I graduated from high school in 1973, which means my 40th high school reunion is right around the corner (next week, actually). I’ve always felt that 1973 was right in between the eras of hippie and disco, but it did have its own vibe to it. I recently grabbed a bunch of Seventeen magazines from 1973 that were still stored at my mom’s house, and took a trip down the beauty and fashion memory lane of my graduation year:
This montage of fashions best depicts what we wore in 1973. The pantsuit, the smock top, the maxi dress, the halter dress, cropped jacket and wide-legged pants, and the pinafore. I remember lots and lots of polyester!
There were still elements left over from the hippie ’60s that we embraced. Tie-dying with Rit Dye was one of them.
Tanning was still big. I can remember laying out all summer long in a bikini to get that elusive “perfect” tan.
Lip Gloss was huge! Yardley’s Pot o’ Gloss was a favorite.
1973 was all about Chicago (the band).
We wore blue (and green and violet) eyeshadow from Maybelline. Great Lash mascara too!
Scents took an earthier, muskier tone. “Skin” from Bonne Bell had fragrances of Ambergris, Civet, and Musk.
We all had to take Home Ec, and learn to sew. There was a lot of sewing going on in the ’70s. My mom, who was an excellent seamstress, sewed most of my wardrobe. I never took to sewing though, it proved to be very frustrating for me.
I had long hair in 1973 and so did most other girls. Long hair has remained a constant for most of my life. I cut it all off and then grow it long again!
Sunkist Lemons wanted us to use their lemons on our hair. It was supposed to be used as a rinse to get rid of “nasty soap film and excess oiliness”. I think I used it once or twice, but it’s pretty messy.
Johnson and Johnson pushed us to use their baby products. Baby Powder, Baby Shampoo, and Baby Oil were big. I thought it was all pretty ridiculous and never used any of it. Baby products are for babies!
Tampax. Where would we have been without it? Especially when your period always seemed to happen when doing something fun and adventurous.
Last but not least, pantyhose! Especially L’eggs pantyhose – that egg shaped container always seemed so cool. When we weren’t wearing knee socks, we were wearing pantyhose.
Thanks for walking with me down 1973 memory lane! ~Marilyn
This is very nostalgic for me too…I am a bit younger but this was about the time I really discovered fashion. I could add some things I loved at the time to your list, including Danskin (not just for dancing!), 40s-inspired clothing, early Betsey Johnson to sew, Sweet Earth flower fragrances, Indian embroidered tunics, clogs…wrote about 1973 myself awhile back, if you don’t mind my sharing: http://denisebrain.blogspot.com/2009/04/start-of-my-vintage-love-ca-1973.html
Thanks, Maggie – YES to all the things you mentioned! I was actually going to write a separate blog post for Betsey Johnson/Alley Cat because I loved her SO much. I have the August 1971 issue of Seventeen, and it features her and her amazing fashions. I wore a ton of the Betsey Johnson “Young Designer” Butterick patterns that my mom sewed for me. I was stylin’!
I stumbled across your blog looking up Pot o’ Gloss and boy does it take me back! I was born in ’68 but my cousin was born in ’60…She was my babysitter and she was 13 in 1973 and discovering everything you posted…Since I was her shadow, I went shopping with her and looked at her magazines, listened to her music, watched her t.v. shows – EVERYTHING! We would play in her mother’s closet and she would put make-up on me…Through the 70s, I grew-up a lot and my mother had quite a time with me. I couldn’t understand that I was only 5, 6, 7…Thank you for a wonderful trip!
Hi Carol – thanks for your interesting perspective as a kid in 1973! I had a similar experience in the mid-60s when my older sister was a teenager and I was a punky kid. I used to covet all the mod stuff she wore (while I was wearing knee socks), and in the late 60s the bohemian hippie look. Thank goodness that in the 70s, when I was a teenager, fashions and fads were equally cool!