A Conversation for The 1970s

Hair and Flares

Post 1

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)




FASHIONS

Whatever clothes guys wore in the 70's, whether you were straight or square you would have had more hair. Longer or bigger, but probably not shinier, because the days of the en-suite master bedroom were a long way off, and people just didn’t have showers every day. "Conditioner" was something from a psychology experiment. You weren’t faced with row upon row of scientifically formulated and controlled hair enhancement liquids because there wasn’t a supermarket on every street corner and your local chemist only had a limited selection. Shampoo choice was Silvikrin (too girly), Vosene (too medicinal and reminded you of the nit nurse at school), or huge plastic bottles of Palmolive (the student’s choice on economy grounds).
My own hair used to reach the middle of my back, and a mate’s afro filled his 2nd year University matriculation card photo so that the background colour couldn’t be seen. We didn’t know why we grew it; herd instinct was one reason, but maybe it was because the days of "Hair Design" rather than barber’s shops hadn’t arrived. You had boutiques, of course, but they were for girls. So you were left with the ex-Army type’s barber shop where there were yellowing photos of grinning guys in collars and ties who all looked older than your dad and sleazier than your sleaziest uncle. There were never pictures of people who looked like you or your mates. So you had to be careful what you asked for or you’d get a lot more than your split ends off. Even short hair was long hair - a bank worker’s haircut covered the ears and came over the back of the pointy collar of his purple shirt - so you’d be a damn fool to be any different. After all, what did all these people fight at Woodstock for? You didn’t want their sacrifice to have been in vain. But it used to drive me nuts when my long hair whipped into my eyes on windy days, or when the fan heater I used as a hair dryer (what, buy a hair dryer? They’re for GIRLS), would cut out from overheating long before my hair was dry. Nowadays I feel scruffy when my grey hair reaches the tops of my ears.

People think flares are cool today, but they forget they can choose whether to wear them. In the 70’s, at least until punk came along, you lived in your flares. From brushed denim jeans to loon pants to three-piece suits, EVERYTHING was flared. If they could have worked out how to do it with socks we’d have been wearing them flared too. I guess I hated flared trousers because there was no choice. But there was also the small matter of tripping over them going down stairs, or that they used to flap like a flag on a pole (a fair analogy given my legs) in a high wind, or that they doubled in weight when you walked along a wet street, or the way they they used to fray at the bottom in a matter of weeks. Plus, if you bought cool shoes, no one was ever going to see them underneath a foot of overhanging fabric. That’s why platforms had to be invented. For most of us, though, this wasn’t an issue, for despite what we thought then, there was nothing cool about desert boots or Clark’s Polyveldts. And if you wanted the toute ensemble, the essential top was a long-sleeved scoop-neck T-shirt with flared cuffs. If you could get one with embroidery and little inset mirrors, so much the better. Your "Head Shop" would help you out there, or suggest instead a cheesecloth shirt with about fifty buttons instead. Throw on a German Army great coat, or if your mum was buying, a duffle coat, and you could be studying engineering on a full Government grant at any university in the land. In my case, it was Edinburgh…



Hair and Flares

Post 2

charlie

Herrison
I agree with what you say,
but we all looked like pratts, we had to wear the uniform.
I actually hated long hair [not that it matters any more] but I wanted to fit in,
I would not dear to have short hair.
We all wore the uniform of the day, as did punks, new romantics, etc, etc.
As you mature you realise prehaps what a pillock you where, but do think that
young adaults today are doing exactly the same as you did.
I really wish that I could go back to those days, no mortgage, what sress ?.
When do you think you where happiest.
If you think I am a pratt I do not care.
Believe it or not I am a Professinal Person.
But I am still bad at spelling.




Hair and Flares

Post 3

whizjazzky

In the very early 70's I used to wear pretty tight rompers. Couple of years later they 've given me very ugly horn-rimmed glasses. One side of them (better eye side) was fixed up with a milky film to improve the powers of vision of the other eye with a nasty curvature of the cornea. What a silly strange looking!
In these days I've already started to realize how great that decade must have been! A decade of the funkiest music (remember War, Mandrill, Funkadelic, the JBs, the Godfather himself did some jamming) and a great time for upcoming fusion pop like Deodato (Also sprach Zarathustra & Super strut) and of course the Yankee Stadium Concert of the Fania All stars 1975.
People love to get high with that stuff. I'm enthusiastic about that!


Hair and Flares

Post 4

Cute Red Haired Girl (Medium for the comatosed DD)

I wasn't old enough to remember the 70's but some of the fashions in my parents wedding album are so funny didn't people colour co-ordinate back then?


Hair and Flares

Post 5

Nathan

Yes of course people color coordinated. There was a great system involving bunny rabbits printed on the labels of tops or bottoms. If the top had the same animal as the bottoms, the color suited. That just goes to show that there was no other way of telling which colors went together.


Hair and Flares

Post 6

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Hi folks.

Charlie: You're right, of course: despite thinking we were alternative, it was just a uniform. The great thing today is that you can pretty much wear what you like. Somewhere along the line the fashion industry lost its ability to dictate to us. You can be anonymous or individual now and no one else will bother like they used to in the 70's. As for being happiest, I think it's easy to look back and identify only the good bits of a particular time. You forget about (at least in Britain) endless workers' strikes, the oil crisis, which led to (even worse) the vinyl shortage, only three TV channels, which often closed before midnight, the near impossibility of making long-distance phone calls, the stranglehold of big brewers before Camra showed us what a decent pint should be like, not to mention any personal sh*t you might have had going on. Actually I reckon I'm happiest now....although I'm just waiting for it all to go wrong...

Whizjazzky (wasn't that the name of a 70's album...?): an' can I just add to your particular niche there: Sly Stone? and did you ever hear Osibisa?

Red: You think the clothes were un-coordinated? You should have seen the house interiors...!


Hair and Flares

Post 7

Luigi Mani

I don't agree with the comment about fashion not dictating to us anymore. It's just that we've become adults. Do you think children/teenagers today wear what they want ? They are just following their peers as we did before. I remember distinctly wanting my trousers to be as flared as possible towards the end of the 70's and then only a few years later getting my Mum to take them in again so that they were as tight as possible (when we got into the 80's new romantic/mod revival era).
As for hair, I don't remember really caring that much in the 70's but again the 80's changed that.


Hair and Flares

Post 8

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Hi Luigi.

No, that's a fair point - I'm sure today's kids would probably prefer not to waste all their energy hitting on their parents for the right trainers. But school in my day meant regulation uniform, so there wasn't any real clothes awareness there.

What I meant about fashion was that you didn't get a range of stuff from Gap to Hugo Boss to retro like you do now. You can be scruffy, casual, smart casual, pin sharp, or completely outlandish with impunity today. We didn't seem to have so much choice. I'll admit these are my personal observations, right enough.

The other thing I forgot to mention about flares was the straight leg jeans that got made into flares with the addition of a triangle of (usual floral) fabric. These always seemed to be worn by girls, presumably because there was still a vestige of making your own clothes. Now there's an activity that really has died out.


Hair and Flares

Post 9

Dinsdale Piranha

At my school in the early 70s, the uniform was:- A Harrington jacket, a Ben Sherman shirt, 'Tonik' Levi Sta-Prest, and Frank Wright loafers. You HAD to wear this or risk the wrath of older boys for being a poofter. It was only from about 1973 on that trousers made from about 4 square miles of fabric began to make an appearance, together with shirt collars so big that you glided if you fell over.

I think that, being older today, we are aware of different fashions for different age groups. But in those days when we were young and stupid, the possibility that people who weren't the same age as us would be interested in fashion was not considered.


Hair and Flares

Post 10

whizjazzky

Herrison, name is the program - while creating atmosphere (do you know identical tune of Funkadelic from the 'america eats its young'-album?) for the chicks. Similar album title could be 'Whiz kids' by Gary Burton, Makoto Ozone, Steve Swallow, Manfred Eicher, Tommy Smith, but it is from 1986. (see allmusic.com) I haven't heard Osibisa, but I'll go for it soon. I'll have to!


Hair and Flares

Post 11

jamin.r

I was 14 in 1975 (a good mid-point to start) and my memory of style was clearly that I had none. I mean the 60's had hardly reached my part of Scotland let alone the 70's. My abiding memory is of the incredibly unattractive clothing that the girls wore. Brown duffle coats and heavy thick-soled shoes gave them that shapeless look. On the other hand, I was just as bad. I mean I would try and look cool in a check pattern blanket coat (with fake brown fur collar) for heaven's sake.
Perhaps my most embarrassing fashion mistake was turning up to a Stranglers concert in Glasgow wearing a safari jacket with real leather elbow patches! Everyone else was wearing ripped T-shirts, drainpipe jeans and safety pins. Several women took old aluminium kettles with them as handbags.
I looked out an old photograph taken on a school holiday trip to Austria. There I am, flared stone-washed jeans, a 3 inch wide and tool-patterned leather belt, denim shirt open (revealing a white body best hidden)and(horror of horrors) a silver bullet on a chain round my neck and a steel identity bracelet.
Help, I am a child of the seventies!


Hair and Flares

Post 12

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

There IS no help for the generation that taste forgot, short of confessing your sins here, jamin smiley - smiley

BTW, what embarassing hair completed the look in this photograph?


Hair and Flares

Post 13

Nonametraveller

I think that the main differance with regards to the kids,is that then it was just fashion in the main ,whilst today ,having been thoroughly exloited,it is now "designer label" fashion.Having said that,certain groups had to have certain labels like ben sherman,crombies etc etc.Even then though money often dictated and alternative brands were accepted.
I would say that the parents of today have a better understanding of the perceived need for youngsters to be fashionable than those of yesterday.Which, of course is how the "designer Labels" get away with what they get away with.


Hair and Flares

Post 14

Nonametraveller

I think that the main differance with regards to the kids,is that then it was just fashion in the main ,whilst today ,having been thoroughly exloited,it is now "designer label" fashion.Having said that,certain groups had to have certain labels like ben sherman,crombies etc etc.Even then though money often dictated and alternative brands were accepted.
I would say that the parents of today have a better understanding of the perceived need for youngsters to be fashionable than those of yesterday.Which, of course is how the "designer Labels" get away with what they get away with.


Hair and Flares

Post 15

Nonametraveller

I think that the main differance with regards to the kids,is that then it was just fashion in the main ,whilst today ,having been thoroughly exploited,it is now "designer label" fashion.Having said that,certain groups had to have certain labels like ben sherman,crombies etc etc.Even then though money often dictated and alternative brands were accepted.
I would say that the parents of today have a better understanding of the perceived need for youngsters to be fashionable than those of yesterday.Which, of course is how the "designer Labels" get away with what they get away with.


Hair and Flares

Post 16

Nonametraveller

I think that the main differance with regards to the kids,is that then it was just fashion in the main ,whilst today ,having been thoroughly exploited,it is now "designer label" fashion.Having said that,certain groups had to have certain labels like ben sherman,crombies etc etc.Even then though money often dictated and alternative brands were accepted.
I would say that the parents of today have a better understanding of the perceived need for youngsters to be fashionable than those of yesterday.Which, of course is how the "designer Labels" get away with what they get away with.


Hair and Flares

Post 17

SPINY (aka Ship's Cook)

Yes...well...you'll know next time, Noname... smiley - smiley

When there's a lot of people logged in to h2g2, it's slow to respond back to you, though it's already accepted your submission, I've found. So in frustration you tend to click until something happens, but each click is a submission. Never mind: I don't know how big the servers are, but they haven't thrown anything away in a year of rambling by 40,000 people.

Which reminds me - back in the 70's we had a computer system which could be accessed at any time from several terminals all over the University, and which would print its response back on a teleprinter like you used to get the football results on the telly on a Saturday night from. The machinery to perform this marvellous hi-tech feat lived in a hall the size of a tennis court. I recently found out that it boasted the then unbeleivable memory capacity of....64kB.


Hair and Flares

Post 18

Nonametraveller

Huh???....i thought to myself,what is this dude on about...yeah man...he was definately there back then scramblin' his brains along with ziggy and one or two others...(not to mention lil ole me)

then i scrolled back...oooooppsss....lol...

Seriously though ,doesn't it drive you bonkers sometimes...


Hair and Flares

Post 19

Nonametraveller

Huh???....i thought to myself,what is this dude on about...yeah man...he was definately there back then scramblin' his brains along with ziggy and one or two others...(not to mention lil ole me)

then i scrolled back...oooooppsss....lol...

Seriously though ,doesn't it drive you bonkers sometimes...


Hair and Flares

Post 20

The_Poet

Ah yes, back in those days the teleprinter with its access to the mainframe was kept in a locked room at the back of the Department where only the technician had the key. Only bribes of free beer or sex could extract it (depending on sexual preference of course) and even then you were faced with the daunting task of remembering the ridiculous operating system commands to get anywhere. Access to well used statistical packages was by appointment!

And yet I remember that my password was ZaPHoD. How quaint!


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