Celebrate Christmas Like It's 1985

Saturday, November 26, 2011
It's that time of year again--time to scour through scans of old department store "wish book" catalogs. The holidays wouldn't be the same without taking a look back at what we used to ask Santa for, and this time we're cranking up "Do They Know It's Christmastime" and visiting the 1985 Sears Wish Book. Let's have some fun...

The oversized shirt with a belt or vest was the quintessential 80s outfit for women. Who else wore stirrup pants? I had at least two pairs and found the elastic on the bottom of my feet to be kind of irritating. They were also fleece lined and got static cling constantly. The handprint sweater is just plain hideous.
I was wondering why the fuschia and black sweater above looked familiar to me--it's because I owned one, or one very similar to it! 1985 was also apparently the year of the hair bow--so far three of the photos above feature a model with a bow or lace in her hair. The gigantic sweater with the hand paint prints all over it is hideous.
Teddy bears were another common them for women's sweaters; I don't know why--it certainly doesn't make the unflattering shape any sexier. 
There's something about the fur jackets, hair, and makeup that make these models look like working girls...in the traditional sense of the word. 

1985 called, and would like its hair gel ba--oh, wait. It IS 1985!
Mary Lou, think of the children, and cover that crotch up with a pair of parachute pants!
Admit it, what boy didn't have a pair of He-Man underoos during this decade?
I believe the dude on the left is sporting what was known as the "poor man's Miami Vice look."
It's nice to see that the matching "his and her clothing" trend so prevalent during the 70s hung in there for a few more years. Unfortunately, matching his and hers banana hair clips weren't available.

Looking for some gift ideas? How about a tanning lamp, exercise bike, walkman, boom box or big ass stereo?
Gotta love the 80s!


  1. Fun post! The Sears Christmas Wish Book has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. Such fun waiting for it to arrive in the post. Oh those 80s styles! I think I had a couple of those bows too. Those sweaters make me chuckle now (I had a few doozies myself). Never had a Cosby sweater though! :)

  2. Fun piece Pam, I sure do miss 1985! Please don't be too hard on Mary Lou Retton though, I had a big crush on her back then--along with the Sagal Twins from "Double Trouble" :)~

  3. I can see thousands of Preschool and Kindergarten teachers wearing that hand print sweater! Heck, I probably eyed it myself (even though I was teaching First Grade)!

    I don't know why there was the teddy bear fad. I remember using them a lot with my bulletin boards in the classroom. Go figure.

    Around that time I had a rabbit fur jacket that looked similar to the faux fur jacket on the left. I looked like a polar bear whenever I wore it. ...Not the look I was hoping for...

  4. Ha! Too funny!

    I wore clothes like that. Scary!

  5. Man I love the 80s. I know a lot of people make fun of them, but they were just great.

  6. Chelly and Teena In Toronto--I had a few Esprit sweaters and quite a few patterned ones, but what I liked least about sweaters from that time period is that so many of them were made only in cheapo acrylic yarn. After a few months of wear they would start to pill. It wasn't until Benetton came along that I noticed more sweaters in wool and other materials.

    Doug--I remember when Mary Lou was *everywhere* but I must admit that pose seemed a little shocking for a Sears catalog!

    DrJulieAnn--I thought the same thing...Romper Room! Also reminiscent of the opening credits to In Living Color.

    Retro Hound--totally agree...love the 80s, too!

    I really wish I had held onto some of my Seventeen magazines because I'd love to scan and post them today.

  7. I totally enjoyed this post. It was nice seeing the fashions and also other 80s stuff. I did have stirrup pants and also did not really like them. The flowered sweater is like one that I had too but mine had purple and yellow flowers. I almost forgot about hairbows. I'm pretty sure I had a few of those. I did have a teddy bear Guess sweatshirt.

    The character clocks are neat. My brother was into He-Man but he just had the figures. The 70s were his Incredible Hulk Underoos days. I had a black Panasonic boom box similar to the ones in those photos. I don't have my walkman from back then but do have one from last decade only it just started having some sort of problems so I guess it'll have to go. I wish that they still sold them. I do have alot of cassettes and replacing everything with cds isn't in the budget.

    I've probably forgotten a few things that I wanted to comment on-oh, that handprint sweater is indeed repulsive.

    I hope that you have been doing well lately and that you had a good Thanksgiving. I've missed coming here and hopefully will be able to spend more time soon catching up on your posts.

  8. Woah! Very scary 80s clothes...
    But I love the hifi ads: my Dad had almost the same portable k7 player. And I recently bought a similar stereo funriture.

  9. OMGosh - Those square vibrating foot warmers - the brown leather numbers - yeah, we actually had those. Wow.

    I had Stirrup pants, I also pegged my pants and wore 3 different socks at once scrumched up so you could see all three before the peg in the jeans. Blue mascara anyone? Anyone remember the sleeves on these jackets and sweater/shirts? They went from waist out in almost a bird like wing all the way to your wrist. I loved them. Frosted lipstick and Love's Baby Soft perfume was everywhere. Jorache jeans were huge and I think Gloria Vanderbilts? Don't forget the mullet and the rat tail for boys - and Jams! Those bermuda jeans? Members Only jackets - and the key on the hooped earring to mimic Janet Jackson's. Rave Harispray. LOTS of it. And those jelly shoes and jelly bracelets (all the way up the arm). For kids with wealthier parents (than mine were) Swatch watches all the way up the arm, complete with twisted watch guards (I had the coat of arms watch, black and pink). And for some reason, cinnamon flavored toothpicks were all the rage. I remember they came in clear cellaphane and red print packages.

    Ah, the 80's. And wrestling shoes I wore them. Safety pins in our shoes and clothes - did anyone else do this? And there were some gawd awful plastic charms that would affix to a plastic chain link necklace. They could be anything. For some reason I remember a blue telephone. I'm sure I'll remember these things all night.... thanks this was great.


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