3/17/14

Vintage Style #40: Partridge Family Fashions


The Partridge Family was on from 1970 to 1974, that nether-region between the brilliant day-glo fashions of the sixties and the funked out disco styles of the late seventies.  You might say that the clothing from this period is an "acquired taste". The Partridges provide an excellent glimpse into this wondrous period.  Let's have a look...




All it would take is a slight updraft, and I think Keith could literally take flight with that gigantic aerodynamic collar.  Also take note of his girl's attire:  a tight fitting short sleeved sweater over a long sleeved button down shirt with mismatched tie.  Nice.


Yep. The short sleeved sweater over the long sleeved button down collard shirt was definitely a "look" back then.


The stage uniforms were always the most flamboyant.  Taking a page from the Motown playbook, the Partridges often pimped out in concert.  Sure, they didn't hold a candle to The Jackson 5 or The Temptations, but they at least gave The Osmonds and The Cowsills a run for their money when it came to onstage flair.


This looks a little too much like Austin Powers for my taste.


Laurie wore some eye gougingly bad outfits throughout the course of the show.  These pants, while fairly popular back in the day, aren't the most flattering garments ever worn by a girl.

According to Susan Dey, she had a crush on David Cassidy the entire run of the show.  Perhaps this explains her stilted and wooden performance.  Look, I don't mean to bash Laurie Partridge, but she wasn't exactly the most interesting and dynamic Partridge.  She always seemed a tad nervous and self-aware.


Here, Susan has to sit close to David - do you detect a hint of discomfort?  The awkwardness is palpable.


From the "Picnic Tablecloth" fashion line.


See-through sleeves and a gargantuan ruffled collar all in lemon... what's not to like?


Quite possibly the tightest sweater ever worn on network television.


I'm not even going to go into Danny's wardrobe.  Basically Sears catalog attire at its worst.  It would warrant a post unto itself, but I don't think I have the inner resolve required to tackle something so repellent.

On a side note, I should mention that my favorite thing about The Partridge Family is far and away the interaction between Reuben and Danny.  Reuben can't stand kids, and Danny is beyond belligerent - seeing them play off of each other is actually pretty damn amusing.  I didn't care much for Danny back when I watched the show in the seventies, but as an old geezer, I actually appreciate what he brought to the show the most.


I'm not sure how to react to this one - laughter or awe.  It almost looks like a circus costume.

Shorts with tights/stockings is very unique look that I'm not sure has ever been in style before or after the early seventies.


Laurie's looks a little better.  Yet, she could still pass for a circus performer.



Words fail me.




Danny and Shirley's hair styles wen't off the deep end in the fourth and final season.


Partridge Mom's matching polka dot scarf is nice, but I much prefer this next outfit...


How did she end up in such a getup?  The Partridge clan was sprayed by a skunk, and so they had to grab what they could from the hotel they were stranded at.


I can't help but think there was a degree of gratuitous eye candy at work here.  Of all the outfits Ms. Partridge had to end up in - a burlesque performer?

Speaking of gratuitous Shirley Partridge eye candy...


Shirley meets the parents of a boy she hooks up with in college (it's a long story).  Norman Fell plays the sufficiently appalled dad.  Of course, it all turns out to be a big misunderstanding.....Which should be old hat for Fell who starred in a TV show about nothing but misunderstandings (in Three's Company, of course).


Leprechaun fashions never looked so good.

THE END



22 comments:

  1. As you said, a lot of circus costumes, but these shots capture the era more realistically than "American Hustle" does. Not much leg or cleavage but a metric shitload of plaid.

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    1. No idea what that means, but that period is rather famous for being extremely elegant, which is why it inspires designers so often. I really don't see how a wide collar is any woes then low rise skinnies. I happen to think that Laurie Partridge is one of the more well dressed tv personalities out there. Yes, fashion changes with times. that doesn't make what you wear right now "good". Its just right now. Actually, all of what she wore would be ahead of the curve right now. High waists are in, plaid is in. Short skirts are in, layering is in.

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    2. But still a wonderful era. Family shows were more family-oriented and respectful!

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  2. I'm sorry to say that David's wide-collared paisley shirts are now making a comeback on a certain BBC show... Its gotten bad enough that I wish the Top Gear producers could have a sit-down and honest discussion with 'the guys', and partake in a serious conversation which included the phrases "middle-aged", "pot-belly", "bad even in the day", "exceptionally unflattering", "you are not in Pink Floyd", and "not even David Cassidy could pull it off in his prime, so what are YOU thinking?"

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  3. I've always actually really like these styles!

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  4. I have long wondered about such things as the shopgirl's lime and ruffles outfit...or just WHAT a drum majorette was doing in a fancy hotel to be able to loan her outfit to Laurie? I'd say--her client probably paid extra for it.
    (and that's a cocktail waitress' uniform on Shirley)

    I hope you have read Shirley Jones' autobiography? She was getting her freak on when most people--even married ones--struggled to pass third base when not specifically baby making.

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  5. Three things:

    Top photo - Lose the ruffles and you've got a fairly acceptable superheroine costume.

    2) The term "button-down" when describing a shirt actually denotes a collar that has buttons at the corners to hold the collar down. None of the shirts on any of the Partridges (probably ever) would fit this description. Norman Fell might have been wearing one. But, none of those fly-away Condor-wings of collars are "button-downs."

    C) Funny how the burlesque costume seems to have lost a size or two between its original owner and Mrs. Partridge, unless, of course, alterations were written into the story. And, if all you need are clothes that don't stink, why do you need the hats?

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  6. Is it just me, or does Shirley Jones look absolutely hot in that hot pants w/boots outfit? Even with the ruffles! Very nice indeed.

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    1. Sorry; I guess they're more shorts than hot pants. Whatever you call what she's wearing in the 1st pic and the Norman Fell pics, she looks fine!

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    2. Hot pants *are* shorts - very short ones - so you were right the first time.

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    3. Ms. Jones could certainly rock those shorts! A Hot Mom indeed.

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  7. Nice post. I like these styles too. Way less boring than today.

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  8. Public Service Announcement: Shirley wore the green hot pants in "The Undergraduate" episode from season two, readily available on DVD on eBay or for free on YouTube.

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  9. That red/blue/green plaid thing Laurie's wearing is a skirt, not pants. I like the look.

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  10. I sometimes wondered why my mom wasn't as hot as Shirley Partridge.

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  11. Norman Fell's "wife" looks like Millie Helper from The Dick Van Dyke Show.

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  12. Actually I loved the fashion of that era (funny it didn't seem that ridiculous back then). It took real creativity and panache to be able to pull off those looks. Still the leprechaun green, short-short, jumpsuit was maybe a bit much - even for Shirley (quite possibly the hottest TV mom ever, you should do a post on that subject).

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  13. shirley partridge in red coat dress and long black boots...oooohhhhhh *rolls eyes dreamily*

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  14. I'd sniff Shirley Jones butt... when she was younger from the 1970s of course!

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    1. You'd probably be in diapers then and not know what that meant. Just saying.

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  15. When all my school pals back in the day had the hots for Marcia Brady, Mrs. Partridge was without question my number one fantasy.

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