This is a cool ad for American Motors’ 1972 Gremlin car. I think it turned out to be a total lemon, if I remember correctly, but it was a pretty sharp looking car for early ’70s standards. It was denoted as a “great little economy car that’s fun to drive”. Most American cars at that time were HUGE, so it was rather novel to see a sporty little made-in-USA car.
This particular Gremlin model in the ad is a really pretty shade of purple, with gold trim. I happen to love this color scheme as they are the school colors of the University of Washington – GO DAWGS! I like the clean lines of the car and the hatchback, which was a new concept.
American car makers were trying to introduce more economical, smaller models in the early 1970s (Ford Pinto, anyone?). But due to producing so many lemons, they were soon eclipsed by the Japanese car makers of Honda and Toyota. They came out with wildly popular finely-engineered small cars that the American car makers just couldn’t compete with.
“Have you ever had a bad time in Levi’s?”, begs the question. Well, no, as a matter of fact! Levi’s were a mainstay in my wardrobe in the ’60s and ’70s. I remember having to buy men’s Levi jeans and have my mom sew darts in the waistline to make them fit better.
In 1968, Levi Strauss created a separate division for womenswear, and called it Levi’s for Gals. This clothing line was made to fit junior-sized girls, and was hip, trendy and attune with the times. There were cool styles like hip-huggers, flares and bell-bottoms.
This ad, from the March 1972 issue of Glamour magazine, was requested by a reader. Luckily I happened to have the magazine (and the ad). It has an Americana vibe to it, with the flag, Cracker Jack, and red, white and blue colors. It features a fun-loving model wearing low-cut button-thru flares in 100% cotton brushed denim ($10), and a knit top in polyester and cotton blend ($8).
I would have totally worn this outfit in 1972 (my junior year in high school), and perhaps did!
I recently snapped up this beauty of a catalog at a thrift store. “POP Fashions to knit and crochet in Bear Brand and Fleisher Yarns”, dated 1965. This was the height of the Mod era, where the Beatles and mini skirts were taking center stage. Fun young fashion was really beginning to take off, with sleek lines, bright colors and bold patterns. This cover photo shows a mod take on an argyle sweater, with matching stockings!
< An argyle vest, and a striped mohair shell top.
A zippered cape, and a granny square shell top. >
Here we have that ’60s favorite, the “Poor Boy” sweater, with its vertical ribbing. Matching socks too!
Bright striped pullovers to share a soda in!
< Nubby yarn shell top, and pom-pom neckline sweater.
Nubby yarn vest, and sleek long-sleeved tunic (worn with leggings and booties – très chic!) >
Chunky knit striped sweater with collar, and bright color-block cowl neck sweater.
A mod take on the classic his-and-hers tennis sweaters.
Ever since the 1970s – where the boho peasant look reigned supreme – I’ve been in love with Mexican embroidery and textiles. On trips to Mexico, I stocked up on colorful hand-embroidered dresses that were sold by vendors everywhere. Even on the beach! I’ve found a lot of vintage pieces in thrift stores over the years too. There is just something so positive about these garments, and I always feel happy wearing them. The hippie in me will never die!
Last month, I became aware of a group called La Blouse Roumaine. This movement grew organically around the image and meaning of the hand-embroidered Romanian blouse. The blouse is a symbol that communicates the identity of its wearer, both as an individual and as a member of a tribe. It also represents a global tribe, seeking the essential through art and beauty.
La Blouse Roumaine joined forces with Viernes Tradicional, a community that promotes Mexican textile heritage by using and sharing photos of garments made by artisans. Since I happen to hoard, er, have some beautiful Mexican pieces, I submitted this photo of me in one of my favorites. It is a vintage 1970s piece in white cotton gauze that is lavishly hand-embroidered both front and back. It’s rather voluminous, but it is exquisite.
I really love that there are communities that are promoting their artistic heritage. There is blatant stealing of these designs in the fashion world, ranging from haute couture to cheap Chinese knockoffs. It’s a beautiful thing when authentic cultural fashions can be appreciated and preserved.
I love this American Wool Council/Alley Cat ad from the August 1972 issue of Seventeen magazine. Betsey Johnson teamed up with the Wool people, as she had done with the Cotton people previously. I like the fact that she placed such great emphasis on American textiles and manufacturing. These were quality fashions, meant to last.
The models (“Martha and her twin sister”) are wearing fashions made from 100% pure wool. On the left is a pretty Fair Isle cardigan with matching flared leg pants in purple, mauve and pink. On the right is a jacket and skirt suit set in blue.
There are quirky drawings by Betsey herself, with cute captions. And of course, sheep!
This super fab Alley Cat by Betsey Johnson ad from the August 1973 issue of Seventeen magazine epitomizes early ’70s fashions for me! This is a look I adored, with all its crazy prints and bright colors. Betsey’s fashions were so fun, kicky, and a bit quirky – I loved wearing them!
This ad features ‘happy go-lucky’ cotton separates. The model on the left (redheaded Sunny Redmond) is wearing a quilted teapot print jacket and circle skirt. Love her striped tights and golden platform shoes. The model on the right is wearing a cotton corduroy checkerboard jacket, matching cut-off pants, and corduroy sailor hat. She is also wearing what looks to be the iconic Famolare red wooden clogs, which were awesome.
Thankful that I had Betsey’s designs to wear in the 1970s!