18 Terrible 1970s Menswear Ads That Prove The Decade Is Better Left Forgotten

Published January 13, 2016
Updated March 30, 2019

The 70s was a pretty shameless decade and these terrible 1970s menswear ads bear testament to that. Let's not bring any of these fashions back... please?

If you were lucky enough to untangle yourself from the rainbow macramé that was the 1970s, then these photos of what was then considered “fashionable” will be a disco-dance down memory lane.

If you are a post-’70s baby, looking at these images may cause some wincing and general discomfort. Please take the ensuing terrible 1970s menswear ads with the pill of knowledge that one of the most popular films of 1972 was actually a porno:

Terrible 1970s Menswear Ads Belted Sweaters
Lesson one: There existed an unnatural affinity for anything cable-knit. Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads High Waisted
Likewise, the optimal pant waist should've just about reached your chin.Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Leotards
The giraffe print leotard: the height of the American Empire.Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Onesies
In the '70s, it simply was not a party without silk pants or mustard-colored onesies.Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Pimp Suits
Only in the '70s would something be described as "the ultimate fashion climax."Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Purple Ruffles
Luckily the matador-about-town look never made it to the 1980s.Bored Panda

terrible 1970s menswear Ads Sailor Style
Male models of the '70s, ladies and gentlemen. Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Neckerchief
Which is more unsightly: the cut or the pattern?Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Slack Power
Not quite sure why the slogan "slack power" didn't stick. Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Underwear Vests
Forget everything in this picture except for the fact that people used to hang their underwear on circular hangers.Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Zebra
Plunging necklines and denim pantsuits — the '70s epitome of sportive.Plaid Stallions

Weird 1970s Menswear Fancy Bottoms
The '70s were all about ... bottoms.Pinterest

Weird 1970s Menswears Dog Ear
Dramatic coats and collars defined the '70s. A global recession clearly didn't cause any cuts in fabric usage.Plaid Stallions

Weird 1970s Menswear Hat
In the '70s, you could also purchase a new, fashion forward shirt for just $1.94.Hot Penguin

Weird 1970s Menswear Sailaway
The advert on the right says that "the men people pay attention to will be wearing these coats," but we're wondering if this kind of attention is desirable.Plaid Stallions

Weird 1970s Menswear Pleated Sleeve
"Just imagine how everyone will talk!" Yes, imagine... Plaid Stallions

Weird 1970s Menswear Cuff
These ensembles brought to you by the Council for the Color Blind. Plaid Stallions

Weird 1970s Menswear Ads Belly Bumper
'70s fashion kills: "Arnel" fabric was used in this garment, and was apparently discontinued because the fabric was made using a toxic chemical that likely affected brain function.Plaid Stallions

Want more of the disco decade? See 48 eye-opening photos of America's 1970s hippie communes, or check out these space colonies as imagined by NASA in the 1970s.

author
Erin Kelly
author
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "18 Terrible 1970s Menswear Ads That Prove The Decade Is Better Left Forgotten." AllThatsInteresting.com, January 13, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/terrible-1970s-menswear. Accessed May 21, 2024.