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Past Perfect

Past Perfect: 1979

Past Perfect BY jane gauger 10/17/2017

Sometimes the only way to go forward is to go backward (uh, style-wise, at least—otherwise, bring on those progressive values!). Welcome to Past Perfect, where we take an aesthetic trip down memory lane to shout out the looks, books, and other enduring pop-culture creations from a particularly notable 12 months. We think it’ll be way more fun than a high school history lesson—but only time will tell.


Wonder Woman

This year, Wonder Woman’s TV series was in its last season, but her superhero legacy had already been cemented. The groundbreaking show starred Lynda Carter as Diana Prince and inspired a whooole generation of girls to sport their own bracelets of submission and lassos of truth (and if you wanna hear creator William Moulton Marstothe’s weird, feminist backstory, this is a must-listen). Anyone who so much as walked past a movie theater during summer 2017 can attest to the perma-appeal of the fiercely fair Amazonian princess, Comic Con cosplay queen, and box-office game-changer. And, word is, Lynda Carter is in talks to join Gal Gadot in the sequel (!!!).

Small lynda carter

Sony Walkman

Like legwarmers and big hair, the Walkman is visual shorthand for the eighties. But the blocky portable music player was actually introduced by Sony a year before that decade kicked off—and completely changed how we interact with our tunes and with each other, thanks to the normalization of wearing headphones on the go. Life for mass-transit commuters, workout warriors, and Steve Jobs would never be the same.

Small sony walkman 1979 ad

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Sure, the dollar coin with the image of suffragette Susan B. Anthony had a few glitches—including the fact that its similarities with the quarter made it too confusing for the public when it was first minted this year. Still, it was the first time since Martha Washington in 1886 that a woman’s image was featured on American currency—a lack of representation that continues to draw ire to this day. See: the struggle to get Harriet Tubman added to the $20 bill.

Small susan b anthony

Tracy Austin Wins the U.S. Open

Before Venus and Serena, Tracy Austin was the tennis world’s teen phenom. At 16 years old, she won the 1979 U.S. Open women’s singles title against Chris Evert (another champion who started as a teen superstar) and became the youngest player to snag the trophy, a record she still holds today. Austin retired in 1994 but stayed in the game as a commentator, and now she has a son coming up through the ranks.

Small tracy austin

The Bell Jar Movie

The film based on Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical work didn’t have quite the lasting impact of book, Plath’s only novel—which lives on in on—but it had great costumes. And soon it’ll get a remake: Kirsten Dunst will make her directorial debut, bringing in her main man Jesse Plemons and Dakota Fanning to star.

Small the bell jar



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