In the first of a regular series, we look at the funniest vintage menswear ads…
As indicated by the tagline, the copy at the bottom of this ad is an extended boast that these Hathaway shirts do for blazer stripes what Tanqueray gin bottles did for British fireplugs. But, really, was anyone who saw this ad thinking anything other than: IS THAT DUDE A FREAKIN’ PIRATE OR WHAT? Added mystery: has Jason Biggs started time-travelling to pick up magazine ad work now that the American Pie series is over?
This double-page spread reminds us of one of those writing exercises you got at primary school where you had to make up a story to go with the images. So here goes: “Pete and Barry were minding their own business at Underpants Beach one Sunday afternoon in the 1970s when they were suddenly zapped back in time a decade and found themselves as extras on a episode of The Partridge Family. ‘Don’t freak out,’ said Barry. ‘Groovy,’ his pal replied. ‘Come on let’s get happy!’” The End. Side note: what’s horrifying is that unless the teen boy models died of shame immediately after posing in their sailor-wear, they’re likely now grown men who daily worry about these images leaking out and ruining their careers.
These guys look like they’re auditioning for Ocean’s Eleven: The Disco Years. Check out those expressions and stances. The frowns, the piercing eyes, the pouts, the smirks, the clenched fists and wide stances! They’re ready to fight… for their right to wear neckerchiefs and belt sashes! When your grandpa says the words “bellbottom trousers”, these are the abominations he’s talking about. But what the copywriter didn’t seem to get was that “For whom the bells toll” invokes John Donne’s famous poetic line about how one man’s death diminishes us all. But, really, who cares because the dude on the right is totally rocking his kaleidoscopic pantaloons. We want a pair!
Roo-ful Design Choice
Oh, we get it — you’ll always score with ladies when you lounge about in 1970s leisurewear like some sort of beige Captain Kirk. We’re saying that using the word “lose” in the ad kinda undermines the pantsman message. But weirdest of all is the pouch on the front of the featured garment. Was the original brand-name Joey, with the design inspired by doting mama kangaroos? What’s he got stored in there?
Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That
This 1940s ad seems to have been put together by a tongue-in-cheek Madison Avenue chap trying to subvert the dominant hetero paradigm. How else to explain these three hunks, er, rising and shining in the same bedroom? “Nobelts stay up without pressure,” the ad claims while making no mention whatsoever of elastic or other newfangled erector technology. There’s also no explanation for why the chap in the centre appears ready to dress his friend. He must’ve been a valet.