Sunday, July 15, 2007

Retro Mall Video: Members Only Jackets - One Jacket To Rule Them All

Members Only Jackets (1982)

Remember that hip and trendy must-have fashion accessory so popular in the '80s--the "Members Only Jacket"? If you were a teen back then living in the U.S., you definitely do. Especially if you were one of the "cool kids" who's parents could afford to get you a Members Only jacket.

I didn't have one.

Well actually, I had a Members Only knock-off version from Kmart or Montgomery Ward at the mall or something. While I certainly fancied myself as relatively cool (OK, very cool), the jackets came along at a really tight financial time in our household (and I couldn't wait, like every other cool kid I needed one NOW!) so I settled for a jacket that looked very similar to the real thing--unless anyone looked real close at the little front pocket label tag which was on the outside of all genuine Members Only jackets, bearing The Name.

That tiny little tag was quite the status symbol in those days. I forget what my knock-off said, but from a few feet away it looked close enough (and no one ever called me on it either). It was like "Member Only" (singular not plural) or something like that. Close enough. I felt cool (or cooler) and all was well.

So here's a 1982 TV commercial for Members Only Jackets, with Anthony Geary of General Hospital, who was a really popular daytime TV sex symbol in those days. Just look at him, can't you tell?

"When I put one on... something happens."

You look like an uncool idiot?

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Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

And for a second there, I was actually worried that I had no idea who this Anthony guy was.

I've seen the jackets, too, though over here they were never the big fad item that they were in the US. Boss, Esprit, Lacoste and Marc'O'Polo were the big in-brands over here in the 1980s.

And your schoolmates were more lenient than mine regarding calling people on knock-offs. I had a Lacoste shirt in the 1980s, a genuine one. Though it was a hand-me-down and therefore a model that was no longer made. A classmate of mine refused to believe that the shirt was real and decided to check whether the crocodile tag was sewed on properly (the crocdile tags on the knock-offs were usually glewed on, not sewn). So he plunged his hand into the neckline of my shirt to check for stitches. He was lucky not to need any stitched after that.

Sun Jul 15, 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I had a knock-off, too. Most likely from Mervyn's or Gemco. We didn't have upscale stores then.
It was all about labels then, Lacoste, OP, PCH, Jordache, Brittania, you name it. Those were the days you could charge a fortune for it and people would want it just because it was expensive. Gotta love the 80s!

Mon Jul 16, 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

You said it, Scott! lol

Cora: you went to school with a tough crowd! :D

Mon Jul 16, 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, look, it's Luke from General Hospital!!! He seems to have that Members Only Jacket look down pat. Cora's so incredibly lucky she's never heard of him. back in the 80s, 90s and even now my mother could never shut about Anthony Geary. I grew up being a GH fan because of her.

I think my dad had a couple of knockoffs. I don't recall ever having one but if you go to the thrift store you always see loads of those ugly jackets. Even nowdays labels like Lacoste and Espirit still bore me to death with their ugly clothes.

Mon Jul 16, 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I loved all the designer things of the 80's. I had a job since I was 8 years old so I had more of my own money than most kids to waste...I mean spend. I grew up in a Los Angeles suburb. I would shop in Beverly Hills or South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and I too purchased a Members Only jacket, Sasson jeans, Sergio Valente jeans and I was the only kid in my school to have Yves Saint Laurent get the idea. Well I stopped wearing them real quick because sure my designer things may have been cool but being the resident gay guy in my Jr High wasn't in the early 80's. I got teased real hard and real quick. LOL

Mon Jul 16, 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

I still remember the words to the Jordash commercial... and the one with the girl on the horse...

What is up with the dinner jacket look? Was he really saying he could wear it in lieu of a tuxedo?

I loved the 80's girl he walks off with.


Mon Jul 16, 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"'When I put one on... something happens.'

You look like an uncool idiot?"


Tue Jul 17, 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger alcachofa asesina said...

I bought a Members Only jacket at Dillards about 2 or 3 years ago. I did it because my dad had one.... and wel... nostalgia. BTW... I'm 26...

Wed Jul 18, 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me tell ya something 'bout the members only jacket...I have noticed that the ONLY people who wears them in the last 15years are OLD people( like with all grey hair has become part of the old man uniform, standard issue). I have noticed this time after time... next time you are in a mall or in Florida just look around, you'll see what i mean!

Thu Jul 26, 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

In the early 80's I was working at the Liberty House department store in downtown San Francisco. One day, into the mens department walks Broadway star Angela Lansbury, in town on tour with 'Sweeney Todd' (this is pre-Murder She Wrote). She bought a Members Only jacket from me (burgundy I believe). She brought it back the next day to exchange it for a smaller size as her husband thought it was too big o her. She was extrememly nice, but all business ('no autographs, please, this is my private time'). I wonder if she hung onto it. These days, she could sell it for a lot of money on ebay.

Thu Jul 26, 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jonah N. said...

@ bigmallrat: Loving something due to the cost?!? Sir, have you ever heard of something called "Starbucks"? ;)

Tue Aug 07, 04:46:00 PM  

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