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Roller-Disco Jackets & Polyester Slacks: The 1980 Montgomery Ward Catalog

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Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (3)

I present to you the fashion pages from the 1980 Montgomery Ward Spring/Summer catalog.  Herein you will find roller-disco fashions for kids, a denim overload, polyester spaghetti strap disco apparel and, of course, and abundance of male models who think they look intensely cool, but actually look ridiculous nearly forty years later.

1980 was a strange year for fashion.  The Saturday Night Fever obsession was only two years old, but already disco had over-saturated the market and begun to wear out its welcome.  The stereotypical styles we associate with the 1980s (skinny ties, shoulder pads, bright colors, etc.) were still half a decade away from the mainstream. So, what fills this period between disco’s dying days and the totally-80s styles that came on the scene in 1985-86?

It’s a sort of “meh” hybrid – lacking the tacky mojo of the super-seventies and lacking the Day-Glo charm of the radical 80s.  It’s sort of an intermission between two well-defined fashion trends.  And yet – and you can put this on record – I’ll take the 1980 style any day over the confused “no-style” of today… but I digress.  Let’s have a look through the catalog, shall we?

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (18)

Kool & the Gang should play as soon as you open this page.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (1)

For more awful his and her fashions, check out: The Nightmare That Was His amd Her Fashions.  Be forewarned – it’s not pretty.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (2)

Welcome to “Denim Corner”.  Take note that, in 1980, pocket bedazzlement was mandatory.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (3a)

The menswear here doesn’t look too bad actually.  Stay tuned – things will change in a few pages.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (4) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (5) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (5a)

Textbook disco dresses: shimmery, stretchy, Lycra spandex.  Buy two, get an ounce of cocaine at half-off.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (6)

More groovy pocket designs.  As I recall, Jordache was the leader in pocket art, but these will do.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (7)

Is it just me, or are you also noticing that almost everything in women’s clothing is in plain primary colors?  It’s like we’re stuck with the lame Crayola 8 pack in 1980.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (8) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (9) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (10) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (11)

More from the Crayola 8 Pack.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (13)

You’ll notice that men hadn’t learned to pop the collar yet.  That would come in the next year or so.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (14)

Dear lord, the guy on the right looks ridiculous.  Not the high water mark in men’s fashion to be sure.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (15) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (15a) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (16)

I totally had shirts just like these… and I’m also going to come out and admit I also owned the shimmering polyester-blend wide-collar monstrosity below.  For special occasions, of course.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (16a) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (17)

Ah, yes.  The striped socks.  You were extra special if your sock stripes matched your shirt and shorts.  That was the epitome of junior high style in 1980.

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (18a) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (19) Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (20)

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (12)

This, of course, was the section that young boys drooled over.  In a world with no internet, where else was a young lad going to see ladies in their undergarments?

Montgomery Ward Spring_Summer 1980 (20a)

Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time – Cheers.

  • StandingTallAsAnAmerican

    We were a good looking country back in those days.

    Now we have boys dressed as girls and joining the girls sports teams … sheeesh

    • NostalgicNZer

      Oh shut up! You sound like a typical homophobic sexist redneck!

      • StandingTallAsAnAmerican

        Triggered ^^

    • Mark Armacost

      Girls’ sports teams? The horror! Boys who look like girls? Time to make it out of the 1970s dude.

  • Freakanatcha

    I think there was some false advertising going on here. Wards was NOT the “one-stop shirt shop.” That honor belonged to National Shirt Shop.

  • Steve Mills

    I wonder why none of the jeans have factory-made holes, rips, or wear spots. Oh, I know, because that’s fucking stupid.

    Man, there’s nothing sexier than a girl wearing a plain, no-team football jersey for a nighty. I hate football, but that’s a great look.

  • SnackitySnax

    This is definitely stuff I had in 6th grade, including the terrycloth rompers (summer clothes, not for school) and velour track suits. And ruched tops and swimsuits and spaghetti string tank tops with ties. I also had a satin ROLLER DISCO jacket, which I wore to the ROLLER DISCO because it’s a good thing to wear with your jeans and back pocket comb while you hold hands with a boy skating to Endless Love.

  • AB

    I believe that’s a young Phoebe Cates on page 379.

    • NostalgicNZer

      Sure does look like her.

  • AlanOne7

    Ah, memories of 7th grade. Always hated the feel of polyester, but, with decent design, its resistance to wrinkles and fading usually looked good in photographs.
    Some good-looking women here, but I never cared for the super-skinny jeans like in pic #9.
    I live in Florida, so I may try the blue outfit and white jacket from page 298 (minus the high collar and contrasting buttons). The blue shirt and white pants two pics down isn’t bad either.