Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!

Mar 12, 2010

Peter's "Remembrance of Outfits Past"



I wasn't always interested in clothes.  In fact, I am certain that I preferred no clothes. And mud. This was to change quickly, however, as I continued down life's path to pursue my destiny.


In the Sixties, it was considered the height of chic for little boys to wear overalls.   Once I grew accustomed to clothes, I heeded fashion trends -- not slavishly, but I knew what was what.  I believe those are matching red sneakers...or a very bad rash.

Here's another version of the popular overalls look, no doubt from the Paris Originals Healthtex line.  I have no idea what that "66" up top refers to, btw.   Must have been the 66th shot on the roll.  

Even as a child, I was fond of horizontal stripes.  Back then, horizontal stripes were for children.  And prisoners.  Adults wore vertical stripes.  This is the last orange thing I've ever looked good in.

Though the political times were turbulent, even in the late Sixties I continued to cling to a classic look that would always be in fashion. No fringe vests or psychedelic prints for me...yet.


It proved impossible to ignore the overwhelming social pressures to look groovy.  Hair was long, prints were loud, and shirts were double knit.

On the cusp of puberty, by mid-decade I had adopted a more classic style. The hair was still long and the sweater acrylic, but I recognized a timeless look -- as well as the value of an understated accessory.

I wanted so much to show you the embarrassing photographs of an awkward adolescence (a fundamental rite-of-passage for every adult American).  Alas, fate had other things in store for me.  No glasses, no braces, and no acne a little Clearasil couldn't hide.  My teens were my most glamorous years; it would be a slow decline from there -- till now of course!

When I look at these thirty-year-old photos, only one thought comes to mind: Hair.   I had such great hair.  Oh well; today I have wigs, many wigs.


Along with the rest of the country, by the early Eighties I was starting to get branded. Nike shoes. Polo shirts.  How I loved my red Mighty Mac zipper jacket.  It was $80 at Bloomingdales, which my mother said was simply too expensive.  So three friends chipped in and bought it for me.  My Mom was furious.

If I still had this plaid shirt I'd be wearing it today.  It's strange but true:  I owned no embarrassing outfits.

Except this one.   I was preppy -- too preppy.  But weren't we all, dear readers?  (those of you who were already born, that is.)

I abandoned the preppy look when I lived in Italy for a few years after college. Sadly, I lost those Persol sunglasses a few years later.

Still in my Italian phase: Easter in Montecatini, 1985.  The hair is getting shorter.

This look definitely brings back the Eighties, which were nostalgic for the Fifties.  I bought that jacket in Milan and it had wide shoulder pads. I still have that Valentino tie, a gift.

By the mid Eighties I had discovered hair gel.  The "dry look" was over. 

OK, those sunglasses.  I think I'd lost my Persols by this time. But you know, when you're young, you can get away with almost anything.

As the Eighties came to a close, I lost my way a bit, fashion-wise (and not only fashion-wise).  I never should have bought that vintage field jacket (I would own another one twenty years later...).  That color is awful on me. 

The late Eighties ponytail -- ugh.  I no longer had the hair(line) for it and it simply didn't flatter me.  But everyone was growing one so I did too.


By this time I had given up on my scalp and started to experiment with the hair on my face.  Everyone had some sort of soul-patchy-goatee thing going on in the early-to-mid Nineties, and so did I.  I'm actually wearing Rollerblades in this shot: how Nineties is that!

Variations on a theme.  Now I wore vintage French sunglasses (whatever became of those?).

These were not my best years, fashion-wise, or maybe it was just the decade...

I did try to bring some style to the Appalachian trail, however.

As another decade came to a close, I made the decision to shave my head and I never looked back -- till I was forced to confront those old high school photos today, that is.  Gadzooks.



Back in Italy in 2001 -- I always dress better there; it's hard not to.

Mid-decade, and still holding on.  I've lost a bit of my "bloom" perhaps, but the years have been relatively kind.

And now, thanks to my sewing machines and my new look, I'm ready for a new decade!

Loyal followers and lurkers, I hope you've enjoyed this emotional trip down memory lane.  Kleenex is available in the lobby.   Do you hate me for not having more embarrassing pictures?  I swear, I hunted for some.  

OK, it's your turn.  What were some of your worst outfits through the decades?  How are you dressed in your most embarrassing photo?  Fess up!


  1. WOW. Um, yes, a little jealousy here. You could not PAY me to do a similar look at my sartorial past- I was not so fashionable as you. God, my Punky Brewster phase alone- no, just NO!

  2. I, like you, have no embarrassing photos. Okay, there is that one in the early nineties in that denim dress with the silver buttons, but I'm ignoring that. ;) My mother had classic tastes and pictures were occasions to dress up for. So my childhood pictures I'm wearing hard, white patent leather mary janes paired with lacy socks and embroidered dresses... or smocked dresses... or ruffley dresses, or some combo of all three... (Other girls of the 80s will remember those kinds of dresses--full circle skirts with lots of sewn in petticoats and ruffles, and they always had at least one jingle bell sewn into them, so our parents could track us to where we had run off to, and our mothers put ruffle-butt panties on us, so when we twirled around, people could see the ruffles on our butts!) I was cute back then. Hm. I wonder what happened?

  3. I wish I had no embarrassing photos. My Mom did horrible things to me. I not only had a mullet but she also feathered my bangs for family photographs (like Farrah) even though I was only 7. And I had my first perm when was 9 or so. Terrible. I also had spiked hair for a while and always the most atrocious glasses. The clothes were of course very 80's. I distinctly remember a stretchy belt with a gold and silver butterfly belt buckle. I shudder to think of it.
    You however were the height of chic, even through the early nineties, a time period that I don't even want to think about.

  4. The years have been very kind! What a great set of photos. I just blink whenever anyone takes my picture - you don't notice the clothes!

  5. OMG If only I had pictures. Sixteen and dancing on high cork platforms to 'Waterloo" in The Same Year as it won the Eurovision song contest. Twenty three and wearing hippie chic the First Time Round.Shoulder pads in the eighties.. hOhum in the Nineties. Recapturing my style in Italy two years ago. (You are right. Its hard Not to be stylish in Italy). Maybe it's just as well I don't have photos...

  6. Can I do a familial share? Okay. I'm fairly certain my dad doesn't read Male Pattern Boldness. (Though perhaps I should suggest it.) So he'll never know if I post this link to a brilliant 60s photo of him posing with his car: What is going on with those trousers?

  7. Oh, yes, sharing of embarrassing family photos isn't only accepted -- it's expected. Your Dad's trousers are a little high-waisted by today's standards, but I think I'm going to work on bringing back that look, after seeing those Pajama Game dancers in yesterday's clip.

    You can only wear your pants so low before you have to start moving in the opposite direction.

  8. Sigh . . . old photos are such fun! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Oh, I could devote a whole post to these even though I've only been on Earth twenty-one years. I may have to.
    Curse your inherent stylishness! I was never so lucky.
    I did include this horrific one in a post awhile back...the hot topic look of the mid 2000's was my thing:

  10. Oh, Lisette, I should have mentioned: septum piercings are not to be displayed at Male Pattern Boldness. Sorry.

    That's outfit's kind of cute in a Wednesday Adams-as-skater-dude sort of way. I give it a B+.

  11. I remember my sister and me going to Grandma's when we were about 4 and 5 years old. Grandma and Aunt Margaret gave us both home permanents (Toni's, as I recall). My mother was so mad we were never sent back to Grandma's! Thank God and Greyhound I have no pictures! -- San Antonio Sue

  12. That was delightful and fun!! My husband has similar pics from the 80s I've deemed the "footloose pics". They are so ridiculous and they always make me smile. Thanks for the journey!

  13. You and I must be about the same age. I was preppy in the 80s too. The 90s were disastrous for me fashion-wise. I'm still trying to recover from that.

  14. My mother was always pretty stylish, so I never had any horrible clothes, although most are still embarrassing since they were in style. My favorite picture is from 1982 (I am about 5) where I am wearing lemon yellow and white terry-cloth Izod shorts and a matching yellow Izod tank with high socks, standing next to my brother in a similar blue/red matching set. I will have to dig it up and post it, it is pretty hilarious. Although, better are the pictures of my older sister in the mid/late eighties. She was all about Benetton and the Limited, with her big bangs, her off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and her long feather clips in her hair. Does anyone else remember those? Did people only wear them here in NH?

  15. Loved the photos and you're lucky. I've got a classic kindergarten picture. Uneven bangs because my mom wouldn't take me to the beauty parlor, and a flowered dress with white cotton pinafore apron with - wait for it - an embroidered Tweetie bird cartoon. Oh the 70s...

    If you ever want to reconnect with stylin' Euro fashion, check out the men's patterns with Burda. They're included a couple times a year in the Burda magazine, before becoming individual envelope patterns.

  16. I do kind of mildly dislike you for not having more embaressing were dashing in 95% of the pictures and in the remaining 5%...well it was the 80s, you just couldn't help it bless your heart. I can't even talk, I spent the 80's with scrunchies, side ponytails, oversized T-shirts and striped leggings. Which is precisely why I've avoided the re-emergence of legginsgs! Really though, your impeccable fashion sense is definitely there through all those pictures.

  17. Come over to my house, open any random photo album, close your eyes, run a finger down the page, and then open your eyes. There. I even had a white lady 'fro back in the early '78. You know, to go with my polyester disco dress. Oy.

    Great retrospective, Peter.

  18. I think I only took embarrassing photos. Seriously, my cousins had great fun sending photos of my younger days to my husband after we got married just for kicks. My parents were the least fashionable people in the world and also the most thrifty. My clearance rack outfits were purchased several sizes too big so that I could "grow into them". The neighbors must have felt sorry for me because they gave me all their daughters hand-me-downs; they were 7-8 years older than me so whatever "fit" was outdated... joy. The combination of these things left me with no sense of fashion; one very memorable moment came in 7th grade. I was at a sleepover, and had just become the victim of a frozen bra, we all got dressed before breakfast and I wore my favorite clothing pieces: green t-shirt, jeans with tan and rust leather trim on each leg, orange and white stripe socks, dark and light blue Nikes with purple E.T. shoelaces. It never occurred to me that I looked ridiculous until my friends mother came down the stairs, looked at me and burst out laughing. My fashion drama/trauma didn't end there either, many years of being a fashion victim followed and it's only been the last five years or so that I've really tried to get a "look" that didn't promote laughter for some reason or another. The year I made friends with a bi-polar stripper were a little more hopeful... at least I matched during that phase.

  19. Love your trip down memory lane! As you and I have lived through the same decades, it certainly brought back memories. I really did a LOT of preppy too!

    But embarrassing outfits? Hmmm, they didn't seem embarrassing at the time, but looking back now, maybe just a little. The time I had a perm in 1987? Now THAT was embarrassing!

  20. My seventh-grade (1987) school photo: gray mohair sweatervest, freshwater pearls, ENORMOUS brown glasses. Very secretarial, but before Maggie Gyllenhall made that kind of sexy. I don't quite remember my hair that year, but I remember watching girls after gym doing things to their bangs with blow dryers and curling irons and Aqua Net, then trying to figure out the technique at home only to come to school to have my slightly more stylish friends mob me the moment they saw me to help me fix it. I'd share pictures, but they're at least 1000 miles away. Other than that, I was always perfect.

  21. So you've been handsome AND well-dressed your whole life? What a burden!

    I was a fashion disaster from the start.

    In the 80's, I was a shapeless STICK and wore baggy sweatshirts (Go Benetton and Generra!) and super tight Guess jeans, embraced the neon, preppy Izod shirts, shoelaces in my hair, wierd hats, poofy Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dresses, side ponytails. I had braces, glasses and acne… just horrible. Don't even get me started about hair gel, AquaNet, split level powerbangs and other crazy hair disasters. YUCK!

    In the 90s, if you weren't power dressing (go original "Melrose Place" and "90210"!), you, like me, embraced androgyny and forgot to bathe daily (mmm, greazy!). It didn't help that I was in Seattle during the advent of grunge. I didn't actually start wearing clothes that FIT my body and showed my feminine shape until about 1996. Yikes.

    When I did start dressing for my shape (which was no longer stick-like, but curvy), I actually had a guy friend say, "So there IS a body under there!" Ouch.

    I'm just glad I sew now. It means I have power over how I dress vs. the dressing with the herd. Never again will the mall define my style.

  22. I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but I really didn't think anyone looked all that hot in the 70s. However, the above pictures definitely prove me wrong. Good grief man - you were HOT!! ::blushing::

    Love the trip down memory lane and seeing your style change and evolve through the years. :)

  23. You are HIGH on drugs if you think I'm gonna show photos of me through the ages. I was not anywhere near as photogenic in my youth. Love this post though. I think you are gorgeous through all the decades.

  24. fantastic! I love the roller blading photo the most - it seems most people had those things strapped to their feet around that time :)

  25. okay, I just had to add this. I think it's pretty hilarious that my RSS feed attached this to the bottom of your post: "on PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN , GUM RECESSION , HIGHLY SENSITIVE , RECEDING HAIRLINE , SKIN ELASTICITY "


  26. LOL! The Internet works in mysterious ways...or perhaps not.

  27. The worst part is is that it was fake! My mother wouldn't let me get a real one :P although I totally thank her now.

  28. Enjoyed the pictures. FYI - the Apr 66 on the top of that one picture means that it was developed in April, 1966. All photos developed during that time period had the date stamped on the top.

  29. The photos are fantastic. I would never be able to post such a comprehensive retrospective even though I am close in age simply because I ran away from any and all cameras.

    I still do! I always look goofy in pictures even with my currently sylish cloths. Thats my story and I am sticking with it.

  30. Nancy's right, old photos from that period have developing dates on them, my mom's do. Helps me in scrapbooking them :)
    My best photos were from late 80's and early 90's, during our dating years and marriage. After about 2000, I started taking the photos, rather than being in them, I think I look tired or stiff in them. Great composition of your growing up.

  31. Love it! BTW-It refers to April, 1966.

  32. You're lucky to have so many photos. I have almost none. I don't the 90's was kind to anyone, fashion wise, but you looked comfortable with yourself. In the 80's we all looked the same and we can all laugh at each other. I have a particularly bad photo of me with very BIG hair in the 80's. I agree about dressing better in Italy (or all of Europe for that matter). I always make more of an effort. Because I live in a seaside resort town, I'm used to being surrounded by people in board shorts and thongs, so it's lovely to be surrounded by well dressed people. Thanks for sharing this trip down memory lane, I really enjoyed it!

  33. VERY hunky!

  34. I have 5 letters for you----you were (and are) quite the C-U-T-I-E! Thanks for sharing such awesome pics from your past. I know you'll have great one's in the future:)

  35. Oh gosh. if only i could remember all of the fashion disasters over the years... hyper colour tshirts come to mind, a short fringe on my wavy hair (i think i burnt those pictures), a stripey skivvy that i insisted on wearing quite often, and possibly the worst... are you ready.... some washed denim overalls (dont judge me, i only wore them because they were a gift from mother, i didnt want to hurt her feelings) oh if only i had time to list them all..... sorry for the nightmares...
    p.s. love your blog peter. keeps me entertained during those long work days...)
    -Renay ox

  36. we are about the same age but you look younger than me. That's not fair. What an awesome photographic stroll down memory lane!

    I don't have many photos of me over the years. A few from the 60's and a few from the 70's.
    For all the monstrosities I wore in the 80's, I am very, very grateful there is almost no evidence. The few from the 90's are just sad. I do have some from the zeds, I think the zebra tunic is the worst...

    I am still trying to sort out my individual 'look'.

  37. OMG - have you ever taken a BAD photo?!?! So unfair! I would never have the guts to show any of my photos past my childhood, that's for sure!

  38. You have not changed much, Peter! You are still adorable!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails