8 Notable Items from the 1985 Montgomery Ward’s Catalog


We’ve lost so much, friends. Time has stolen it away from us. Our concept of beauty, of comfort, even our very values. Here, between the pages of a 1985 Montgomery Ward’s Catalog, I found what has slipped away. It is true that some of these things can still be found, either old and faded on eBay or earnestly reproduced on specialty sites like The Vermont Country Store. But these products deserve more; they have timeless appeal that would suit our 21st century stores and souls just fine.

1. Ostentatious Bridesmaid Dresses

We’re tired of your lies, Wedding Industry. Stop assuring prospective brides that the $300 dress they make their friends buy is an investment, because “they can wear it again!” In the old days, no one pretended such rubbish. A bridesmaid’s dress was an ugly, solemn pact of friendship. A bizarre drapery that appealed to no one but the bride; a flouncy, ill-colored, poorly cut sacrifice that a woman was willing to make to ensure her friend’s big day was just as she wanted it. Let’s drop all the pretense and return to those pure and honest roots.

2. Legitimate Girdles and Corsets

Who knew these were still available as recently as 1985? I can promise you, there is much more fashion demand for these contraptions today than there was then. Can you imagine what the steampunk cos-play crowd could do with these beauties? Dye them black, replace the gussets with brass, add a top hat and a tommy gun, and there isn’t a villain in all the Lovecraft universe who won’t quake at your approach.

3. He-Man Bedding

By the power of Greyskull, I’m sleeping in tomorrow and not even Skeletor himself can stop me.

4. Earthy-Toned Furniture

One word: Rust. Another beautiful thing that time and fickle fashion has corroded. If there exists a more cozy color for your lazy boy, I’d like to see it.

5. Flower Garden Bedroom Ensembles

Because is there any way in the world that you could wake up cranky in this room? Frightened, perhaps. Baffled, most certainly. But not angry! You would be living inside a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Joy would seep into your very skin while you slept, possibly to the point of requiring insulin shots. (Also available in Spice!).

6. Serene Rear Window Decals

So, we’ve survived unlicensed Calvin peeing on stuff, completely useless and confusing European letters on American cars, and we’re getting so tired of your stick families and zombie families and Jesus Fishes being eaten by Darwin Fishes being eaten by Cthulhu. Let's go back to serenity, to calm images and gentle style.

7. Fuzzy Velour

And while we’re on the subject of improving your travel experience, how long has it been since your tush was cradled by the welcoming warmth of velour? TOO LONG. And have you been driving along all this time, your hands blistering on the unforgiving bones of a steering wheel when you could be running your fingers through this opulence? Bring it all back, I say.

8. Everything This Man Is

Male clothing models today—meh. Always flashing good natured smiles on their boyish faces, designer shirts hanging on their lithe little frames. What ever happened to the male model who could ravish you with a simple lift of an eyebrow? A man with a jawline so chiseled it should have its own room at the Louvre? Unattainable ideals of male attractiveness? Bring back the classic stud, and let the little boys out to play.

And one thing we definitely don't want:

Do not bring these back, under no circumstances. Not just because I’m pretty sure pantyhose are sewn directly from the vile sheddings of Satan’s skin, but because of that name. “Big Mama.” Now, as a big girl myself, I can applaud the effort to bring up-sized products to the fleshier public, and I’m fine with a name that distinguishes their size. But…Big Mama? That’s the best they could come up with? Why not Wide-Load Womanhood panty hose? Or Tripping the Fatty Fantastix? Or Lardy Lady Leggings!