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Jun 10, 2012

70's Teen Idol Style



Readers, I am a product of the Seventies, by which I mean that, having been born in 1962, I spent my formative years in that decade.  Some people think of the Seventies as a disturbing time with tacky clothes, but take it from someone who was there: it was a great time with tacky clothes.



I don't know what it was about Seventies clothing.  All the synthetics like Qiana (there's no "u" in that word, I checked) and polyester?  The super-tight fit?  The wacky patterns and color combinations?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But because I was young then, I will always have a soft spot for it.

Of course, being a teen in the Seventies meant that I picked up most of my fashion cues from TV.  For me, the decade splits neatly in two, style-wise.  There were the early years of The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch (both cancelled around 1974, I believe) all bell-bottom pants and groovy-patterned shirts, and the later years of Family, Eight is Enough, and James at 16 -- more earth tones and casual beach-inspired looks.

The very beige cast of "Eight Is Enough"

Then there were the Seventies teen idols.  They didn't dress that well, but they didn't have to: the Seventies were all about the hair.  Here are some of my favorites:

David Cassidy.  I think know I love you.



Lance Kerwin.  Is he currently living in a trailer park -- or is that Erin Moran?



Kristy McNichol -- a girl, yes, but a very boy-like girl.



Kristy's TV boyfriend, Leif Garrett, whose hairstyle became famous when Farrah stole it.



Scott Baio.



I still love Seventies teen idol clothes, which let's face it, were primarily shorts and some sort of cotton/poly knit shirt.  It's a look successfully revived by American Apparel and they're raking in the dough so there must be a lot of people who like it beside me.

As I mentioned in my last post, my next project is that Seventies classic, Ocean Pacific corduroy shorts.  These were short-shorts, with two front patch pockets and an elastic waistband.   You can find original ones for sale on Etsy.





Here's Ralph Macchio modeling his.



There are actually a few vintage patterns that recreate the look (more or less), one even branded Op.





I'm going to use the pockets off this early Sixties men's jumpsuit pattern, Butterick 5629.  As you can see, the pocket shape is identical.



I'm making mine from lavender corduroy I picked up last week, the same day I bought the linen for Michael's recent shirt.  It's from Nahir on 39th St.



Readers, were you ever a Seventies teen?  Do you agree that Seventies teen style was basically tacky and cheap-looking but sexy too?  Did you ever wear Op shorts?

Who was your favorite teen idol?

Have a great day, everybody!



71 comments:

  1. Oh the 70s. I loved it. I too was a teenager. Feather hair cuts, pinifores over loons, platforms boots, hotpants with over the knee socks. Oh Yes a great decade. I had a crush on David Essex. Oh those were the days!!
    louise

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  2. MNuahhaha, "with Leif centerfold" - Leif is a common "old man's name" in Denmark and it cracks me up. :-)

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  3. I wasn't quite a teen in the 70's (80's for me, ugh). But, I did, and still do, love the hair. And OP shorts.

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  4. I too was a teenager during the seventies, but I was into a totally different seventies scene. I love the Ramones, still. You would love the basement of Mitchell Fabrics here in Winnipeg. They have quite the selection of authentic tacky seventies polyester fabric.

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  5. I was born in 63. I wanted to be Kristie MacNichol, and I wanted to marry Donny Osmond! Leif never did it for me....and is it me? Or is David Cassidy making duckface?

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  6. I was born in 1969 so only a child in the 70's but I was a bit nuts about the Bay City Rollers - my mum even made me a pair of the half mast, tartan trimmed trousers they stylishly sported. I saw them on Tv recently and the entire band looked like they needed a good wash (!) I also LOVED Hutch from Starsky and Hutch. X

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  7. Tacky and cheap-looking, but sexy. Yeah, that sums it up. I was a few years behind you, so the Partridge Family/Brady Bunch era was lost on me, but I definitely remember the stuff from the mid-1970s on.

    I remember having a mild crush on Shaun Cassidy and a few others, but Rene Simard was my big crush in those days.

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  8. Mid to late seventies graphic print shirts, rugby shirts, painter's pants, novelty t-shirts, actors with protruding chest hair, the instantaneous appearance of gals dressed like Annie Hall, feathered hair, Bonnie Bell lip gloss, hearing the word "foxy", the rise of Japanese cars, early punk rockers, men wearing Puka shell necklaces, Chess King, Merry Go Round, The Gap, The Limited, and of course the antics-which-became-news out of Studio 54.

    Where did it all go?

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  9. I think i love you
    Isn't that what life is made off
    Though it worries me to say
    That I've never felt this way....

    I had a big crush on David Cassidy
    But living in Belgium it took a while before the episodes of the partridge family were broadcast here...

    Daisy (Antwerp Belgium)

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    1. How fun, My hubs is from Brussels.

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  10. 1978 high school graduate here. I don't miss Disco or seeing men wearing leisure suits. My favorite outfit circa 1974 was a double-knit pantsuit with bell-bottom-hip-hugger pants and a long matching zip-up vest with a huge collar, worn with a turtleneck sweater and platform shoes, of course. I was a groovy chick, man.

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    1. We want pictures, Marsha. ;)

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    2. Sorry--I paid years ago to have all copies destroyed. The image of my extreme hipness is still burned into my cranium, though.

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  11. I was a teenager in the late eighties but I watched all the seventies TV shows in re-run in the eighties. So I love all those photos and the clothes do look fun.

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  12. I was born in 1966, absolutely loved the Partridge Family and The Monkees. At school you were either a Bay City Rollers fan or The Osmonds - it was tartan all the way for me, although I agree they've not aged as well as The Osmonds! My favourite outfit was a brown Charlie's Angels jumpsuit with beige pockets, collar and cuffs - it was much more fab than it sounds! And I desperately wanted to be in Pans People, a UK dance group on Top of The Pops, I used to dance on the coffee table with a poncho round my waist as a floaty skirt - brilliant! Oh, and hot pants - I love 70s stuff. I found a 70s sports wear sewing pattern in a charity shop yesterday, worth 50p of anybody's money, a joy - the tennis skirt has a heart shaped picket (frankly of no use as you'd never get a tennis ball in it) and is trimmed in ricrac, brilliant :)

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  13. I probably owned that issue of Tiger Beat! LOL Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson were all over my walls in the 70s :) I did not go for the Op shorts, though.

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  14. omg charles in charge!
    i loved chips too!
    i was born in the 70's; but love the style

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  15. OP, Stubbies, Grapevine: all in corduroy sailcloth; those were the days!

    A decade ago, I used to rummage through the racks at Out of the Closet in Silver Lake (Los Angeles) and find these treasures. I have a drawer full of them and love their fit and the way they show off my best parts.

    Unfortunately, they don't often see the light of day, as I'm not secure enough to wear them in public in the backward, backwoods town I now reside in.

    What happened? When did society become so freakin' Victorian that the sight of a man in short shorts causes mothers to cover their children's eyes in horror? When did to-the-knee become the standard?

    I applaud your choice in both style and color and look forward to the finished product.

    As for me, I'm gonna pull on my favourite pair and go water the roses. Watch out neighborhood, Daddy's got gams, and he knows his to use them!

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    Replies
    1. Maybe it's finally time to wear my hot pants again!

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  16. I was born in the mid 50's and was a late sixties teenager. The 70's teen clothes are more interesting, in the late 60's we wore jeans, leotards and minis so short my dad had a fit. In the jeans and leotards which we mostly wore we looked like roadies for the Rolling Stones or SDS members or like the hippies we were trying to resemble.
    The 70's polyester colors were more interesting looking back.

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  17. Born in 65. Down under it was ABBA time, and Bjorn and Benny were delicious! But I did love David Essex too. I was not built for shorts even then, but they were IN. At my high school, the senior uniform had long black pants and a white shirt, but the really cool guys wore the junior style uniform which was short navy shorts and navy shirt. As a look it suited the beefcake rugby players very well! :) MY look was patchwork ethnic dresses and tunics, lots of Indian cotton and chinese jacquard in panelled skirts, picture t-shirts, tiered floral skirts etc. I loved all that stuff.

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  18. I had matching terrycloth shorts and tank tops, trimmed in satin bias, and I was the bomb! ;-)

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  19. I haven't thought about James at 16 for 30 years, at least. Wow. And what about all those bad/good girl Movies of the Week with Linda Blair and/or Linda Purl?

    It was David Cassidy for me, all the way. Now, though, he's kinda dorky looking. lol

    Around my group, no one call those shorts "Ocean Pacific," though - they were just OPs. I'm sure you're going to rock your knock-offs. Can't wait!

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    1. Wait, wasn't David Cassidy married to Linda Purl? Or was that Kay Lenz? Now that I think of it, Linda Purl and Kay Lenz were basically the same person.

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  20. I was born in 1961, but I didn't like the 70s at all -- not the music, not the clothes, not the hair. The worst thing was the sewing, though. That's when I started learning. Sooo many things had gathers, lots of buttons, cuffed sleeves (hate those). I guess the early 70s weren't too bad. Gosh, I can't think of any teen idol I gave a second glance too. I think I was just waiting for the bright colors of the 80s to come along. That and being out of high school. Nope. I don't miss the 70s at all. I'll go crawl back under my rock, now.

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    1. I'll second that, if it wasn't for punk and Ramones I don't think I could have survived the seventies.

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  21. Ah the 70's: flared jeans with flowers embroidered al the way down the sides, bogart style pants, blouses with big big pointy collars and long buttoned cuffs. The very first polyesters made into body shirts. Long skirts and peasant everything. I wanted to be Agnetha Falskogg, Cher with long swinging black hair... I got you babe
    The very first concert I ever went to was David Cassidy at the Randwick Racecourse, Sydney. He caused a riot.

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  22. I was born in 1968, so not quite a teen in the '70s, but my first celebrity crush was Shaun Cassidy when I was seven. I loved Eight is Enough, especially the younger brother. We also loved the guys on CHiPs and the blond brother on the Dukes of Hazzard. (Or was that show more from the '80s?)

    Good luck with your OP shorts. I remember those as well.

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  23. God I miss the 70's. Started high high school in 1972 and graduated college in 1980. It was GREAT time to be young.

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  24. Born in '64... I remember being in love with David Cassidy when I was in grade 1. (I have a vague memory of my teacher getting married and changing her surname to Cassidy and me thinking she was related...)
    I had a deep purple velvet dress with red ... pockets maybe?... which I LOVED.
    Oh, and for my older sister's batmitzvah party I wore aqua hotpants with a white skivvy underneath. I remember that someone was ironing the skivvy (why? I have no idea!) and burned a hole in it, so I had to wear it backwards so the hole would be under the bib of the hotpants! This was probably around late 1971.
    TV shows? The ones that come to mind for me from that era are Bewitched, Gilligan's Island and Jeannie, but none of them had heartthrobs in them. Later on I watched Six Million Dollar Man religiously (and of course Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman).

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  25. Born in '62. I remember my first issue of Tiger Beat had a poster of a shirtless David Cassidy. It graced my wall for a least a few weeks.

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  26. I was in my 20's in the 70's but I dearly remember my plaid, polyester bell bottoms.

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  27. Totally, totally miss the '70s. Not so much for the fashion - like the "look" of most decades, it only looked good on a few people, leaving everyone else who wore it looking stupid - but for the social consciousness. People actually GAVE a hoot about stuff back then, and not just by griping about it.

    If you will watch '70s sitcoms, you will see a level of social consciousness unthinkable on network TV today. "Maude" tackled a woman's right to choose. "All in the Family" took on racism, misogyny and anti-trans prejudice. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" - which somehow has a reputation for prissiness today - had one of the first TV shows ever showing a gay male character as just another person; it also dealt with substance abuse and Watergate. Carol Burnett did a wickedly funny send-up of Anita Bryant that essentially made Bryant a laughingstock. Every one of these shows - and more besides - educated as they entertained.

    I would give my left nevermind to see TV programming of that quality on the air today, let alone a society receptive to it.

    P.S.: I wasn't dissing '70s fashion in my first paragraph, but it was a rough decade for those who didn't hew to the tall, lean ideal of the era. As someone tall and thin, I remember bell bottoms most fondly. They were, however, a scarifying experience for the short and squat.

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    1. I'm with you on the TV programming!

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  28. Born in 53, graduated high school in 1971. Mini, mini-skirts until I went off to college. Didn't own a pair of jeans until then and for the next 5 years didn't wear anything else. Hip hugger jeans (no where near what is considered hip hugger today) dragging the ground with huge bells, flannel shirts and platform shoes. Again not like the horrendous shoes of today. Thse shoes were flat, just had two or three inch soles. ....and Davey Jones, he was the grooviest.

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    1. That describes it for me, too. Though for me it was Peter Tork.

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  29. I was looking just SUPER cool one day in the early 70's...off-white jeans with HUGE flares, wide navy belt, red ribbed top, & a pair of those flat platform shoes (about 2"). Yeah, I was looking soooo groovy (How's that for authentic 70's???) til I was running downstairs...& got my right platform caught in my left flare! Lucky the stairs were carpeted! I wish I had THAT on video. I never could carry off "cool" very well!

    My kids were little then & they still laugh about it

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  30. Although I was 10 when that Tiger Beat came out, I have a sneaking suspicion that I either had that particular one, or at least read it. Although it has to be considered that they probably all looked about the same! My crush was Shaun Cassidy and I had the requisite poster above my bed and 'Born too late' on the record player. I've found it's possible to figure out a person's age, in a relative way, by what teen idol was their particular favourite - David Cassidy or The Bay City Rollers puts them a couple years older than me, Leif Garret about a year and I have no idea who came after Shaun!

    I'm not sure I miss the clothes, and I sure as heck don't miss getting my flares caught in my bike chain and falling off, but it was so much more relaxed as a kid than I imagine it is now - and not just with the clothes! Short shorts were responsible for a defining moment in my young life when I caught a glimpse of a certain part of male anatomy peeking out of a pair of short shorts worn with no underwear. I carry the sense of shock to this day and never examine them as closely as the wearer might desire in case it happens again.

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  31. Since we were born in the same year, yes, I was a teen in the seventies. I almost forgot about the qiana fabric! I remember it spilling into the eighties too. My college roommate loved sewing up dresses in that fabric. She was in 4H and she would show me all her creations that she made up in that lovely seventies fabric.

    I was in love with Parker Stevenson, and was obsessed with the Hardy Boys series on TV. My sister was in love with Sean Cassidy, and had a photo taped by her bed. She would put "Bonnie Bell" lip gloss on and kiss it every night :)

    I remember when I was in the sixth grade there were some pretty cute girls things, I think that would have been 1972 or 73.
    I sure do remember those earth tones, and earth shoes. Remember Famolare shoes!!! I loved those!

    Can't wait to see the shorts....I remember OP shorts too ;)

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    1. I had famolares and earth shoes....OMG

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  32. VermillionCorsetryCoutureJune 10, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    I grew up in the UK in the seventies and took my style advice from charlie's angels! all those burgundy bell-bottom pants suits with matching vest and silky blouse and late seventies Jerry Hall look, long slinky halston dress with strappy high sandals and lip gloss! i was obsessed with imported American magazines like 'screen stars' and 'movie world', they were full of well researched, accurate articles with titles such as 'Farrah catches Ryan with the nanny' and 'Crystal Gayle in hair loss scare!' Happy Days, literally!

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  33. I remember the 70's. My parents had a beach house in Newport Beach, CA and we lived the California dream! Lance Kerwin used to come and surf - right in front of our house. We never spoke to him. No way. We were all TOO COOL for that!

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  34. Famolare shoes!!! Now that is a real memory for me. I had forgotten about them. I remember the mini more than the hippie look, thought I do remember a certain pair of red floral flared pants. I had a dressmaker back then and my mom and I would argue about the hem length of my skirts and dresses. The wise seamstress took both measurements and split the difference and we were none the wiser until years later.

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  35. I'd forgotten about Leif Garrett and I'd forgotten how cute David Cassidy was. Thanks for this trip down memory lane. I was born in 1963, so I have many of the same fond memories as you. I still have a lot of 60's and 70's inspired clothes in my closet and a few originals for these decades as well. I recently wore a 70's vinyl trench coat to work and one of my colleagues commented how much she liked it. The coat is about 10 years older than she is. My favourite outfit of that time was a pair of bright pink hot pants with a pink and white boat neck 3/4 sleeve t-shirt with a bright pink felt heart appliqued on the front. I had a pair of black patent boots that laced up the front that I wore with that outfit and as I'm remembering that outfit I realise that I'm still wearing a variation of it in 2012. Not sure how I feel about that now ...

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  36. I made my husband (married in 1977) those Op shorts over, and over, and over--we both work/worked in the surf industry...The shorts took exactly 1-3/4 yards wide wale corduroy from Coronet Dime Store (those pockets are pretty big, there's a zipper guard, however, there is no inseam to speak of).

    We're in the middle of cleaning out 38 years of "archived" stuff, and I just found three pair I had made. (I sew much better today :) And Debbie Cook's right - they're "Op's", not Ocean Pacific). No disco for me--Who/Led Zep led to Clash, Ramones, Sex Pistols, but no disco thank you.

    Gail

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  37. Without question, David Cassidy was my teen heartthrob. I wore lots of clothes with strange elongated collars and loved my clogs. I also loved Leo Sayer. Can't wait for the OP shorts.

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  38. When James was 15, i was 11...but i'm guessing it didn't air on OZ tv til a little later...because i was a gonner for James/Lance Kerwin. I soooo wanted to be 15 too!

    Most of my teen years were lived in the 80s but with 3 older brothers, our house was 70s crazy. i no longer grease up with Bonne Belle or still have my Bay City Roller pus green 'roller pants' trimmed in tartan, but ELO and the Bee Gee's still remain favourites.

    Tiger Beat graced my bedroom wall's albeit later that my US teen counterparts as it took longer to get here on our news stands.

    By 1980 my cork platforms, along with my wide leg brown cord pants, smock and patchwork denim were happily replaced with anything British; starting with Simon Le Bon and the rest of the boys from Duran Duran...although The STray Cats were welcomed on my bedroom wall haha

    thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    By the time i was 13 in '79 I'd imagined myself in early teen love with Scott Baio, Lance Kerwin, Sean Cassidy

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  39. Do any other Brits remember it being the era of Laura Ashley? All those spriggy-printed cotton smock dresses with lots of rouleau ties, sort of Bill-Gibb-lite. To be worn with cork-soled platform sandals, of course. (Ours was not really the climate for Op's, nor were mine the legs for them)

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  40. Peter, thanks for the memories!! I was a teen of the 70's graduating in 76. I never had any OP wear but I sure could rock some Hang Ten! I remember having these orange linen like pants with huge bell bottoms and about a 5 inch cuff. I wore them with this deep aqua blue printed knit tunic top with orange Hang Ten feet! My hair was long and straight and hung to my waist. Now thinking back I must have looked a sight. That was my favorite outfit and I wore it a lot! Oh and I forgot about the huge platform shoes with it (of course those have come back in style).

    I think your OP lavender shorts will be fantastic. Are you going to wear them with knee socks?? LOL

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  41. Laura Ashley and Jessica McClintock for prom gowns; designer jeans and Candy's mules for the classroom.
    The heyday of Saturday Night Live (watched while babysitting because I was not cool enough to be date-able.)
    Nothing will ever top the white shirt with applied lace that I made and wore to my Sweet 16- in our basement with no boys invited.
    And Parker Stevenson all the way- because we all knew he was the SMART Hardy boy.

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  42. We were born the same year! And we will turn *ahem* 50 this year! (me in September, what about you?)

    Yeah, I read Tiger Beat and I had the requisite crush on David Cassidy (also Donny Osmond, Barry Williams, and a little later Andy Gibb...ooh la la!)

    Oh yeah, and the clothes! I never wore the really "groovy" clothes in the 1970's because I mostly attended parochial school. My memories are of navy blue knee socks, b&w saddle oxfords, and plaid skirts with a white blouse and Peter Pan collar! ;)

    Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. LOVE IT!

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  43. It was fun, we were born the same year 1962 so you hit most of my favs! Another show I loved was Family with Kristy McNichol. David Cassidy was like a number 1 heartthrob, didn't care much about Lance there. Loved Andy Gibb when he came on the scene. My favs in clothes were my Levi's -- they were the thing in school -- and then I loved those shirts I wore some poly junk that was all silky feeling :lol: never had the OP shorts, I did lots of cut off jeans for shorts -- Daisy Duke :lol: I remember sewing the cool wrap around Gouchos (what they call split skrits or something now) in a baby blue linen with my roman looking lace up scandals ... so much fun!

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  44. I wasn't around for the seventies (my mom was born in '63, actually, and I was a teenager in the dreaded nineties), but oh, I flip for those seventies patterns with the huge collars and flared pants. So fun! I have a stack of them that are probably too small to try grading, but I keep them because they are so flipping fun to look at. I have a menswear pattern in my husband's size that kind of made me squeal with delight when I found it: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Simplicity_5046

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    1. Be still my heart! -- that is a 70's gem, Oct! ;)

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  45. Wow, what a walk down memory lane in these comments! I was born in '59, so I remember the '70s very well ;-) I had the polyester pantsuits, the knee-high go-go boots, and sizzlers (flared-hem minidress with matching panties!). Didn't like hip-huggers then and don't now--even as a 13-year-old I knew they made my butt look huge. Especially if they were plaid! Never had OP or other fancy brands; if I didn't make it myself, Mom took me to the Lemon Frog shop at Sears :-)

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  46. Scott Baio was in line in front of me in a convenience store in Studio City in the early '80s. It took me a minute of wondering why he looked so familiar, and then as he was leaving, he turned and grinned at me and I figured it out. What a cutie!

    I was born in the late 50's, and I did wear big flowery bell bottom pants. They were groovy.

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  47. I have a secret 70's affinity. I was an 80's girl, but my older sister was coming of age in the 70's and my worshipful love of her Mackenzie Phillips-esque wardrobe led to many tearful fights with my Mother. I was always trying to work a winnie the Pooh Sears turtleneck with a smocked sundress and pretend it was a silky cowl and gunne sack style finery. In my heart I was sooo cool- if not actually in the mirror. Sigh. I'd still buy shearling-lined clog if I could find them...

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  48. I was born in 1960 and I loved Davy Jones!
    Margaret

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  49. I was born -84 and grew up in the boring, dreadful 90's. Maybe that's why anything 70's makes me happy. Especially the complete non-fear of colour and colour-combinations. Your blog posts brings me similar happiness. Maybe it's that 70s spirit?

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  50. platform shoes, granny dresses with the laces, short shorts and nair. David Cassidy was it. I think I may have been crushing on the blond guy from the group America too. LOL Love me my plaid seersucker hip huggers!!

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  51. My social group includes men from all walks of life. What I mostly see here in Colorado are shorts that fall just above the knee for boys and men. I think it's a much more attractive look on men for everyday public casual life. I say save the short shorts for home and pool/beach/lake side.

    Lalie

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  52. Patched Levi's 501s stolen from my brother, navy style pants with flared hems, leather vests ... Those were the days. Graduated in 75 - turning 55 this year. Where did all the time go?

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  53. Please don't forget Bobby Sherman and Jack Wild! So many 70's cuties!!!!!!!

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  54. Of course we loved very pretty kristy mcnichol with leif garrett!

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  55. Born in '61. Was there anything sexier than Dolphin shorts or Ditto pants? I think not....

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  56. My year 10 highschool photo featured me wearing a high ribbed poloneck ( US turtleneck ) due to two hickeys on the left side of my neck.

    It was a warm day, in the high 20s ( about 80F ) and I was uncomfortable, but my mother was rather insistant.

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  57. I was born 1950. I the 1960s I would wear elephant bell bottoms and what we called 'TJ' shirts. 'TJ' shirts came in two styles. The first was a pull over, opened mid-chest and had huge puff sleeves. The second style was a button up style with the same style sleeve. I thought I was hot stuff wearing the combo. The 'TJ' shirt was a style made popular by Tm Jones and eventually banned by the school principal. They also forbid me to wear an ascot saying that 'this isn't hollywood'. Times have changed. LOL

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  58. Born in '72, I reckon I got the best of the kid's clothes in that decade... but it wasn't just shorts... the jeans were that shape and fit in the waist and hip, and when a teenager in the 80's, I actually tracked down a 70's pattern for those jeans and made them as a wide leg, instead of flares.... those crap 80's jeans fit no-one, unless you altered them.
    Then, as now, I cared for style, not fashion.
    Having said that, we didn't care for clothes, as such. You wore what your Mum put out for you, and no-one questioned or 'looked at' anybody else's clothes.
    It most certainly was about the hair!

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  59. Christopher Atkins, swoooon!!

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