Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stuck in the 1970s (and Proud of It?)

I'm beginning to realize that, when it comes to fashion eras and (especially) home sewing, I am stuck in the 1970s. I would say that, out of the hundreds of vintage patterns that I've hoarded over the years, about 80% of them are from the 1970s, 15% are from the (late) 1960s and the other 5% are from the 1950s and the 1980s-on. And I have absolutely nothing from the 1940s.

In the light of the Mad Men late 1950s/early 1960s fashion craze of fitted sheath dresses, bouffant skirts and cocktail dresses, I have really tried to branch out. I've spent a lot of time lately trolling through Etsy and Ebay searching for vintage patterns like these, and I've bookmarked lots of them. I admire that style - it's classic and feminine. I actually even look good in that style. And yet, my latest pattern purchases have been from the 1970s:

The Commercial Pattern Archive at the University of Rhode Island is even offering a week of free access to their database of home sewing patterns that dates all the way back to the 1800s. And which decade do I excitedly explore first? No surprise here - the 1970s.

So why do I feel guilty about this? Why should I apologize for loving bellbottoms and pointy-collared shirts and polyester disco dresses and hippie-chic clothing sooooo much? Maybe I feel guilty about being so drawn to 1970s fashion because the 1970s are universally looked at as the ugliest and lamest decade of fashion in recent history. Even Betsey Johnson despised the 1970s (and I LOVE Betsey Johnson!). Although each decade (especially the 1980s) each has its share of various fashion faux pas and awful trends, the 1970s has always been vigorously attacked and criticized. Fashions from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s are "classic." The 1970s are just plain "tacky." So, because I love 1970s fashion, does this mean that I as a person am tacky and, worst of all, have horrible taste in clothing?

Although I was born in 1977 and wasn't even truly aware of my surroundings during the 2 brief years that I actually lived during the 1970s, I am extremely nostalgic for this tacky decade, especially its music, movies, television and fashion. My mom was a high school student during the 1970s. She and her sisters did a lot of home sewing when she was a teenager. As a kid, I loved thumbing through the pages of her high school year books just to look at the hairstyles and clothing. The photos from my parent's wedding were another point of fascination for me - lime green bridesmaid dresses - I thought they were so cool! My favorite movie is Harold and Maude, and I love the Cat Stevens soundtrack. Both firmly stuck in the 1970s. My all-time favorite band - Sparks - recorded my all-time favorite album - Kimono My House - in the 1970s. When I was in high school, I had an unhealthy obsession with The Brady Bunch. I was a big fan of Mrs. Brady's shag haircut and the Brady girls' outfits, especially during the last year of the show (1974). The movie Dazed and Confused was also released when I was in high school - I watched it a dozen times then and I've watched it a dozen times since then.

So I have come to the conclusion that, at 32, and after 12 years of serious home sewing, I think it's too late to change. But, you see, I really don't even want to - my personality and personal tastes were solidified a long time ago. I like what I like, and surely one can't apologize for that?


  1. I've just stumbled on your cute blog and I couldn't agree more, I was born in the 70s (early) and it was very colourful. And we had fun things like boleros and jumpsuits and all in big jazzy colourful prints.
    I think the reason it's not fashionable to like the 70s is a) it wasn't that long ago and b) the polyester snobbery. On the upside the patterns for the 70s are much MUCH cheaper than the previous decades.

  2. Thanks so much for visiting (and commenting)! SO TRUE about the 1970s patterns being much cheaper - I love being able to find five or six 1970s patterns for the price of one 1950s pattern! :)

  3. Just found your blog. How fun! I lived the 70's and wore many of the fashions you are showcasing here. I thought I was HOT in those clothes and I still love many of the styles. I graduated high school 1970.

  4. I'm also enjoying you blog! I'm probably your mother's age and I, too, sewed a lot of my own clothes as a teenager. Classic rock, fun clothes... it was a great time! My husband refers to the 1970s as "the era of bad taste', but I find myself liking it again.
    Another retro themed movie you may like is Velvet Goldmine with Christian Bale (on You Tube), especially if you like Glam Rock, glitter and men in make-up. Oh, yes!
    Rock on, girl!