Monday, 28 January 2013

1970s - love or hate?

The 70s is often described as the decade that style forgot, but after a bit of googling and reviewing my sewing patterns I realise that I actually quite like a fair bit of the 70s look.  Not the flares or wide collars or puffy shoulders, but the suiting, shirt style dresses and wrap dresses are right up my alley.  In fact I think the 90s is the decade that style forgot since the fashion was so bland, and the 80s is the decade we all should forget (and not revive) because it was just so awful and embarrassing for everyone involved.

We were invited out to the races and picnic day in Orange, a beautiful regional town about 4 hours west of Sydney, for a 40th birthday party.  Perfect opportunity for me to wear one of my under utilised  beautiful frocks and hats and generally dress up as one does (or should do) for the races.   Sadly though this group of my husband's friends just love the themed dress up party - the last big party we went to was an Elvis and Priscilla theme.  Ever seen a Chinese Elvis? 

diy-elvis-costume


The funniest thing about that photo is not my husband wearing an Elvis costume (made out of some white overalls bought from an op shop with triangle godets sewn in to make flares) but the fact that we were staying in a very fancy hotel and got quite a lot of amused/horrified looks from the other guests in the lobby whilst we tried to hail a taxi!

Anyway the theme for this weekend was the 70s.  As I said in the last post I was planning to try to embarrass my husband as much as possible, and so I had planned to make him some brown polyester pants and a brown + orange paisley print body shirt from this vintage Simplicity pattern (all of which I actually do have in my stash):

Simplicity-8255-1970s-mens-flares-shirt

But last week we had such heatwave conditions that it was just too much to do anything other than loll about in front of the fan, let alone sew with polyester.  Plus the forecast for Saturday was for very hot weather too, so a back up plan was required.  Which is where a bit of research with Dr Google came in handy.  I came across this photo of Asher Keddie looking gorgeous as Ita Buttrose in Paper Giants (a fantastic ABC mini series) on a post from BusinessChic on 70s workwear inspiration:

1970s-womens-fashion
photo via Businesschic.com
Whilst I love that green patterned skirt with the minty green fitted shirt, it's the guy in the background with the newspaper that really caught my eye.  He may look like someone out of Abba but the short sleeved shirt, dress shorts and knee high socks is the quintessential smart casual look for men in the 70s. Although I remember some school teachers of mine during the 80s still rocking this look, and even worse some old school building inspectors from my first council job still wearing this style in the late 90s! 

So I dug out a cotton knit/mesh style top that was my grandad's, cut the legs off some chinos to make shorts and finally tracked down some knee high walking socks.  Boy are they hard to find these days - if anyone else is looking for some try Lowes (if you're under the age of 65 they'll know straight away it's for a dress up costume ha ha ha).

1970s-mens-shorts-knee-high-socks


And no, he still wasn't embarrassed by his outfit, just a little hot and sweaty.  Finding something for myself wasn't going to be too difficult since I've sewn quite a few things from 70s sewing patterns but I decided to go 100% authentic and wear a shirt dress that was my grandma's in stripes of purple in varying shades that is proudly labelled as 'crimpelene':

1970s-womens-fashion-crimpelene-shirtdress

1970s-shirt-dress-crimpelene-stripe

I accessorised with a pair of oversized sunglasses and a timber/chain necklace which was also my grandma's that Toby spend the entire day chewing and pulling on.  The hat is my everyday hat for sun protection, but it has a bit of 70s vibe with the floppiness.   Even though I felt a bit frumpy in the dress because it's a little too large for me, I didn't actually feel in costume at all because a shirt dress is totally something I would wear now (although not in polyester).  Not like the others in our group who were in mini dresses with white knee high boots, maxi dresses in crazy prints with wedge heels, safari suits and one guy getting around like Hugh Hefner in a satin smoking jacket.

And now on my with my normal sewing - I have January's Burda of the month about 80% done and I want to get it done before the month is out.

One last photo from the Paper Giants show - I love that the character of Ita who is a high flying fashion magazine executive is not only sewing at home, but is sewing on a bright orange Husqvarna sewing machine because my mum still has and uses that exact same sewing machine!

Paper-Giants-Ita-Buttrose-Asher-Keddie
photo via abc.net.au


17 comments:

  1. Kristy, you made me laugh!! When you said it was the man at the news stand, I looked and thought "that's not all that embarrassing" but when you said the other guy I had to go back and look... Oh yes.. my father, teachers indeed nearly all males over a certain age 'rocked' this look when I was young too. What a laugh! Your dress does look nice colours but I also resist those crimplene fabrics! Go Ita - I heard her being interviewed on the ABC yesterday for being awarded Australian of the Year for 2013 - why did it take so long!

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  2. Oh my God. My Dad went to work just like your husband...but hey it was Queensland.

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  3. But he is missing the essential accessory. A terry towelling hat.

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    1. yes! A terry towelling hat would have been perfect

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  4. Such memories! That's what my Dad wore for years and years until he finally moved to long pants. The socks were bad, but he rocked cool facial hair in the 1970s (sideburns and a handlebar mo)!

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  5. Ita is a legend, for sure! I too love all those fashions. Your hubby's outfit was great, and your dress fab- You could def wear that again (if it was in cotton). I cant believe you found a pair of white overalls big enough for your tall hubby at the op shop! That is a serious find!

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    1. the overalls were too short for him - I had to add that red panel around the waistline to make it long enough for his freakish body.....

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  6. I'm quite partial to the Aussie 70's look. If you really want to try and up the embarassment factor for your husband, I have several 70's safari suit patterns and a really nifty jacket pattern that would probably fit him. I'm happy to lend them to you if you want! I once saw a whole group of Japanese Elvises and they were singing Elvis songs in a Japanese accent. Have you seen the Jim Jarmusch film, Mystery Train? My mother was a fan of crimplene pantsuits. They'd probably be worth a fortune now!

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    1. thanks for the offer Carol, but hopefully that's the last of the dress ups for now, especially for the 70s. It would be nice to go to an event in a lovely outfit for a change!

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  7. Your dress is probably worth a small fortune in a vintage shop and what a yummy necklace literally. I remember my Dad wearing similar shorts / socks combo - your husband looks spiffy in his - perhaps this will spark a revival ?

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  8. I am loving your frock! I'm all about the gems of the 70s though there are some serious hot messes as well. And how rad is Asher's first look- so good!

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  9. Hee, hee - our deputy principal at high school in the early 80s rocked the look too, but with sandals and long socks. He also had a 70s cricketer moustache!! Hats off to you for wearing all that polyester in the middle of summer in the name of authenticity.

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  10. Love the outfits and Paper Giants is a great show with some interesting reminders of the fashion.

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  11. I still have pics of the rels with their 70's gear, just like your outfits. Seriously, polyester is still crimplene. I did sit infront of paper giants and hand draw some of Ita's wardbrobe for future reference:)

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  12. What a great post. You both looked the part in your 70's gear. And I love the shot of the orange sewing machine. My Mum had a minty green Husqvarna but it was traded in for a modern Janome.

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  13. Great post, and what fun costumry. I like the last photo too with her sewing on TV. Nice! Go ABC!

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  14. Me and my friend have booked to go to paris in a couple of weeks and the vintage shops you found look amazing... please could I have the addresses? I hope to find amazing buys like yours.









    Men Cotton Shorts

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