Catalogs #32: 1979 Sears Junior Fashions

Is the girl on the right forty years old? No, she's probably twelve.... young girls just dressed like older women in 1979.

I've scanned a few pages from the 1979 Sears Catalog - focusing on the junior girls section. Perhaps it wasn't the high water mark in the history of fashion, but it's still an interesting tour through what was hanging on racks when Mork and Shaun Cassidy were kings.

Speaking of Mork and Shaun.....

Click here to see the full catalog page.  Do you find it a tiny bit odd that they are marketing the Mork shirt and pants to girls?

It wasn't long before '79 that iron-ons became popular.  Before then, t-shirts didn't feature a picture or design..... ever.  When the director of Mad Men wanted Draper's wife to wear a Disneyland t-shirt, he found they didn't make them in 1968.  So, then he looked for any t-shirt with a picture on it, and  came up empty.  Finally, he found a photograph of Sharon Tate in a t-shirt with a star on it, so he went with that.

This is inconceivable nowadays where every t-shirt is a walking advertisement (or worse, a self-declaration of uber coolness with something "ironic" on the front).

Do we really need to see her butt?  I mean, I know it was all about the pockets back then, but there's nothing there.  1979-1980 was a very un-feminine time in fashion, as you'll see in several of these pages.  I'm not saying they looked boyish, I mean they weren't flattering in a feminine way (if that makes sense).

I was going to include the boys pages in this post, but (1) they weren't very interesting - mainly NFL team logos and lots of velour, and mainly (2) the pages were primarily just the clothes, with little in the way of boys modeling the merchandise.  That's not near as fun to me.

Did it really just say "lively"?  These could have been worn on Little House on the Prairie.  "Lively" wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind.

I promise this is the last time I'll say it, but damn these clothes made girls look old!  And say what you want about velour, nothing beat swishing your hands up and down the fabric.  Made for hours of enjoyment in the classroom.

High waisted slacks.  Yep.  Fashion had seen better days.

I could be wrong, but I think that's Phoebe Cates.

The girl on the right has the Kristy McNichol hairstyle down.  Bravo.

Everyone's looking in different directions, and only one is looking at the camera.  Odd.  Adorable, but odd.

And we've come full circle back to Mork & Shaun.  Seems like a good place to stop.  Nanoo, nanoo.


  1. Yep! That is Phoebe Cates. When I first switched over to a retro blog, I posted scans from a Seventeen magazine from the same time of Phoebe Cates modeling back to school clothes. I entitled it "Boring Back To School Clothes That Phoebe Cates Can't Even Make Sexy."

    If you want a post to get several hits per week, put the words "Phoebe Cates" and "sexy" in the title.

  2. "High waisted slacks. Yep. Fashion had seen better days."

    Better than low-rise jeans. Or maybe I'm the only one who doesn't like those. :p

    1. Oh I HATE those. I don't know why women buy them. They're horribly uncomfortable. (I got one pair by accident. I didn't know they were low rise. I just wanted them because they had flares.) And the majority of women who wear them shouldn't or wear them too small.

      I once saw a woman who probably in reality weighed 110 pounds, maybe 115. She wore low-rise jeans two sizes too small that made a muffin top out of what was in reality a thin body. On top of that she had a paisley print tramp stamp on that roll. So it looked three times bigger than it was. I wanted to go up to her and said, "Lady, you'd look like a super model if you'd just wear jeans that fit and get rid of that tattoo" but mom would've killed me.

    2. Me too. Most chicks can't pull them off because of the muffin top. I also hate all the crap they put all over them these days; the rhinestones, studs, and thick stitching. That shit's gonna scratch somebody's car!

    3. Plumbers jeans, all they are cracked up to be. :-!

  3. I remember thinking I was so freakin' cool with my Shaun Cassidy t-shirt and white painter's pants (remember when those were in?) Same with my velour shirt - thought I was hot stuff for sure at around 11 years old. Thanks for the cool Mad Men tid-bit.

  4. Can you believe Phoebe turned 50 last month? Her husband Kevin is 65. He kinda robbed the cradle. I hated those high waisted slacks. I was more partial to hip huggers, not the low riders that are in these days. Nick

  5. No wonder my sister looks so awful in all those family pictures!

  6. Those aren't high-waisted pants. The pants everyone wears today are low-waisted. And it's not so much that 12-year-olds looked like 40-year-olds in 1979. It's that most 40-year-olds today dress like they're 7.

  7. That on the green dress, isn't she the girl from the A-Team?

  8. It always annoys me when people call those pants "high waisted" because... that's actually where a person's waist really is. Not down around your pelvic bone.

  9. Also, the little blonde girl in the Snoopy PJs -- isn't that Heather O'Roarke from Poltergeist?

  10. I was 9 back then and I loooved velour tops and those pretty print sweaters because they seemed sophisticated and made me feel grown up. Slightly off topic, some of those child models are now being preyed upon by the AARP.

  11. That's because T-shirts and "wifebeater" undershirts used to be considered UNDERWEAR.

  12. I was 12 in 1979 and can verify this is certainly what the stylish girls in sixth grade wore on school picture day, etc. (By 1981 it was blue jeans at school almost every single day.)

    I had a sky-blue T-shirt with that exact same picture of Mork as the girl in the last picture. Memories ...

  13. The girl in the picture below the Cates picture is Melinda Culea of the A-Team.

  14. In winter of 1982, I invited a young woman to join some friends and me at THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. She was eager to join us, but showed up in buttercup-yellow overalls. I took her to bed, but not Rocky Horror.

  15. You COULD get t-shirts with printed images on them (see link below) for decades before 1979...

    I assume you meant ADULTS couldn't get t-shirts and clothing with non iron-on images on them...

    Al Bigley


  16. This has reminded me of when I was 15, mid 1970's, and a friend of mine had very, very, big tits.
    One day she wore a tight t-shirt with a pop idol on it. I looked down at her chest and said, "I don't remember Donny Osmond being that shape". She playfully hit me. Victoria I wish I had asked you out.