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Nov 11, 2013

The 1990's Balloon-Pant Jumpsuit -- YEA or NAY?



Readers, what do you call it when something you consider utterly unremarkable suddenly becomes the new nostalgia?  

I don't know, but I promise you this: the 1990's jumpsuit, in all its drop-waisted, balloon-panted, Laura Ashley-printed, ankle-cuffed glory, is coming back.  The tell-tale signs are clear: young, hip Etsy sellers, who weren't even born in 1990, are posing in them ironically -- and making them look almost...attractive.









I suspect that a great deal of the MPB readership remember these ubiquitous jumpsuits -- in fact, I'm counting on it.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of you still have these jumpsuits hanging in your closets and wear them.  After all, what could be more comfortable than an over-sized, pear-shaped onesie?

If these jumpsuits resemble baby clothes, it's no coincidence: this look was also extremely popular for the sandbox set.







Did anybody sew these jumpsuits at home?  You betcha!















And lest you think Simplicity was immune to the trend...



Please note: these were always, always to be worn with flats.

The worst of these jumpsuits look like somebody simply grafted a pair of Edwardian bloomers onto a 1986 bridesmaid dress.  Ugh.







I need somebody to trace the origin of this fashion trend.  Where did it come from?  Why did it catch on?  WHO will take responsibility?!!

In closing, readers, did you rock this look (nearly) twenty-five years ago?  Are you anxiously awaiting its return?

The 1990's balloon-pant jumpsuit -- YEA or NAY?

Jump in!

Oh gawd...they're coming back!

104 comments:

  1. Peter. Take that thought out--and any accompanying patterns--and BURY IT.

    A big ix-nay from me!

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  2. Nay, nay, and thrice nay! They were appalling the last time around and are just as dreadful now.

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  3. Ummmm, probably. Sorry, gotta go potty before I piddle myself over that one Butterick version being labeled, "Classics."

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    Replies
    1. Ohs noes! Even Vogue made one of those vile patterns. The little girls one does look way too familiar, but best I can tell from my photo albums there's no PROOF I wore one.

      Delete
  4. I made the sailor dress in Butterick 5364-forgive me I was 13 at the time, but there is absolutely NO WAY I would ever have made, let alone worn, a huge jumpsuit!! Even in the 80's, even at my very skinniest!

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  5. I, like brave Jo Ashcroft, who also admitted to B5364....lol...but H*E*double hockey sticks NO to all the others! Not even back then...

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  6. Either I really have extincted that trend completely from my memory or... it didn't make it to Germany.

    So we might be spared again...

    (Means: Nay, nay, nay!)

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  7. Nay! Nay I say with conviction! We called them "bubble suits" and I thought they were atrocious then and even more so now. I was definitely a tom boy and hated anything even remotely Laura Ashley. (My only concession during this time period was a dress my grandmother made me that looked like it came off the set of Little House on the Prairie which is why I loved it.)

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  8. no, No, NO! Gak! Their floral hideousness the first time around was enough!

    btw, love yr blog :)

    Micky

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  9. OUCH. Mother, make them go away. Burn them or wrap gifts with the pattern tissue or whatEVAH. This isn't like gauchos - so bad they're good - it's the horrible trend no one wants to acknowledge. The elephant in the room, which is appropriate because they made everybody look like giant chintz baby elephants.

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    Replies
    1. Giant chintz elephants - perfect, absolutely perfect description.

      Delete
  10. What has been seen cannot be unseen!
    Nay!

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  11. Nay. I was hired to make a PAIR of these outfits for some coworkers to wear to a golf tournament - they had me shorten the legs so they were knickers. I did not attend.....in fact, I can't even recall which of the above patterns was used - post traumatic stress syndrome?

    Lisa

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  12. NNNNOOOoooo! all the disadvantages of a dress married to the disadvantages of trousers ... romper suits for adults without the advantage of poppers in the gusset, and a complete strip off required to pee. Why would you?

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  13. I would say no to it coming back, but here is proof I made it back in 1992 for my then 5 year old daughter!
    http://girlsinthegarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/flashback-friday_23.html

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  14. No jump suits here but Butterick 5364 looks familiar - I think my mother made me the sailor dress. I was clearing out a cupboard yesterday and I found it, it's currently sitting in a bag waiting for tomorrow's charity collection. Vintage 1989 I think.

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  15. I think I missed this trend, although I wasn't particularly fashion forward as a teenager in the 90's. I was more inclined to rock the Colette (ring my bell) harry high pant bike bants with crop top look. However, I do love a classy romper and am hoping to sew a skinnier leg version soon.

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  16. When you see these fashions again it's called "deja ewwww."

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  17. Nay for me, but Cathy could pull this look off!

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  18. Nay! Didn't like the romper look then and don't like it now. I won't even make this for my granddaughters! Obviously whoever designed these never had to use the loo. =:o

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  19. omg theres so many of them!!!

    i think i might have worn one, then again i was only a wee tot so it wouldn't have been a fashion crime to have done so

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  20. James B. at Vogue/Butterk PatternsNovember 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Peter, they were called "Party Pants" here at Butterick, I think the that's what they may have been called in England. I am still friendly with the 3 models on the Butterick pattern envelopes and sent them your link.... I think they'll get a kick out of seeing them!

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  21. Oh lord, Peter, just say NO! I was in my 20s in the 90s and I would not have been caught dead in those monstrosities! I live in the NW -- grunge country -- we did not see them much that I can remember.

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  22. Oh my god, I made one of these!! I was 16 and it was for a school project - I had to make an item of clothing for a child, though I pity the poor child who was on the receiving end (the daughter of a family friend, I believe). I think my mum still ha one of those patterns too.

    With that confession aside: NAY. Nay, nay and nay. Who in hell thinks resurrecting this is a good idea??? And, yes, where did they come from in the first place. I have more questions than answers in response to all this ridiculousness...

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  23. *insert image of "The Scream"* nooooooooo! Turn your head, avert your eyes, move-along-there's-nothing-to-see-hear, OMG just say NO!

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  24. james B. at Vogue/Butterk PatternsNovember 11, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    ...if I remember correctly they came after all the puff sleeved, sweet heart neckline, dropped waist Laura Ashley dresses!

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  25. And people wonder why my generation decided it was alright to wear pajama pants to their college classes...

    It wasn't ok in 1990 and it isn't ok now.

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  26. Yeah, those young spring chickens can pull off those bubbly, jumpsuit things. But for the rest of normal society...Yikes!! :) I think these horrifying things are on par with this new Vogue pattern in the fall collection... http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v1372-products-47816.php?page_id=174

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  27. NAY! These were very popular at my school, but I did not have one. One reader mentioned the worst aspect of these, you have to get naked to use the bathroom! They are completely impracticable to wear and hideous. I hope they NEVER come back.

    ReplyDelete
  28. These are a version of the Swedish boiler suits of the late 70s early 80s, a fashion monstrosity that caused me to wonder if magazine editors had gone mad. True, there were too many skintight things for sale, but boilers suits large enough to accommodate you and 3 of your closest friends was not the answer I wanted.

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  29. at first I said very firmly : NO ! please No !
    But with some adjungements it can be nice, as shown on the first photograph ( not the drawning ! thats's ufly ! )

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  30. :-D - sorry, I dare to confirm wearing one 'first time around' despite already mature age by then.
    And honestly: I wouldn't mind to wear one again if specked down and modernised a tad even now whilst 'heavy grey mature' myself.
    Yet: chocolate handed over to you to soothe your own disgusted soul by handling and talking about this theme. I vaguely remember you don't like the dress versions either; hence: double chocolate?!

    LG, Gerlinde


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  31. The knickerbocker trend, worn with a frilly white "puffy shirt", from the early 80s was bad enough. At least we could count Princess Diana as our style lead then.
    These knickerbocker jumpsuits from the early 90s are just hideous. No one looks any good in them.

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  32. That is very wrong.

    But enjoyable to contemplate nonetheless.

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  33. My moms sewed a few that I wore when I was younger. Most of me does not want to go there again but there is a small part (the same small part that likes overalls and baggy dresses but doesn't wear those either) that likes the screw it effect of clothing like this. That said I will likely just stick to my sweat pants on days when I don't feel like being skinny.

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  34. Ok, I love me a jumpsuit. LOVE. But wtf are these? Is the point to trick people into thinking you don't have a body? Even the really skinny girls look awful, if they can't pull it off no one can!

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  35. I seriously don't remember these things. My wardrobe in 1990 was all about the office, so I must have missed this trend. Just as well. I'd like to think I wouldn't have been caught dead then and I certainly wouldn't now.

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  36. I think it started with the Japanese designers but got caught in a horrible cross-breed with Laura Ashley and the Princess Di Sloane Ranger look. I missed the jumpsuit but definitely went through a bad Ralph Lauren dirndl phase during that time.

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  37. I think I did have a pantsuit like that....I think.... I'm not sure though, because it seems to be blocked from my memory along with a few other past misdeeds.

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  38. Ha! Oh yes...my mother still has one of these I think, although it is a less frilly version. I remember wearing a LOT of this kind of thing, but I was at least in the single digits, age-wise, at the time. There are definitely pictures of me and many of my cousins in outfits just like these.
    It definitely had to do with that kick back to the victorian era, but done for comfort. My mom was big on the Little House On The Prairie look for us, which was right in this vein. I even had the granny boots.

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  39. i am certain it will be of no surprise that i must have a floral balloon jumpsuit now.

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  40. Ok, I'm just going to go THERE. NAY! I am not as concerned about how I look as well . . . I don't like having to strip down, have my clothing grazing the floor and then having to put it all back on just to answer a Call of Nature, if you get where I'm going. YUK!

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  41. Oh, Please make it Stop! That was painful seeing all those patterns again. Nothing like telling women to dress like little girls so we can treat you as such too. I never wore these and never want too either. This cat tells it like it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96B_Q6K7GUY

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  42. Never in a million years!

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  43. NO NO NO Not in a million years we have evolved beyond that look, thank heavens.

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  44. The guy from Butterick follows your blog?!

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    Replies
    1. David Coffin reads Peter's blog (and has commented). Peter's a true celeb!

      Delete
  45. HEY! In 1996 I made Simplicity 7177 as maternity wear :)

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  46. These patterns were truly awful the first time around. Like radioactive waste, they obviously have a serious half life problem. Peter, you must ensure that they are burnt, vitrified, placed in lead-lined canisters and buried deeply in some geologically stable zone. Please.

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  47. Nightmare fuel. When they're a dress, it makes any woman look like an extra on Designing Woman. When it's a jumpsuit, it makes that same woman look like a junior-high drama teacher. There is just nothing, nothing good about any of these patterns. Nay, Nay, Nay.

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  48. For me, these definitely recall my awkward tween years. I so don't want to go there again.

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  49. Nay! So much nay I can't scream it loud enough!

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  50. I'll comment as soon as I get this vomit taste out of my mouth. Oh, heck. No!

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  51. "How Rude!" as Stephanie Tanner would say regarding the comments you all have made over her outfits.

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  52. noooooooooooooo!! never saw anything like that where I lived in 1990. and that was Toronto.

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  53. I dunno...the bibs might be handy :-)

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  54. Get ready for the long queue at the loo while women spend 15minutes getting undressed/dressed in a stall.
    Been there. No fun.
    Anyway, why would you wear a bag?

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  55. Awful in the 1990's and awful now. It amazes me how designers can take a nice feature of historic clothing (Victorian,Edwardian ) and undergarments and turn it into a nightmare.

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  56. Ouch.
    Nasty fashion no-no.

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  57. Perfect style for NO figure type.

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  58. Oh Lordy - I remember these patterns! They remind me of a British children's character called Andy Pandy :) I do rather like Simplicity 7177 though (don't tell anyone) - a retro beachy look!

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  59. So we see that these articles of clothing look really terrible from the front - can you imagine what they look like from the back. Oh the horror

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  60. Go back even further. Similar jumpsuits were popular in the early '80s when I was a teen and as I recall I had a few of them. Would I ever wear one again? Not if you paid me.

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  61. I had one in 1992 very similar to the modern day model fourth picture down in the hat. It was very comfortable but having to go to the bathroom in it as often as I did was a pain. I only wore it one time. I couldn't afford to lose an outfit though so I cut open the legs and turned it into a dress.

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  62. My friends mum made her one for her 16th birthday back in the 90s. We had a good laugh behind our hands when she opened the present at her birthday dinner - not quite what she was expecting. We still have a good laugh about it to this day. Her mum was ahead of her time. I think she wore it as pjs.

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  63. OMG - NAY! Horrific, we can't go back there!

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  64. Nay. I never wore anything like this and never would. They were hideous then and will forever be so.

    Putting a child in one of these should be considered child abuse.

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  65. I was working in a fabric store as my first job about the time this trend was peaking. The patterns sold and sold and sold and there was this grey/blue chintz print with apple blossoms on it that we literally could not keep in stock. We went through about 3 bolts per week. I don't know who was wearing these things as I never saw any in the wild, but people were certainly making them.

    One hilarious old wag in the store speculated that they were some type of fetish wear trend!

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  66. Oh my, I had completely forgotten about these! I had a few dresses with collars like the one in McCalls 5775 but no jumpsuits. I think I can be forgiven though as I was only a tot at the time!

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  67. I was married in 1989 so I was too old for this trend last time it came around and seemingly (fortunately!) I am once again past the prime for it again. I do remember my nieces who were youngsters then (now in their mid-20s to early-30s) wearing these.

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  68. Definitely did NOT rock that style in the 90s! And WILL not rock that style now. Those etsy photos make the models look about twice the size they are. Those jumpsuits in the photos at the bottom don't have much in common with those balloon-pant jumpsuits to my eye. The cut on the pants is much slimmer in those. Even those - no thank you due to the bathroom/undressing problem.

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  69. Let me give you my answer in Spanish, ¡No! and in English, No!, in Italian, No, in Russian , Nyet, and any other language you can think of. I love the sailor collar on the middy blouse, it's a classic but omg, not on the jumpsuit. The prints look like old chintz slipcovers too. Even updating the prints and using the other necklines, this doesn't flatter anyone. The only look that is worse are the MC Hammer pants.
    I also like the idea of rompers, but they are a no also. I have a big bust, short waist and (relatively) long legs, I can't imagine a worse fashion choice.
    regards,
    Theresa

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  70. YUK YUK YUK ! not on grown-ups, ever !!

    Eve

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  71. Holy Hell--NAY! Unless you need a clown suit. My friends and I have actually had email contests to see who can find the most horrifying image of a Prairie Muffin Jumpsuit.

    The whole Baby Clothes For Adults trend still freaks me out, twenty years later. That, and no grown woman should ever wear anything (possible exceptions made for costumes) that requires her to disrobe completely to, um, powder her nose.

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    Replies
    1. Your image collection is impressive, by the way. Scary, but impressive.

      Delete
    2. Also, I don't care how thin, gamine, or Milanese you are, floral jumpsuits will always be terrible (sorry, Sartorialist. You were wrong on this one).

      Delete
  72. Let the generation double zed learn what we did: You have to fully undress for nature's call.

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  73. Well Peter, thanks for that. I had forgotten all about that trend. Now I can't unsee it. Ugh. I wore it, I loved it and since I made almost all of my clothes back then, I can say, without a doubt, I sewed it. Never again!.

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  74. Okay for the little tikes . . . but otherwise, a big fat NAY!!

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  75. Try the maternity version of these ... My reaction when expecting the now-20-year-old? I'm HAVING a baby, not BECOMING one! Beth S

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  76. Oh NO! No no no no no! Please no. Nooooooooooo…….

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  77. OMG!!! I made the slightly more streamlined versions of these in 1993 as a waistline-less option for maternity clothing. I failed to predict, however, that pregnant women have to pee ALL THE TIME. I had to quickly un-button the tragically large number (maybe 7) enclosure devices about every 15 minutes. OK, maybe I exaggerate, but not by much. Good news is that the idea seemed somewhat more reasonable when I only had to deal with the top couple buttons for breastfeeding, and I welcomed the extra room around the unfamiliar waist girth.

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  78. I actually have quite a few jump suit style patterns, mainly from the 60's and 70's. I made my daughter some from the 60's pattern and she loved the style and so did her friends. However, the 90's patterns, well that is another story.

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  79. Good Gourd, man! WHAAAATTTT are you thinking??? I wore one - or rather it wore me. Felt like a blooming Oompah Loompah. Not just no. He%& NO!

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  80. Peter, I'm late with my comment but my overwhelming reaction is that this trend started someplace where women display thick single braids of hair and several of them are married to one man...

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  81. Hi, the Etsy versions are cute. But I hate the older ones with sailor collars. I did see a very loose overall from about 1920, in a book, and designed for beach wear (it didn't catch on). But I did have loose overalls like that, and wore with and without a belt. In yellow. This type of dressing is great when caring for small children, sitting on the floor, caring for animals (domestic), sewing. An up-date would be great, for relaxed wear, with a T shirt. The idea comes from Amelia Bloomer, who got it from Turkey.... Cathie in Quebec. And to wear with ballet flats....

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  82. I remember seeing the patterns, never saw anyone in real life wearing one. But I remember seeing someone in a few movies wearing one of these hideous monstrosities.! YUCK

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  83. Oh yes, my niece had one when she was about 3 years old. A veritable clown suit.

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  84. I believe those were called Party Pants. I was working at Northwest Fabrics during that time, and they were very popular.
    But not for long.

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  85. Define nay - only the tallest wisp of a girl could carry it off and if you are thinking of it for yourself, DONT EVEN GO THERE!

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  86. I like the Butterick with the sailor collar. I'm putting it on my todo list. :)

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  87. verrily I say NAY.

    I shall confess in 1984 to making a Laura Ashley inspired sailor *dress* with square collar, though in narrow stripes not lush cabbage rose print. and in 1987 I owned a purple boiler suit not of elephantin size.

    Thankfully I had managed to wipe all memory of these patterns from my brainpan, but you've brought it back. Uh-oh.

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  88. YAY! They're so outrageous that I sort of want one. It's like a car wreck and I can't look away. In fact, I want to be IN the car wreck! Outrageous can be good!

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  89. Michael, hazmat is never amusing. Don't make these. Oh so horrid! The jumpsuit aspect had an earlier life in the 70s in denim, inspired by John Denver ode Thank God I'm a Country Boy. I have two of these neuve-Edwardian types of patterns, given to me by a friend who had made these things for her daughter. The Edwardian square elaborate collar/blousy shape/flowery print aspect had lurked through fashion since Lady Diana's wedding to Prince Charles. Yuppies became oh-so-Anglophile in their tastes in the later 80s into the early 90s, and transmuted their tastes to their children.

    ReplyDelete

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