5/5/11

Vintage Style #20: 1970s Lee Ads

1975 Lee advertisement

In the mid seventies, Lee began a series of magazine ads all featuring a dude in front of a simple background of one bold color.  I'm not sure how successful the campaign was, but given that it lasted to the end of the decade, it probably worked pretty well.

They are memorable ads without being controversial or overtly sexual.  It was all part of the company's master plan to break out from the work clothes business and into fashion conscious casual styles.  Today, Lee makes its clothes in sweatshops in India and spends 40 million per year on advertising; however, it owes a large part of its success to these ads in the seventies which transitioned their image from work overalls to JC Penney leisurewear.

Here's a few more ads from this series.  Keep an eye out for Beau De Labarre, Vinnie Barbarino's replacement on "Welcome Back, Kotter".



1974 Lee advertisement

1975 Lee advertisement

1975 Lee advertisement

1975 Lee advertisement

1975 Lee advertisement

1978 Lee advertisement

11 comments:

  1. I laughed out loud at the mustard yellow ensemble and the three piece denim suit. One of these days I'm going to make good on my threat to buy my husband a leisure suit.

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  2. If I was a guy in the 70s and I had to wear one of these ensembles on pain of death, I think I'd actually choose the mustard yellow one - It winds up looking the hippest of them all...

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  3. The yellow one is described as "Brawny" - I beg to differ, it's more like "Wussy". Also in the bottom text we learn that "the comfort comes from the new non-glitter, snag resistant doubleknit of 100% Dacron polyester." Since when was polyester ever comfortable?

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  4. Yellow jeans for men? Ha, I think the 70s were the last decade when men were allowed to wear any combination of color... Now it's all dark solemn colors strictly.

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  5. That guy second from last, Brawny Knitt Twill-man, did he just step on dogshit?

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  6. MoncynnesMay 09, 2011

    I had no idea Lee had a Steve Austin collection.

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  7. AnonymousMay 09, 2011

    I thought this was "bad fashion?" This stuff looks cooler than anything I see today.

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  8. I remember these ads. I grew up in Lebanon, MO. There was an H.D. Lee plant there for many years. My mom, sister, aunt, cousin and her husband worked there (at various times through the years). It closed down a few years back. At that time the work was sent to a factory in Mexico. They probably shipped all of that work to India now.

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  9. Hmmm...I'm thinking that these outfits look rather groovy! Its time to bring back the leisure suit!

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  10. I don't care how many people put 70s style down, this fact is true: if a guy bold enough to not only wear, but work the Swiss Precision suit, asked me for a date, I'd end up marrying him. I'd much rather see a man wearing any one of the suits up top than the crap they wear today.

    Thanks so much, I'll remain single and sexless rather than have to be seen in public with a man who has over five holes in jeans, or - God forbid - his pants around freaking knees.

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  11. I still laugh at the picture I had when I entered basic training, and I was wearing plaid bell bottoms (1970s). Why is it the guys looked horrible, but the gals looked great (minis, maybe?)

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