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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Those 70s Fashions - Riverdale Style

I was almost ready to give up on the All-Request Wednesday because the request well had been dried up for some time, and no new requests were coming in. I was at a loss as to what I would be talking about in this blog entry.

But then I had a request from someone who had already submitted a request to me a few months earlier, and I thought to myself...why not? After all, I encourage all of my readers to send in their ideas...and if a person is a huge fan of my work, why wouldn't I take their ideas into consideration?

So once again, I want to thank Cullen P. from Virginia for this great suggestion.

Now here's the tricky part. Cullen's request was all about fashion trends of the 1970s. And certainly there is a lot to talk about. After all the 1970s were the era of mood rings, feathered hair, and of course, this iconic poster from the heyday of the era.

I'm certain that poster hung on the walls of many teenage boys at the time.

The only problem is that I wasn't around to see the fashion trends of the 1970s. I missed that decade completely! Oh, sure, there were still some traces of seventies era fashion still kicking around by the time I was born in 1981, but not much. So, it would be kind of difficult for me to do a blog entry on fashions from a decade that I could only experience through the history books.

I knew that if I were to do a blog entry on seventies fashions, I would have to consult an encyclopedia of sorts. I would have to find ways to talk about the fashion trends of the era while showing some visual aids for good measure. I would have to give my opinion on fashion trends from four decades ago when I've only lived through three decades.

But fear not. I had a plan. And, all it took was going through my collection of comic books for the inspiration.

That's right. Who better to showcase the fashion trends of the 1970s than Archie and his pals and gals? After all, the 1970s were a brilliant decade for the company. With no less than twenty different titles in print, and with Archie celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in 1971, the Archie world was never any hotter than it was during the decade of the pet rock and energy crisis.

Artist Dan DeCarlo was the premier Archie artist of the 1970s, and some of his covers from the 1970s remain his best work. A huge part of that success came from the fact that he was always paying attention to the latest fads and trends that were in vogue at the time, and drew the latest fashions on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie.

Jughead...well, he had his own distinct style.

For this blog entry, I'll be posting an Archie comic cover from my own personal collection – specifically covers released between January 1970 and December 1979 – and underneath it, I'll point out the fad that is being shown, why it was a popular choice, and what my own personal feelings are (would I wear it, how I think it would look on others, etc.)

Okay, so let's have a look at cover number one – as well as fad number one.

You know, I've completely forgotten how jerky Reggie can be. He certainly was in this Archie's Pals N Gals cover from 1979. However, this cover demonstrates the very first fashion fad of the 1970s. Roller skating! And I'm not talking about the roller blades or heelies that the kids of today are used to. I'm talking about those old-fashioned skates with the four clunky wheels that one reportedly used a key on (maybe some of you who actually experienced the 1970s can tell me the significance behind the keys). As the 1970s came to a close, roller discotheques became extremely popular – well, at least until people decided that disco sucked and destroyed their disco records.

Now would I try roller skating? Only if someone was able to hold me up. My equilibrium on roller skates would be similar to one who guzzled down twelve shots of tequila. It's not a pretty sight.

Okay, fad number two is a “blink and you'll miss it” one. Keep a close eye on Jughead on the right hand side of this “Archie's Joke Book” cover from 1978.

Did you notice the smiley face button on Jughead's clothes? Yep, smile buttons were all the rage in the 1970s...which was kind of ironic given the fact that the period known as the 1970s was among some of the most bleakest with presidential scandals, the fear of running out of gasoline, and the shell-shock of the Vietnam War still fresh on people's minds. At least by the end of the decade, people were beginning to find reasons to smile again, and the yellow happy face button became a little bit of a fad during this time.

Okay, next fad.

Now Archie and Mr. Weatherbee certainly had fashion sense, didn't they? Personalized T-shirts were in style back in the days of the 1970s. I have heard that the 1970s were one of the most creative decades of the 20th century, and certainly with a personalized T-shirt, you could express yourself however you wanted. Since buying a T-shirt with writing on it was somewhat rare back in the 1970s (unless you bought one of those vintage concert tees), many people sewed the letters on themselves, or had someone else stitch the letters on instead.

Again, I have to say that Reggie can be a jerk even when he isn't provoked. Sheesh. But this cover does demonstrate another 1970s fad. Well, the early 1970s anyway. Yes, tie-dyed clothing was all the rage, as Archie and Betty are demonstrating below. And as Archie happily pointed out, tie-dying was a lot of fun because you could never make the same exact pattern twice. You could tie dye several hundred pairs of jeans, and have no exact matches. It certainly was a mainstay from the swinging sixties, but people really seemed to enjoy this trend well into the 1970s. Even in 2013, you still see the odd person wearing a tie-dyed garment. Shirts, pants, shorts...even socks and underwear if you believe it! And while I will be the first one to admit that I have never worn tie-dyed underwear, I have worn tie-dyed shirts before. I even had the opportunity to make my own tie-dyed shirt when I was a kid...but I tossed it when it wore out.

Now this cover certainly showcases the next fashion trend of the 1970s...and it also shows that Veronica can be just as snooty as Reggie. But don't let the lack of laughs on this “Laugh” cover fool you. Rather, I want you to take a look at the bottoms that both Betty and Reggie are wearing. You notice how they flare down like a bell? Bell-bottomed pants and jeans were all the rage in the 1970s, and according to some people, the more your pants flared out, the better they were. On a personal note, I have never worn a pair of bell-bottoms, and I don't think that I would particularly like them just because I would feel as though every time I walked down a street I would feel like I was sweeping it! But I'm sure many of you will counter my point by telling me that bell-bottoms were comfortable. Some of you may still wear them today, and that's cool. They're just not for me.

I just posted this cover because I'm honestly not sure if Bermuda shorts were all the rage in the 1970s. The 1950s and 1960s, yes. But this post isn't really about the shorts. It's really about the pattern and colour. Reggie's blinding Bermudas could also be found on sweaters, vests, leisure suits (another popular trend of the 1970s), and trousers. For some reason, plaid was the new black when it came to trends in 1970s fashion. And, actually come to think of it, plaid was all the rage in the 1990s as the grunge movement really came into its own. And in the 2010s, I definitely think that plaid is making a comeback, as I'll readily admit to owning a pair of shorts almost similar to the ones that Reggie is wearing in this very cover!

And speaking of patterns, they weren't just limited to men's clothing. Check out this Betty and Me cover from 1971!

Again, this is just another example of wild prints becoming fashionable in the 1970s – paisley being another one – and how Betty's trousers weirdly match the rest of her ensemble.

Now this cover of Archie's Joke Book features quite a lot of fashion trends all rolled into one cover as we peer in on Archie and his pals at a disco party. And on a lighter note, it's nice to see Archie deliver a put down to Reggie once in a while.

Some of the fashion trends in this cover are ones we have already talked about (such as the lime green bell-bottomed pants that Betty is wearing in the background). But we're also seeing a couple of new fashion trends. Get a look at Reggie and Veronica dancing along to the music. You notice the shoes that both of them are wearing? Those shoes are known as platform shoes, and they made a brief comeback in the mid-1990s when the Spice Girls made them popular once again.

On a personal note, I am not really a fan of platform shoes. For one, they may have been the height of fashion back in the 1970s, but I just find them to be some of the ugliest looking shoes of all time. Not as ugly as Crocs, mind you, but ugly enough. And the second thing that I would hate about platform shoes is that with my general lack of balance, I would NEVER be able to walk in them. I would trip over my own feet and end up crashing into a bush.

Oh, and while we're on this cover, check out how short Veronica's skirt is! Miniskirts started becoming fashionable in the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 1970s that the fad really took off. For many men, the shorter the skirt, the more they drooled. And, yeah, I'll be the first to admit that had I been a teenager in the 1970s, I likely would have done the same. I'm human, right?

This Betty and Veronica cover also showcases how women's fashions of the 1970s became skimpier and briefer. Those bikinis that Betty and Veronica are wearing certainly don't leave much to the imagination, do they? Bikinis have been around since 1949, but when we first saw them introduced, they certainly didn't look like that! Now, on a purely scientific form, I would guess that bikinis became smaller because less fabric meant more agility when it came to swimming. After all, the less fabric a person is wearing, the less it slows you down...which is why we very rarely ever see someone swimming fully-clothed. Of course, just looking at how the bikinis were styled back then, I would hope that the gals tied the knots tightly!

Of course, this also meant that men's bathing suits also seemed to get skimpier over the years, resulting in the Speedo becoming popular during this time period. And, just for the record, you will never see me wearing a Speedo. Ever.

Another interesting thing to note about the cover is the flower that Veronica is wearing. I don't know whether that was strictly a 1970s thing, but it just seems to have that 1970s vibe about it. I don't know exactly.

This next cover is nice and pleasant with the gang dancing at a ski lodge party and OH MY GOD, REGGIE SHAVED HOT DOG AND MADE A VEST OUT OF HIM!

Well, not really. Reggie's just demonstrating the trend of fur being a real fashion statement during the 1970s, as he shows us in this cover. I honestly don't know what to say about this trend. I suppose if it were fake fur, I would find a way to rock the fur vest. If it were real fur, I don't think I could do it. I suppose you could call me pro-fake fur, and anti-real fur. If that makes any sense.

And finally, here's an “Everything's Archie” cover from the late 1970s, showcasing another seventies fad. I don't know what exactly triggered the western chic trend, but it seemed as though as we closed out the 1970s, people began to don cowboy hats, cowboy boots and western style kerchiefs out on the streets. I suppose that's where the term “urban cowboy” came into play. Mind you, this fashion trend lasted all the way into the early 1980s, but it sometimes makes a reappearance ever so often. And certainly for some celebrities like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert, the country-western look never really goes out of style!

As for me? I could wear the plaid shirts. I could rock a belt buckle the size of a baseball. I might even be persuaded to wear a ten-gallon hat. But my feet are WAY too big to squeeze into a cowboy boot. I would have to have them custom made, and who has the money to do that?

And that ends our look back on 1970s fashion as demonstrated by the Archie gang. I do hope that this entry was as creative as it was informative. I'll leave you now with one final cover.

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