every twist, turn and rumor of the goings on in Paris.  The treaty would be signed in just a few months in January 1973 to get us out of that tar pit.  Nixon had just closed the gold window the year before, and for the first time in human history, the world economy ran on 100% pure fiat money - the final verdict of that experiment is still out.

In the midst of all this chaos the big book catalogs (weighing in at over 5 pounds each!) could be counted on to arrive in the mail twice a year from the major retailers bringing perfect fashions on perfect bodies with perfect poses  - tranquility in the midst of storm.  And on top of the list was Sears.  While some companies targeted the upper or lower ends of the economic spectrum, Sears targeted the big middle.  So everyone got the Sears catalogs - rich, poor, urban, rural, etc.  It truly represented the fashions of the day.

And the year 1972 was in the peak of Kathy's career as a catalog model.  Here are some classic picks from the Sears Fall / Winter catalog of that year.

Yes Sweater Knits do give you that "young and lively" look  perfect for a night out rocking the club scene!  The sweater cap (hat?) on Karen is classic.  What girl would actually wear that and mess up her hair?  Of course perhaps you put it on to cover up the fact that you hadn't done your hair.  Kathy's pose is pretty odd.  I guess they are trying to show off those awesome clog shoes.  And why is her hand behind her head?  Perhaps it is to show prospective buyers that the sweater doesn't show underarm stains?!?

I love the girl on the left.  Is she running at the same time she has her arm under Kathy's arm?  Those photographers must of had something on their minds there.  Another sweater cap on Karen - they must have been trying to push those.

One thing they did a lot in these shots is to have on model look at the another while that model is looking away.  In this case Kathy is looking at the girl to her left (and laughing) while that girl is looking down laughing.  What are they laughing at?  I guess the idea is to create a shot so that the buyer can fill in the details.  So the message is buy these wildly colorful dresses and life will be all happy and full of laughs - clothes will make all your anxiety and problems go away! 

Other than the colors, these dresses seem pretty conventional.  Oh wait, I almost missed the weird collars on the dress on the right.  Are those supposed to be seagull wings?  More awesome clog shoes on Colleen.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Kathy Loghry JCPenney Catalog Photos

Well this post is back to catalog pics!  Kathy was a mainstay model in the JCPenney catalogs during the early to mid-seventies.  Here are several that span that time frame.  Plenty more photos from JCP in the future.

JCP and Sears published two big book catalogs every year.  One in the spring and the other in the fall.  Getting these was always a big deal.  There was no internet then and these catalogs represented a connection to what was happening in fashion for the average household. 

The first photo is from the JCP fall winter catalog in 1971.  This is about as early a catalog photo of Kathy as I have been able to find. 

Kay Campbell is to Kathy's left.  The other model is unknown.  I'm not sure why you would want a leotard with a turtleneck.  Seems to me that it would be pretty hot but I guess the idea is that you wear a skirt over it (from the insert pic).  That way you can go to the gym straight away from work, rip off the skirt and jump into the aerobics class.  Also that combo doesn't seem real practical to me to wear all day (how do you go to the bathroom)?

The next two pics are from 1976

You'll notice the tiny pic of Kay showing the reverse view.  This was common in these catalogs, but why?  I think we know basically what it would look like from the front view.  After all neither of these outfits is too flattering on the figure.  It must have helped to move the goods because it is very common.  I don't understand why Kathy has her arms out.  It is like they wanted to highlight the massive sleeves on the weird tunic with the cool rope belt she is wearing.  Huh?  I don't get it.  Massive sleeves do not look good on any girl, even Kathy.

Another set of funky, fun outfits modeled by Kay and Kathy.  1976 was after the flower power era and just before the disco (ugghh) craze.  These outfits show the fashion confusion well.  They borrow from the hippie look - check out that cool hat that Kay wears - but they seem to be pointing to something beyond the hippie look, but what nobody will ever know because both outfits are a clear miss (even by the standards then).  The uber-long, featureless dress look didn't catch on.  Kathy seems to not be terribly comfortable in the long tunic with pants combo, perhaps she knows the outfit is hideous!

This last pic is from 1977.  This is about the end of Kathy's catalog model career.  I haven't been able to locate any photos past then.  Once again we have the awful, uber-long pants with bizarrely unflattering tops.  However Kathy's dress seems more conventional.  She is even holding a purse!  You'll notice how she poses as if she is walking forward.  Very common type of shot.  It must have taken real skill to hold that pose and make it appear that you are actually moving.  Who said modelling was easy!