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Jun 17, 2012

Whatever Happened to the "Natural Woman"?



Balsam.  Lemon.  Unscented.  Natural.

Friends, welcome to the world of early Seventies advertising!



I found this copy of Seventeen from March 1973 at the flea market this morning for just a dollar, and for the ads alone, it's worth every cent.  I had forgotten how much the 1970's were about being natural, especially for women.  Every product is enhanced with balsam (what is balsam anyway?) or an "herbal essence" -- "the fresh essence of mysterious green herbs and enchanted flowers."  (I actually used to shampoo my hair with "Body on Tap" shampoo, which was apparently made with beer, though not enough to get a buzz.)

In nearly every ad, you see abundant references to nature.









The paradox of this "back-to-nature" era was that most of the clothes were dacron polyester and in some of the most unnatural colors and patterns ever.





But the beauty ideal was looking natural, acting natural, and smelling natural.  Or unscented.  Or like balsam. 







A natural woman, more or less.

This was, remember, the age of unisex, of bell bottom pants and crocheted beanies (let's not talk about the frosted eye shadows -- some things just don't fit the argument).  This was the sexual revolution.  There was definitely a flirty, sexy vibe in the air -- or at least in the offices of ad copywriters on Madison Avenue.




 

It was also the decade of some of the weirdest shoes ever.  How many of you wore these?











There really was something refreshingly back-to-earth about the 70's.  But the clothes are probably off-gassing in some landfill somewhere -- and deservedly so.





You can see more photos from my March, 1973 issue of Seventeen here.

Readers, does any of this ring a bell?  Do you remember all the "back-to-nature" products of the 70's?  (Earth shoes, anyone?)

If you're too young to have lived through it, does all of this just seem really weird?  (I'm too close to it.)

Do you agree that today, whatever the zeitgeist may be, it's not the 70's idea of natural -- which was, ultimately, synthetic and maybe a little cynical, for all the genuine awareness of things like environmentalism that marks the era.

Is there anything you miss from the 70's beauty ideal -- or from the 70's themselves?

Jump in, flower girls (and boys)!



77 comments:

  1. What I can't believe is, eh, how shall I say this...'plump looking' the cover girl is compared to what we might see today. Wow.

    I was a teenager in the 70's and all of this looks so familiar me. I used 'long and silky' shampoo and even tried to become 'the long and silky girl'. Ha. Reminds me I will have to blog about that someday.

    I got married in 1979 and wore only mascara and a little rouge. I can't imagine a girl today doing that. I also had the greatest pair of dark blue suede shoes with HUGE heels.

    I also had a nose job!!! So much for being natural!!!!!!!

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  2. mari.hafenstein@att.netJune 17, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I had a pair of shoes similar to the red mary janes. And I did use Wella Balsam products. I graduated from high school in 1973 and I so remember those horrible bell bottom pants. I thought I was so stylin'.

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  3. I'm only 30, so I just missed the 70's. Oddly enough, when I was finishing high school/starting college, that whole herbal thing seemed to have a revival (late '90's, early 2K's). Come on, you can't tell me you don't remember the herbal essences shampoo commercials, the ones that started with waterfall scenes and ended with women making inappropriate noises as they washed their hair. All of a sudden, I couldn't find any shampoos that didn't add herbal extracts. It seemed like every company changed their formulas to add herbs.

    Thank goodness the plaid pants stayed in the 70's. I am noticing recently, though, that multi-colored oxford shoes seem to be popping up in various places. I'm not loving the platform clog ads above, but I would love to add most of those oxfords to my shoe collection (without the striped socks)

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  4. I'm still stuck in the 70's. I don't wear much in hair products, makeup or perfumes. But the polyester hip hugger bell bottoms required a wide belt and now my tummy would most likely lap over...sad.

    We special ordered our red and white saddle shoes for the high school dance team. Before every performance, we scrubbed the bottoms (which were white) with ajax to make sure they were perfect for high kicks. We also wore heavy wool turtleneck sweaters for our performances and nearly passed out from heat exhaustion at every basketball game, especially as our exit was through the smoking area of the gym. Those were the days.....

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  5. Earth shoes!! I lost the pair I had when I wore them to the church the day of my wedding (1976). I changed into the wedding dress at the church and the person that was to bring my clothes back home FORGOT the earth shoes at the church. Of course it was many weeks later before I even thought of them and by that time, no one at the church knew anything about it. I sure missed those shoes.
    Thank you for bringing up all the 70's memories, I'm really enjoy the trips down memory lane.

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  6. What I miss about the 70s (I was in high school and college then) was that the beauty ideal seemed somehow more attainable by the average-looking person. It was healthier and less glossy and artificial than what we see now (Twiggy notwithstanding). The images we all saw then were less manipulated (no Photoshop!). If you had clean hair and a nice smile, you could be pretty.

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  7. Well, I was born in the70s to parents who still have not left the 70s behind. We were raised to be natural and I still feel the same. Most people call us hippies. I wear little make-up. My hair is completely natural. I recently bought a house built in 76 and I think it is the most wonderful thing. We are decorating with 70s thrift store finds. I even painted my kitchen harvest gold! It's goes perfectly with the orginal cabinets and countertops. I love the 70s!

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  8. Oh, I remember Body on Tap! And Gee, Your Hair Smells terrific! And shi#, if everyone and they're AUnt Fanny didn't have a wide selection of creme rinses for every need.

    All the long hair and braids, and the African Americans in my neighborhood (I lived in a fairly integrated part of the city) mostly had corn rows and Afros. The men all had prolific chest hair and wore it like a badge of honor. And in teh tiny tube tops, bandeaus, and triangle bikinis, all the breasts, no matter how small or large, moved.

    Every female in my neighborhood, no matter age or race, had 4 garments in common-- a cotton peasant dress of some peasant style; a polyester leisure suit that combined a print and solid (mine was a navy solid with a red, navy, and white argyle, my mom had a pastel mix bold floral with a sky blue); a wrap or faux wrap dress in a shiny polyester, and a cotton dress with elastic at the neck and elastic at the waist-- and you could wear it off the shoulders too!

    I guess where I grew up, I remember a strange fusion of earthy, natural with disco glam and leftover mod influences. It was a strange and sometimes discordant synthesis of natural/synthetic and high culture/ subculture and foreign-exotic/all-American-traditional. It seemed perfectly normal to wear my off-the-shoulder dress in a vaguely Aztec print with white Keds and a daisy in my hair. And to wear my leisure suit the next with penny loafers or Mary Janes.

    I think the thing that stands out is experimental-- experimental clothes, experimental music and art, experimental subcultures, experimental drugs-- was one overwhelming theme of the decade. Some of the desire to test the new came from the distrust and alienation of the crises of the '60s and early '70s, I think (sorry, I'm a historian). Many people really were disillusioned with the "old order" and wanted to break out and try something new.

    The '70s often remind me of the '20s and the sweeping distrust and desire for change combined with the seduction of the new after WWI. Those feelings and that climate was challenged by powerful forces that sought to maintain tradition and even reinvigorate retrograde ideals that started to be dismantled in the upheaval of the movements of the 60s and early 70s. hence why so many important demands and pieces of legislation remain unpassed or unaddressed.

    Sorry for the trip into class. Maybe we just need more softly scented creme rinse and Love's Baby Soft?

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    Replies
    1. 70s men, showcasing the chest hair!

      So many had moustaches. Thick, bushy, gently-encircling-the-corners-of-their-mouths moustaches. Like Dennis, the police officer, on the Rockford files. Or Barney Miller and some of his men. Richard Roundtree, Heschel Bernardi, and singer Larry Graham ("1 in a Million you").

      It didn't get any better.

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    2. I love to watch videos of 70's musicians. Men were so freakin hot then! With long hair, and mustaches. Roger Daltrey was the sexiest thing in leather pants and flowered ponchos. Ohhhhhhhhh yeah.

      Delete
  9. I remember an ad campaign for Cover Girl I think that was "Clean is Sexy" featuring Christie Brinkley and "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" shampoo.

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  10. Born in 71 so my memories are through childhood eyes and my beauty routine probably more involved Miss Matey bubble bath, Pear's soap and Johnson's talc! But I do remember beer shampoos and soap on a rope as father's day presents (along with Old Spice and Denim). My mum used an assortment of Estee Lauder, Charles of the Ritz and regular cheaper stuff. I have a strong memory of the smell of Atrixo hand cream, which came in a little flat tin. Pond's cold cream and vanishing cream were still on the go.
    I do remember Wella Alberto Balsam shampoo and Silvikrin (is she wearing any?) hairspray. But also a lot of bright blue and bright green cream eyeshadows. Avon was huge.

    The UK was probably a bit different though. The 70s were tough going with strikes and high interest rates - 'Life on Mars' nailed it. Glam rock probably took hold a bit more here and then came punk. But my abiding memories of it are lots of brown living rooms, scratchy synthetic fabrics and vinyl car seats you stuck to!

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  11. Goya's Meadow Song perfume. Apple shampoo. Charlie (kind of young, kind of now!) with Cheryl Teague wearing 15 shades of BEIGE. There were two very different things happening - the polyester thing and the all natural thing. There was lots of crossover, but there were as much corduroy, small sprig cottons and seersucker as there were polyesters, crimpolenes and unnatural colours.
    The down side of the 'natural' look has always been that it is not natural at all. IT started that way - a bit of lip gloss and shiny hair and you were fine - but over the past 40 years it has been so exploited, it basically now means that you have to look like a supermodel goddess without any noticeable assistance at all. Ultimately the cynics of Madison Avenue and their ilk will go for the underbelly of our fears ever time because aspiration is an easier and cheaper sell than inspiration.

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  12. And I might add, it was an awesome time to be growing up, eh! Even for those of us who didn't look remotely like Cheryl Teague!

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  13. Those shoes are amazing! I'd love to find those in a thrift store!

    I've been looking at a lot of vintage patterns lately, and while I wasn't a fan of the seventies initially, I've come to embrace what they represent. Of course, I was born in 1991, so I don't have any memories of the seventies...

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  14. I was never alive during the 70's but I always enjoy a good look back at history! The green, blue and red jackets in that TJ ad are amazing!! I think I may have to use that as inspiration for my next jacket!.

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  15. I vaguely remember balsam shampoo. I can't imagine anyone today wanting to smell like pine.

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  16. No scent is best! I have to order my unscented shampoo from the pharmacy counter, so that would be one thing the early 70s has going for it.

    And now I really want to sew some light washed denim bell bottoms. I wasn't around for the early 70s, but that's one style I think I can get on board with.

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  17. When I think of the 70's I think of Nixon and Watergate, the natural woman? not so much.

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  18. I went to college in the mid 70's and had forgotten all the pastel clothes probably because I don't like pastels but I do recall some very micro mini skirts so short you had to wear your coat to class & never take it off because you couldn't bend over 1/4 inch in one of them. I had two red ones one a Mary Quant Vogue designer dress that I took up some more. Very pretty for standing in and leaning against trees but not very practical. In 1975 the hemlines plummeted to a midi length.
    Also bell bottoms everywhere.

    And a kind of shampoo that was part of the natural movement called Lemon Up where the cap was shaped like a miniature lemon. If they still sold that I'd get some. Had a wonderful lemony smell.

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    Replies
    1. They sell it at the Vermont Country Store, where Seventeen's advertisers go when they retire.

      http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/Health_&_Beauty/Hair_Care/10070

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    2. They sell it at the Vermont Country Store, where Seventeen's advertisers go when they retire.

      http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/Health_&_Beauty/Hair_Care/10070

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    3. That is hilarious. I wonder who manufactures those old products like "Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific."

      Delete
  19. My first reaction if someone were to ask me if I liked the 70's is always NO! What a horrible decade for clothes! Soon as a movie is set in that period, I get anxious and I don't like the look of it at all.

    I'm your age, as I have said before, so we probably remember the same things. Do you watch Mad Men? Notice how some of the cool clothing is starting to not be so cool anymore, as it is now almost the 70's in their time line :( I'm sad that it is starting to have that hippie, groovy look to it now.
    Somewhere in my mom's house right now is a box with at least a year or more of "Seventeen" magazines. I would love to look through them some time , just for memories, and the ads alone.

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  20. I'm not absolutely certain but I have a feeling that we used that Wella Balsam shampoo and conditioner even here in the Oz.

    I'm not entirely sure what Balsam is either, but I presume it has something to do with Balsamic Vinegar?

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  21. Yes, that IS Patti Hansen/Mrs. Keith Richards on the cover (and inside on a couple of shots)!

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  22. Wella Balsam shampoo made your heair smell WONDERFUL. Probably loaded with synthetic stench chemicals, the way everything is nowadays.I remember the lemon shampoo and 'fresh lemon" cologne, too! And Love's Baby Soft...they also had a Love's Musky Jasmine scent that was the BEST perfume I ever wore...compliments galore! I had only just discovered it when it was DISCONTINUED, dammit!

    And, what about those shoes? Have you actually taken a good look at shoes these days? I've seen plenty of them that make any of THESE look fairly ordinary and even tasteful!

    I used to think the seventies was "the era that taste forgot", but nowadays I think when we look back at how people dressed in the last number of years, with their bum cracks showing and hip fat on display...knee-dangling crotches,abundant tattoos, oversized t-shirts and pants,super-slutty clothes and 500 pounds of makeup as everyday wear, et hoc genus omnes, I think we will find that the seventies will then look positively TASTEFUL by comparison.

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    1. Do you remember the Love's Rain Forest in the green bottle? That was probably my favorite. Baby Soft always ended up smelling horrible on me after a half hour. I didn't usually wear fragrance-- just on special occasions. I also liked Jean Nate at times. Of course, that made me smell like rancid citrus salad if I sweated.

      The best song from American Idol- Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground...

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  23. I was a kid in the 70s and it's been great seeing all those ads and reading the comments, what a blast from the past! Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo, soap on a rope, Old Spice (my dad had Old Spice soap-on-a-rope), Tweed (my mum wore that), my first bottle of Charlie, blue eye shadow and my hated navy saddle shoes which my friend and I called "clod-hoppers". But it was also a fun and less complicated time to grow up. I find the amount of makeup some young women wear now a bit sad, it makes them look old and cynical before their time! Perhaps it's my formative years in the 70s that makes me dislike foundation that looks like it has been applied with a trowel and excessive black eyeliner that always make me think of my Dad's term "eyes like two p**s holes in the snow". It's a hard and nasty look, but perhaps more appropriate to our time than fresh and positive?

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  24. A balsam is a resin or ointment - I guess like essential oils extracted from herbs. I was a child and very early teen in the 70s so I remember these days with that fond sentimentality everyone remembers their youth. Did you have Tabu perfume over there? I wore it all the time. I miss the innocence of the 70s but I don't miss the sexism.

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  25. i was born in 1989 so i have no idea what it was like, but my mother has shown me loads of pictures of her and her four brothers. I still find the image of my four uncles with their long hair, floaty shirts and guitars hilarious, especially because they're all lawyers now.

    i remember finding a few vintage fashion/lifestyle magazines a few years ago and being amazed by one of the models in an ad for some sort of energy drink: he had pit stains! i don't think i've ever seen that in any magazine...

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  26. I can't believe you think these shoes are awful when the shoes of today are unwearable. I had a pair (as did everyone) of the natural leather crisscross platforms with orange socks in the fanfares socko ad. I love those shoes and probably wore them into the 80's. If you grew up in the 70's with all the natural stuff going on it definitely made an impression. Today at 58, I wear very little makeup and my hair is mostly gray. And the polyester fabric was not just for women. When I got married in 1977, my husband had a black waffle weave double knit suit jacket with black/white/red plaid slacks and the same plaid fabric as bias binding on the jacket lapels. And to make matters worse, he wore it with RED boots, and thought he was stylin! I laugh every time I think of that suit.

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  27. What do I miss from the 70's? Aside from my youth, absolutely nothing.

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  28. The seventies were my decade--I graduated high school in 1975 and wore almost no makeup until I entered college (although I was highly painted during my junior high years, the years experimentation). Oddly, I was looking at my wedding portrait (1981)prior to reading MPB today and wondering why it had never occurred to me to have my makeup or hair done. I guess your post explains that--the 70's were about being natural and I was still in that mode. The only makeup I wore with my traditional wedding dress (polyester, I believe) and veil was mascara and I had let my hair air dry. I look okay, but very...natural.

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  29. I didn't have that issue of Seventeen, but I gave my sister the Cody Sweet Earth (in the florals)for Christmas, which I eventually inherited because I was more flowery than she. I also had hunter green and dark tan saddle-style shoes just like the second photo. By the next summer, I was sporting the light tan "buffalo sandals" like the Fanfares ad. The plaid pants and outrageous jackets were de rigeur, even for a school day in junior high. I'm not sure I even had a pair of jeans in 1973; my mom considered them the clothes of poor farm workers and she had clawed and scratched her way up from that.

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  30. In my high school graduation portrait from 1978 I'm wearing a long peasant dress, my hair is long and parted in the middle, and I'm wearing no makeup except the shiny eyeshadow. But I was different--my eyeshadow was not bright blue, but lime green. Different drummer and all that.

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  31. My hair was very long-- down to my knees-- and thick and wavy. There was no effort involved, just let it grow and wash it every couple of days. I miss being young enough for that to be a good look.

    I miss the pretty, silly dresses. I miss my bell bottoms and platform shoes. I miss having the body to wear the crop tops I wore with the bell bottoms.

    I miss being picked up for a date by a very nervous boy driving a primer gray GTO that dieseled whenever he shut it off. He'd get out and slam his fist down on the hood to get it to stop. I miss the eight track playing "Nights in White Satin." I miss Led Zepplin.

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    Replies
    1. You nailed it, it was so simple back then and the music-it was everything.

      Delete
  32. I did wear those shoes, like the second photo but in navy blue and white. Loved them, especially with my navy bells and an a-line smock top (I think you had a pattern of it here at one time, which you disliked but I remembered fondly). Thanks for the trip down memory lane. The '70s, as a whole, didn't seem all that natural to me, but it was a great marketing angle. I used Lemon Up and Wella Balsam, Herbal Essence, but I drew the line at Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific because I refused to fall for the hype. I do remember when the family switched bar soap from Dial to new Coast soap, a fresh scent that wasn't "manly-yes" like Irish Spring so the whole family could agree on it. Probably nothing natural about that, though.

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  33. The SHOES!! The shoes were to die for! I love them all and would love to have them now.

    As for the ads in the magazine, I'm sure I owned one of everything advertised there, and I definitely used all those shampoos, including Body on Tap.

    Also, I'm still wearing some of the clothes that I owned then, or that were from that time that I bought 2nd hand. Those clothes were built to last. Most of the clothes were hideous though.

    Also, I have several pieces of fabric in my stash that are pure 70s. Swiped them from my mom's stash. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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  34. I was young in the 70's. I wore my hair very long and parted down the middle. I wore maxi dresses, skirts and loads of bangles. Sometimes I wore toe rings. I don't think I ever wore makeup. Don't remember. Maybe some aqua eyeshadow for a special occasion. I remember Charlie perfume, apple scented shampoo, wedged shoes (which I loved), records, nail polish that never stayed on, plaits (braids), hot pants, and I am sure there are tons of other things but don't remember. Pheasants tops were a huge fashion.


    Josette

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  35. I would wear the hell out of all those shoes (except the clogs)!

    I certainly agree that all the 'natural' rhetoric appears cynical now- though I would argue that in any era, what gets defined as 'natural' is culturally determined.

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  36. Yeah, '70s shoes were weird. For starters, they had roomy toe boxes that actually did not pinch the toes together. Heel heights usually maxed out at 2-1/2 inches, except when a greater height was mitigated by a platform (4-inch heel minus 1-1/2 inch platform = 2-1/2 inch effective heel height). And except in summer, most were closed styles that kept the foot clean.

    Today, you have six-inch (and greater) heel heights and needle toes. Worse, most styles are strappy sandals - just the thing for wearing on city streets that rats and winos use as a latrine. Foot deformities are getting more common and much worse than in years past - Google "Victoria Beckham bunions" if you want to see some photos that would cure even the stubbornest case of foot fetishism.

    Earth Shoes? As many '70s students did, I put in some time as a waitron, and Earth Shoes made the job more bearable. Well, those and Black Russians. The Earth Shoe negative heel really did promote foot comfort for a lot of people.

    One comment about all those 'natural' ingredients - the Mennen Company came out with a deodorant called Mennen E, which was essentially Vitamin E in an aerosol can. The anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin E were supposed to keep you daisy-fresh, which did happen. The catch? About one-quarter of users experienced a severe reaction after a few weeks' use - the worst, reddest, bumpiest, oozing-est rash you ever saw in your life, and I speak from experience, because mine was a doozy (it did clear on its own after stopping use of the stuff). Mennen had to withdraw the product. That they didn't get sued into oblivion just goes to show you how laid-back we all were then. ;)

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  37. sarah c--If you are really serious about wanting to get some Lemon Up shampoo, the Vermont Country Store sells it. They also carry a lot of classic fragrances that others have mentioned here.

    Me, born 1965. I was an avid reader of "Seventeen". I remember desperately idolizing the winners of the yearly "Love's Baby Soft" model contest. Also the "Breck Girl" being the ideal of feminine beauty.

    Have any of you seen "Seventeen" lately? There's a blog somewhere of a smart girl who tried to live the current "Seventeen" lifestyle for a month. It's pretty sad.

    :) Mary

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  38. Oh Peter! You have taken me back to high school! I had two pairs of the plaid pants with matching jackets, a white twin set, white peasant blouse (home made), mini skirts (and the legs to match!). In March 73 I was a junior in high school and dating a boy who was in the Army stationed in Germany. I was a student at a Joint Vocational School trying to grow up to be a secretary. (It financed my way through college and I'm a practicing school psych now. I didn't marry the boy, but instead married another several years later.)

    My hair was Wella Balsamed every day, but I was one of the few with sexy short hair! I wore Wind Song and Heaven Scent. And always moss green eye shadow with a soft ivory accent.

    Sigh.

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    Replies
    1. "Your Wind Song stays on my mind..."

      ;)

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    2. "Wear your love like heaven . . . ." ;)

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    3. Akkkk! It's the wrong one!

      "Heaven Sent, Heaven Sent! Makes a girl feel pretty! Heaven Sent"

      Delete
  39. Wow, what a walk down memory lane! I was in junior high in '73 so I remember these ads very well (I had one of the Coty Sweet Earth compacts, and the saddle shoes, huge bellbottoms, Wella Balsam, etc.). Never did learn to put on eyeliner, but I didn't realize it was the natural '70s fault, lol.

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  40. As I graduated high school in 1973, this is all well within the scope of my memory. Maybe what I miss most about the late 70s is socializing in the pre-grunge era of the 80s. When you went out to a club or disco (my coming of age second home...), men wore nice slacks and neat Nik-Nik shirts, and women wore dancing dresses with stockings, heels and makeup and hair. There were actual dances to know, and people danced together. Nowadays if you go out clubbing, the clothes are terrible and the manners are worse. Gods, I sound old.

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  41. Definitely remember this era. How about Yucca Dew shampoo? Made from the yucca plant! Or, my all time favorite was, Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo. Hip-hugger bell bottoms with a turtle neck sweater, platform sandals with laces that wrapped around your legs. I could go on but I'll stop before I embarrass myself when no one else remembers this stuff!

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  42. I used and loved Lemon Up, Herbal Essences and Wella Balsam shampoo and conditioners. I still have my Coty Sweet Earth solid perfume - loved the gingergrass. Sometimes I open it and take a big sniff. I never got into the platform shoes - they were deemed unacceptably inpractical by the parents, but did get a pair of black and white Mary Janes. I also loved the eyeshadow - it's a thing of the past though in more ways than one (the mica and talc irritates my eyes to much now).

    I have horrid memories of the plaid pants - they were in the height of fashion when my sister got them, but by the time she handed them down to me about 4 years later - not so much. Yes, I was still expected to wear them, as "they are still perfectly good pants!". Maybe that's why I don't chase after the latest fashions, other than maybe buy a few patterns. On the other hand, I did get an eye opener on their income history since they've been married this weekend, so I guess they did have their reasons.

    Balsam is a type of tree - remember the Hamm's beer commercial "land of pines and fluffy balsams" song?

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  43. The blazers and plaid pants ad hurts my eyes. And my sense of aesthetics, which is saying something because generally, while I certainly have opinions about clothes, I don't hold them tightly enough to let other peoples', um, quirks, cause me a lot of grief. Those pants are causing me grief.

    The Seventies were such a weird decade, style-wise. There was so much that was awful (synthetics, the aforementioned pants) but they're also the second-most-represented decade in my pattern collection because, once we got over the post-1960's years and regained some sanity, a lot of stuff happened that wasn't so bad. There was a lot of copying the 1930's and 1940's, which is never a bad thing; and a lot of cute, comfortable, and practical, separates; and then the prairie look hit and, while I agree it's a matter of taste, some of us can still pull it off. And the wedding dresses were awesome.

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  44. I went to college in the late 60's and didn't and early 70's. I think today there is too much emphasis on a woman being "perfect".. whiten those teeth, laser off the hair, get breast implants and other cosmetic surgery and for heaven's sake you have to have flat abs!

    I loved the shoes and I never wore platform shoes. I loved European and suade shoes and boots in colors!

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  45. Peter I have a seventeen cookbook someplace! It shows platters of sandwiches of different types with the crust cut off. And a record cake! It's make to look like a stack of 45's!

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  46. Josette I think you mean peasant tops!
    Carol, I got married in 73 in the Lake Harriet Rose Gardens. I left my purse in my Dad's car for the ceremony. I thought he was locking the car! I get to the honeymoon suit and realize my entire purse is missing and all the credit cards and ID! It was stolen. I'll admit to being a bit of a "hippie". I still think the emphasis on being aware of politics and questioning what is going on is a very good thing!

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  47. As a woman of the seventies...I wore earth shoes and buffalo skin 3" high platform sandals (a la kork ease from Sundance, now $130, then around $30). The trick is to rub vaseline into the buffalo leather. I have a pair from Sundance now :-) tho' the 1 1/2" high platform. And yes...Juniper Breeze. BBW still sells it as a 'classic' scent, and Agree shampoo, the first green apple scent. BTW - do not use this, it will strip out your hair color, your natural oils, and your toe nail polish!

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  48. Best. Blog. Post. Ever. You took me back in time to my freshman year in college! Thank you! We all looked so fresh, young, and real back then--without all the photoshopping! Something kinda innocent about it all.

    Cathy on the guitar fit right in!! She was a great addition to the other visual memories:-O.

    Also thanks to 'anonymous' for the info about Vermont Country Store selling those 'old' products.

    Loved your post.

    Thanks again.

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  49. I was pretty young (I turned 9 in 1973) but I do remember all of that. I actually liked those Coty "Good Earth" fragrances and was disappointed when they stopped making them.

    And I had totally forgotten about "Body on Tap" shampoo.

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  50. I had a pair of platform shoes similar to the brown and white shoes in the last picture. I think I was 10 or 11.

    And I remember platform clogs. A lot of girls loved them, but I thought they were a nightmare to walk in.

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  51. I begged my mother for the brown clogs in the Fanfares ad. Begged and cried! I had an older cousin who just seemed so sophisticated and with-it in her pair, and I knew all I needed to be just like her was those shoes! I wore Heaven Sent and Love's Baby Soft and washed my Dorothy Hamill haircut with Gee! Your Hair Smells Teriffic! I had that pink dress in the J.C.Penney ad, and my twin sister had the blue one. Blast from the past!
    ~Kelly

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  52. Oh, I remember Seventeen Magazine in the 70s. I remember buying Wella Balsam Shampoo with the hopes that I would have lovely hair but unfortunately, the pine sap and sulfates stripped my curly hair of it's natural oils and left a frizzy mess....

    Rose in SV

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  53. Just saw the Yves St. Laurent exhibit in Denver and it struck me how strongly he influenced this style (and most of fashion for the masses from the late 60's to the 90's). His clothes moving from trapeze dresses,pant suits to tunics, and boho ethnic dresses really are a journal of what we were wearing or aspiring to wear. Wonderful exhibit, too bad more Americans can't see it.

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  54. What about the sounds of the 70's...John Denver anyone?

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  55. Check out another great blog, Every Clog Has Its Day (http://everycloghasitsday.typepad.com/). Lindsey gives a shout out to your photos of those fab 70's clogs!

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  56. Balsam is a fir tree that produces sticky pitch in 'bubbles' of bark all over the trunk. It grew on the farm where I grew up and I never understood why anyone wanted to smell like it :S

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  57. I miss my 20 year old body from 1973!!

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  58. LOL yes I meant peasant tops. I don't think I ever wore feathers.

    Josette

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  59. Love all the magazine ads, especially the shoes. I fondly remember the 70s', but I forgot all about LemonUp, it was the best shampoo, I am gonna have to buy some now. Great post today Peter!

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  60. The shoes! Must have. And I do love the back to nature feel of the 70s. I prefer to think of country sunshine, long straight hair, and Gunne Sax dresses when I think of the 70s - we'll leave the polyester in Easter colors in the landfill, shall we?

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  61. "Natural woman?" Well unless they have a excellent body and nice face... but for most commoners a nice dress and makeup (done right) will make a huge difference. After all, consider what natural really means (as in the cavemen days of not taking baths). There will always be huge debates on fashion favorites of whatever decade. For me I think 70s fashions for women were the worst. I remember how everyone was raving fashions by Farrah Fawcett Majors and Brooke Shields. Then on a late night (back when OTA television showed old movies) and watching a dance routine of Tybee Afra, Betty Uitti, Barrie Chase with Fred Astaire in 1957 movie "Silk Stockings" and the beautiful dresses they wore. My reaction was, "wow, the women looked so much better back then!"

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  62. I've tried every day since 1979 to be a 'natural beauty'. Thanks for the reminder! NOT those ads really did it in for me!

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  63. Peter, Thank you for the 70's time travel.

    BTW that's Patti Hansen on the cover. She would have been 17 at the time, and she was never "plump", just healthy. I remember her freckles because we have the same coloring and I also had freckles which I never worried about covering up. Patti married Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and has two daughters. All three of them were on the cover of last December's Town and Country magazine. Google it and you will see that she is still gorgeous.

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  64. okay, Peter, maybe this will make you laugh. Born in 1980, I grew up in Eugene, OR, the land that time (post-60s/70s) forgot. So just like many of your readers, I skipped the makeup (so sad to cover your skin in CHEMICALS! we were so earnest!), skipped the perfumes, wore natural deodorants (Tom's of Maine, or even the rock salt ones), wore Birkenstock sandals and had rainbow toe socks (so cute and cheerful!). My girlfriends and I could kill an entire afternoon between used book shops, wicca shops with their incense and crystals, and shopped for our clothes at flea markets, garage sales, goodwill and import shopts where we sourced our paisley broomstick skirts, floral rayon dresses, and cropped tops. I remember how proud I was of my elephant bells that were 25" wide at the hem!

    Consequently? I still love the lines of 70s fashion and they're so flattering on my long frame. Oh, and balsam is a plant resin. The balsam cedar produces a resin that is pretty sweet. Um. I have a bottle of balsam essential oil in the cabinet for adding to melted beeswax when I make my own candles. (what did I tell you? Eugene!!)

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  65. A comment from Denmark, Europe: Creme Rinse and balsam (both) are hair conditioner. Best regards, Bodil

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