40 Cringeworthy Men’s Fashion Ads From the 70s

Let’s face it — men’s fashion is mostly quite sober these days. But not so in the roaring 70s, when it was positively out there.

#1. Groovy, baby!


Bored Panda

#2. Is it Robin Hood, or one of his Merry Men?


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#3. Perfection.


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#4. It was all about the prints.


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#5. “Striking” is an understatement.


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#6. These onesies are EVERYTHING.


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#7. I’m afraid to ask why “horizontal opening” matters.


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#8. For those days when hands are superfluous.


Messy Nessy Chic

#9. The dad bod was already a thing back then.


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#10. It’s so hard to cut these guys some slack.


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#11. Please God, let there be shorts under that thing.


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#12. “I have a chicken and I’m not afraid to use it!”


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#13. The biker thug life.


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#14. Ahoy there, matey.


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#15. When playing badminton, be sure to dress accordingly.


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#16. Style runs in the family.


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#17. Because one must always have the appropriate head gear to go with one’s outfit.


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#18. Comfort is key.


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#19. It kind of makes you wonder what they’re stepping out of.


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#20. The higher the waistline, the cooler the man.


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#21. Belted sweaters for men are still waiting for a comeback.


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#22. Hey, Mr Fancy Pants.


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#23. Matching sheep are optional.


Etsy

#24. Shades of Freddie Mercury.


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#25. Gender-bending sleepwear for the discerning gent.


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#26. Skintight keeps the bros tight.


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#27. “Funtawear.” LOL.


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#28. This magazine has a highly specialized niche, so it seems.


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#29. Back when snuggies were actually snug.


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#30. The stuff that dreams (or nightmares) are made of.


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#31. Bellbottoms. Enough said.


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#32. We love a man jogging in Daisy Dukes.


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#33. Square pockets, yo.


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#34. Tucked in for that seamless look.


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#35. A vision in polyester.


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#36. So much flare.


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#37. It’s the Austin Powers look.


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#38. More like, worst of the vests.


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#39. Shiny leotards are shiny.


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#40. The writing is just as good (or bad) as the clothes.


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304 Comments

  1. Nice job stealing your content from reddit shamelessly

    • Wait… You mean everything on the Internet can only be found in one place and nowhere else?

  2. I can’t believe people actually wore this stuff in the 1970’s! And even worse, thought it looked good! Sheesh!

    • Oh man that Leisure Suit was IT back in the day,we used to call guy’s who wore this crap Lester Polyester!

    • Phillip Perkins Hey, if leisure suits were good enough for Steve Austin they were good enough for me!

    • Joseph Oliver Grabon My name is Steve Austen, and I wouldn’t have been seen dead in a leisure suit.

    • Steve Annesley Austen Too bad. You’d have looked like (six) million dollars.

    • Maybe they were blind, and their friends dressed them, and it was April Fools Day?

    • Joseph Oliver Grabon AND they were good enough for my dad up until the day he died–in May of 2001. :-p

    • Steve Annesley Austen steve austin is the main character in the tv show
      the six million dollar man, he wore leasure suits all the time and looked
      great, in real life he was married to Farrah Fawcette

    • Dennis
      They didn’t really wear this stuff. Some of the silhouettes such as were legs etc. we’re, indeed, popular. But, it was there and NEVER saw anyone wearing most of this stuff. Especially not the crocheted stuff. These photos must have been taken from specialty catalogues like Ah Men! Or something.

    • To be fair, this was ‘cutting edge’ fashion and like the crap you see on the runway models … NO ONE in real life actually dressed like this. Sure you saw ‘some’ folks in movies and TV shows, but check out television shows from the time period. Most folks didn’t dress like that. These were ‘fashion statements’.

    • Victor Stull despite having lived in Africa my whole life, I am aware of who Steve Austin is. The series was aired on local television channels here in the late 70’s and 80’s, except it was dubbed into a local creole language called Afrikaans, and was called Die Man Staal (The Man of Steel). In this time I dated a lady at work who’s name was Linda Wagner – who was the The Bionic Woman. It was a standing joke in the office, The Man of Steel dating The Bionic Woman, and a whole lot of ragging of the two us took place. And in the new millenium, Steve Austin is plain Stone Cold.

    • Peggy A Gordon Haha I still play that game 😀 😀 😀 when someone mentioned Leisure Suits I immediately thought of Larry 😀

    • THIS will people think in 10 years about these awful baggypants where you can see half the ass in underwear or worse…

  3. I was in my 20’s in the 70’s I wouldn’t have worn anything I saw in this batch…

  4. I remember the 70s..but do not remember any of these fashions….those knit sweaters???????

    • Then you’re lucky! I most certainly do and when my Mom discovered patterns, she had this nack for using her Brother sewing machine and pumped out god aweful outfits, matching, uber tacky outfits for myself, little brother and oh yes, Dad to wear. She said they looked “nice” and we thought otherwise. I don’t miss the 70’s and fashion in that era, I do hope I do not see guys, wearing a belted sweater!

    • Krystoffer A Viau My mom did the same to my sister and I! I would stay in the car if we went anywhere!

    • I’m with you Marlaine.. I was looking at those sweaters and thinking .. ” I DO NOT remember any of those “…

    • Krystoffer A Viau Now I get where the punks came from 🙂

    • I remember the knit sweaters, the belted ones, but on GIRLS

    • Krystoffer A Viau That’s what I thought. All these knit sweaters look like covers off of some dreadful Sprouse Reitz pattern book.

    • All those awful sweaters were knitting patterns you could buy. Yew, even the one with the matching cap, and OMG the PONCHOS,

    • I f you notice some of the pricing, those ads are from othere countries.

    • Krystoffer A Viau – sincere condolences! I hope you have recovered from the trauma! lol

    • i had the sweaters.,similar to the one with the rainbow stripe but it was more of a rainbow “turtle neck”thing on a gross blue sweater lol.

    • Janet Bland Smith Some of it looks right, but I never in my life saw a man in a crocheted poncho. And the shiny satiny stuff wasn’t there in those years. I grew up in Colorado, so it was all jeans and T shirts. And then tie dyed and love beads. I guess we just weren’t cool enough. lol

    • What up with that, I am the Mom!!!!! LOL, and I made a whole suit out of that stretch knit fabric for my husband. I had a lot of patterns too and made stretch knit suits for my sons. Hmmmm, I wonder if I damaged their self esteem in any way. I better check in and see, guys. LOL

  5. if I look hard enough i can find # 21 and # 28 in my stash somewhere

  6. yeesharoonie – 99% of this stuff is so mind-numbingly unacceptable – what’s with the neckerchief thingie? Soooo Mister Furley.

  7. Wow, lmao……some of these styles were just uncalled for!

  8. And jeans with the crutch hanging around the knees and showing a bum crack is good?

    • Ugh! My worst pet hate. Do these guys know what they look like from behind??

  9. Ahhhh. The good old days. They don’t dress men like that any more. Sigh.

    • Michael Alberts yes, Aaron is the winner, but it was more than just the coke, rememer these cat’s where all on acid ten years prior.

    • I did cocaine back then and LSD prior to and during that era,yet never wore anything on this page 😛 B|

    • As Bill Cosby will have us believe, Quaalude was the drug of that decade.

    • Juan Pablo Noroña – Having lived through that era, I’d have to say it depended on the ‘high’ you were looking for. Cocaine = ‘an upper’, Quaaludes = ‘downers’.

    • LOL – whereas I did no drugs at all in the 70s and wore at least 3 of these outfits (No, I’m not saying which 3 they were)

    • Juan Pablo Noroña Disco bisquits ” Quaaludes” were the drug from 72 to 78. takes the edge off coke.

    • I almost just choked on my tea seeing this as the first reply. Bravo, my friend. You do indeed win the internet.

    • JohnWalter HindesThree EcoArtist There is no way anyone on acid would have come up with fashion like that. Trust me on this.

    • Aaron Smith the teens to 40 somethings these days all use cocaine, meth, and heroine. Now they just dress like neo hipsters, wanabe Bettie Page Goth trash, or gutten scum all covered in 100 tattoos. I know they think they are fashion plates of the 1960s but they look like nothings to me. The 80s had bad fashion also, but at least people knew how to wear a proper suit.

    • Melanie Rose Dains what does meth do, I am sure you know. Neo retro or grunge?

  10. I remember the best of vests by Patons – wanted to knit the one on the older man on the right .. but lacked the skill

  11. I can’t believe I survived. Thank God we were tight on money but not in pants.

  12. I’m not seeing much that I wouldn’t gladly wear. The sweaters on the kids are SICK! I need this!

    • Eddie Wolff-Land I think all I wouldn’t wear would be the belt-sweaters. I’d rock the shit out of everything else

  13. I would rather see these than some of the clothing people wear today!

  14. Now i realize why they ended “Mad Men” before it came to this. Picture Don Draper in any of these outfits…

    • I think he would have been “man enough” for the jumpsuit in #40 (read the description LOL)

    • Sandy Fitzgerald Is that Zach Gallifinakis in that jumpsuit…

    • My Dad was an Art Director in the sixties and seventies and never wore anything remotely resembling any of this; your visions of Don Draper are safe.

    • Jumpsuit but no mustache. There’s where i draw the line.

  15. Speaking as someone who’s essentially been a pullover-shirt-and-slacks guy since I was allowed to pick my own clothes, I gotta wonder what people 40 years down the line will say about the current “fashion forward” stuff. Still — at least two of those outfits look to have been directly inspired by original “Star Trek” guest aliens.

  16. In the days when I was young and refused to wear my glasses. Thank goodness.

  17. I don’t think any amount will be enough to pay a man to wear any of this! lol

  18. i’m sure alot of guys took the catalogues to their grandmothers and said ‘can you knit me one of these for christmas?.
    the guys in #23 don’t seem too happy…..guess they didn’t like the sheep they were ‘matched’ up with

  19. I lived in California and I remember some of those outfits!

  20. Proof positive that the 1970s were so much cooler than nowadays.

  21. omg my brother and sister and I all had those zodiac pants!!!!

  22. And back then they thought my long hair,earring,worn out jeans & bare feet were weird…………..Geeez!

  23. wonders if one of the models in #39 is porn model Gordon Grant?

    • That’s funny. At first quick scroll I thought #40 was Ron Jeremy LOL Then I scrolled back. I do believe this may have been before his time.

    • Trish Elaine Ron Jeremy has walked among us since the dawn of man.

  24. dont remember any one I know who wore any of those clothes the closest were the bell bottoms,

  25. I am signing up for crochet lessons immediately!

  26. Sporting the Run DMC shoes upgraded that look and made it cool, LOL

  27. #15 .. It’s a squash racquet. Not badminton at all….

  28. The 70’s was the result of my generation starting swinging London in the 60’s, we burned out and the accountants moved in to make money from fashion. Thank god I was drunk throughout that ghastly period.

  29. Nice list, although #14 is printed next to other adverts with website addresses. Don’t be scared to make a list of 39 things. Throwing in an ad from your Sunday paper just to make the number up to 40 ruins the integrity of your entire article. Otherwise very funny 🙂

  30. #14 is not from the 70s. There’s a web address in the ad to the right

  31. I am having some BAD flashbacks! Yikes is all I can say………………..

  32. I love all of these ensembles !! Especially the belted sweaters !!

    • Oddly enough, in #39 the model in the red pants on the right side is Colt model and gay porn star Gordon Grant.

  33. Cocaine was the 80’s. The sweaters are from a knitting or crocheting booklet. This is what happened when “hippie” went main street, when mom bought white pattened knee high go-go boots and dad procured a white belt and matching shoes. Really hilarious!

  34. im just gonna put it out there and say some of this shit is actually awesome. And in many ways some of this is actually coming back into fashion. Wanna bet someone in the future will look at current trends and go what the fuck as well.

  35. I am remembering that time in my life.. It makes me sick to my stomach to look at those fashions and think they were the “IN” thing then. Knit sweaters??? Never saw that back then but I didn’t live in an area where that took place. I’m from the back woods of the hills. lol

  36. some of these look like they are from International Male catelog…don’t ask me how I know

    • Well…at least a handful of these images are taken from the “Ah-Men” line which was the earlier incarnation of Int’l Male.

  37. Shades of homophobia, sexism & racism.
    And that’s just the 2015 titles added to these photos !

  38. LMAO…#13 Biker Thug Life…..We used to rob people that looked like that…Down at the Disco….Thank goodness for Levi’s, and black t-shirts…

  39. I must admit that I wore 60% of these outfits in high school

  40. its funny how they show the same thing in different colors,,, like that matters! lol

  41. I still dig the hairstyles & mustaches. I should cause the 2nd guy in #29 looks a lot like my BF back when he had a stache. LOL

  42. All the guys in the plate on the right in #39 were gay porn stars. More than coincidence?

  43. someone please explain #27, what is the picture on the front of his Runtawear?

    • it sort of looks like a chicken foot unzipping a zipper…….

    • I ment to type Funtawear not Runtawear.

    • It’s a hand pulling down the front of the underwear, but the (tacky) effect is ruined by the wastband being white.

    • “I look SO badass!” And we were right…in a not good sense. GAH!

  44. lmao, i wanna say something but i am afraid to say it.

  45. While the average Joe wore some pretty hokey clothes in the 70s, it wasn’t nearly this bad. These are mostly catalog and fashion magazine images. Extremes. There were some catalogs with icky clothes like this back in the 70s, but you rarely saw someone walking around dressed quite like any of these pictures. Of course bell bottoms were a big deal, as were men’s shirts that were very blousey, but you just never saw anyone dressed like, say, the two guys in the right panel of #20, If anyone dressed like that they’d wake up suspended upside down from the school flag pole. Look at a few yearbooks from the 70s (you can find random ones online) and you’ll see.

  46. 36 and 37 are gorgeous. Id love to see men wearing that kind of clothing. for real!

  47. I’ve pinpointed where it all went horribly wrong.It’s the knit turtle neck gaucho. There’s no hope of recovery.

  48. The did not have packages, now look at David Beckham and his package modeling underwear, big difference. Pun intended 🙂

  49. To be fair, I remember the ’70s, and while it was, indeed, the Taste-Free Decade, the vast majority of men weren’t dressed *this* terrifyingly.

  50. I noticed that one of the ads was priced in lbs. I think perhaps the Brits wore some of this?? Let me just say, none of the guys I knew wore ANY of this!! Especially the onesie thing. Guys in the NW wore jeans even back then. They didn’t dress “fancy” like these guys. These are all catalog pics, maybe NOBODY actually bought and wore a lot of th stuff. I have never seen a belted sweater on a man. Just sayin’….

  51. ..most of the “stuff” is from one catalogue …in the very early 70’s..(.the knit stuff)…only people from outta’ town dressed this way… cuz they thought it was fashion…..NOBODY in studio 54 looked like this…nobody on coke EVER dressed in this stuff….only a coupla’ wanna be pimps on 2nd ave in front of a bar named brownies on the upper east-side….

  52. No. 14 is far more recent…unless the world wide web was around in the 1970s

  53. Aaaugh! My eyes! My eyes! I was definitely present for the ’70s, but if I ever saw any of these abominations, my mind has mercifully blanked the memory out …

  54. Hey, I know these fashions were indeed hideous. At least back in those days; we were not forced to see men with pants sagging to their knees and butt cracks smiling at us…

  55. Chanel gowns still classy from the 1930’s to today, just keep it classy and timeless….. And yes i wore some of that tacky clothes once, I donated it to the goodwill I am sure someone is wearing them now…

  56. Yeah, crotch level saggerz are better?

    Please. Every generation has its suck. At least platforms never showed asscrack.

    So? The 70’s were gayer than now. That’s something to be proud of.

  57. Back then men weren’t terrified of experimenting with something other than the manly role. But now it’s back to all the old stupid uniforms of the corporate/bureaucrat world, the military, the sports team, the lumber jack/slackers or whatever. Or it’s “I have to cut off my dick and become a woman because I like interesting clothes!!”

  58. Now that I have spent some time, I can’t imagine why the “onesies,” near the top, were on sale.

  59. I recognize a lot of this stuff. I think I had some of the shirts. argh ! ! ! And maybe a leizure suit or two. Madness ! ! ! !

  60. I want a lot of these clothes…except the leotards. If I wanted my nuts and berries crunched like that, I’d just go back to briefs. I wish real bellbottoms would make a comeback, along with paisley shirts. I actually have some of these clothes…my parents were in their 20s and 30s in the 70s, and my Dad saved some of his stuff. No belted sweaters though.

  61. I wonder why all those men come across as gay….

  62. I was young in the 70’s. I met a lot of men with or without a their clothes on. I never saw one dresses like these persons

  63. Can’t believe people actually wore this stuff – YUCK

  64. #14 is next to an ad with a web address. Pretty sure they didn’t have the internet in the 1970’s. Completely ruins the credibility of the OP.

  65. Sweet Jesus!! Don’t no what I love more, the sexy Harry high pants look or the sweats the nans have made at age concern!

  66. Not being funny but at least men’s style actually existed then. Now its just jeans and some shit tshirt that cost £150 and the same crap white Nikes everyone else owns

  67. I have to say I really don’t mind the daisy dukes on guys at all. Never have liked the baggy basketball shorts or the plaid shorts to the knees. Other than that, I never saw men dress like any of these pics. Where are the jeans and henleys?

  68. Sorry Aaron – very few people were on coke then – that came a few years later.Hash, LSD, speed, but only certain very rich circles were on coke. Some of the fashions were not too bad. But I wouldn’t wear the poncho my mum crocheted for me in this day and age!

  69. We called that the 70s … I think I shopped from some of those catalogs back in the day

    • Love the big prints and the bell bottoms … wish I could find some of these today!

  70. #14 isn’t even from the 70s! At that price and with an 01264 number it cant be any older than 2000… But the others are pretty dang vile, right enough!!

  71. The bellbottoms absolutely don’t shock me. Actually I find them very beautiful when they’re not too fancy. High-waisted jeans on men can be quite sexy, I think (just look at the four members of Queen, they looked so damn good in them!)

  72. To think that I aspired to those styles as a teenager , fortunately I never had enough money then lol 🙂

  73. about 90% of these are British fashion, Some for disco. I noticed 3 that I actually saw people wearing in the 70’s.

  74. I grew up in the 70’s is it any surprise my generation don’t want to go clothes shopping?

  75. I also think if I had seen my Father dressed like this I would have killed my Mother for allowing it…

  76. I wonder if the characters of Ron Burgundy and Brian Fontana were modeled off of these ads. There are two people here who actually do look like Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd.

  77. I remember the 70s too ,and any place I’ve ever been in never had stuff like this … And If it did I wouldnt have bought it anyways .. Lol

  78. Nobody looked good in the 70s. I said at the time that we were all going to regret it.

  79. Whoa, whoa, whoa, #14 is totally not from the ’70s – there’s a web address on the advert next to it. 😉

    That said, this is a great assortment of clothes I would gladly keep in my closet and only break out when I wanted my company to leave. Thank you.

  80. Those guys are soooooo cool lookin’… but then again, my younger sister say I’ve got weird, *WEIRD* taste in clothing.

  81. Geweldig ik heb genoten van die mannen en hun kleding uit een ver verleden

  82. I am probably the only one that wants some of these styles back 😐 NO SHAME

  83. Some of these styles are from the 60s. We make fun of the styles from 40 years ago; I wonder what they’ll be saying about our style 40 years from now.

  84. sobriety is for robots. men’s clothes today are normatizing, oppressive and boring. I would love to wear a lot of the clothes on those photos.

  85. Keep in mind fashion trends tend to repeat themselves. Hopefully this is one it skips

  86. Kids are sagging today in direct rebellion to these high waist short short shorts!

  87. How did any man wearing these ‘clothes’ ever get a date?

  88. Uh………just who EVER wore anything like that back then, unless it was some PIMP!

  89. A lot of it was great in that it was origional, something mens fashion hasn’t seen in at least twenty years

  90. #14 is not 70s, is recent! The add on the right has a website!

  91. What a fun flashback
    What was with all the crafty knits? Beyond Fugly

  92. Great fun- need to remove 14 though-deffo not 70’s- too dear and there’s an interweb address next to it

  93. Ppl claming so much about their fathers….but what do they know ? LOL

  94. “#6. These onesies are EVERYTHING.” you would have to get completely undressed to do Number TWO’S !

  95. The one with the chicken wasn’t that bad. Except for the chicken.

  96. There are a lot of men in underwear here and they didn’t have photoshop. I felt like I was looking at a porn mag with some of those. Now I need to shower.

  97. Oh Dear,, I don’t remember it being that bad. HAHA….

  98. Too funny. #13 with the chicken looks like the reporter John Stossel.

  99. I think some of these guys were shopping at Target. And the girl in the last photo appears to have lost it.

  100. #10 “Slack Power” as opposed to “Black Power” LOL so silly

    • and those underwear the girl is wearing in #27 “funtawear” looks like her pad with wings bled through, and the guy next to her experienced epic tampon fail lol :p

  101. #14 is from at least 1995 as the advert to the side has a ’01’ phone prefix……..

  102. Over 700 million Polyesters were killed in making those outfits. The carnage was dreadful

  103. Those briefs make men look like 6-year olds, no matter how well endowed they are! Awlful! The rest is pretty Funky… dig it?

  104. I do not remember any belted sweaters (OMG…who thought those up?) or really ugly knitted vests. Bells were popular, printed shirts were worn, but mostly solid colors ( it was the dawn of color for men…instead of white and pale blue). Ties were ridiculously wide.

  105. Cringeworthy, indeed. And yet, I’d argue that the clothes of the era (and the advertising that supported them) made men’s (mostly straight) sexuality more explicit than any time before or since.

  106. I am so thankful that NO ONE EVER wore this stuff around me. It just kept getting worse…..

  107. Hmm….where was I during this fashion period? I must have been too busy being a nerd to notice.

  108. Haute Fromage! It’s starting to make me sick — and yet I can’t look away… And an ad for pants that alludes to John Donne? Be still my heart!!

  109. Oh my gosh. This is the funniest stuff ever. Did grown men really wear onesies?

  110. hahaha i remember the 70s there were some pretty tacky clothes but great times

  111. #10 the photo on the right. I’d eat him for breakfast lunch and dinner. Pants and all.

  112. I like the onesies. Don’t care for the afghan crocheted shawls !! I would be looking for my great aunt under them !

  113. This was nothing more than Catalogs and Men’s Catalogs. Men did not wear these clothes in real life. Fantasy is a part of life. Some have more than others.

  114. No. 14 is NOT from the 70s … if it was, it wouldn’t have a URL in the ad next to it 😛

  115. Wow, what was wrong with the 70’s????? It’s amazing people didn’t burst into flames wearing all that synthetic fabric!

  116. I always had the “Shaft” theme song in my head when I was stylin with these threads!…

  117. the page on number 14 has a website-don’t remember that from the 70’s (or 30 quid for a nightshirt and five quid postage)

  118. I remember some of those clothes.
    But must were worn by the local pimps.

  119. Thanks for the bad memories.
    Suspect most of these men are dead.
    Died of embarrassment.

  120. No 14 is not 70s, the phone number indicates it’s post 1995. Ha. Doing a LOL.

  121. AHHH! The good ol’ days when men dressed sexy and sported hair on their heads! LOL!

  122. Number 14: 30 quid for a nightshirt? In today’s money that’s over 200 pounds. For a stripey nightshirt

  123. Apparently, judging by these photos, men did not posess penises in the 70s.

  124. The scariest part is that someone (or a lot of people) thought this crap was really cool.

  125. It was a different era and relitive. One day people will look at us and make fun of what we wear or look like.

  126. I shopped at “Ah Men” they had a lot of fun things for men to wear.

  127. ah.. the days where men and women were treated the same in advertisement. Until men chose to be respectable only and then disrespect women even more. I will say that I do like a lot of these outfits though. Very Kewl.

  128. I was a small child in the 70s but I don’t remember any of the men around me dressing this way. This was crazy catalog crap.

  129. A lot of wierd stuff. We did not wear any of it in Lac L Biche.

  130. I don’t remember anybody I knew in the 70’s that wore that stuff. Well maybe one guy.