I Choose Outfits for My Cats From Retro Clothing Catalogs


The time has finally arrived for me to merge two of my favorite visual subjects: cats and retro catalogs. I’m not lying when I say I’m absolutely giddy when I see a cheesy vintage Sears calendar scan come across my Facebook newsfeed. I was a child in the 1970s and had no idea how ridiculous fashions were at the time. Heck, I was too busy rockin’ my Garanimals and watching Mary go blind on Little House on the Prairie. I had no time to be the fashion police. But I suppose most everyone — like in every era — looked trendy at the time. “Gary” was probably a chick magnet in his burnt umber leisure suit that didn’t breathe one bit. I sure hope he sprayed enough Arrid aerosol deodorant on his pits before he left for the discotheque.

The models.
The models.

Speaking of fashion, let me tell you about a fun little game I play. When I go shopping — usually with one of my two kids, who share my warped humor — I look for clothing that suits my cats’ personalities. I write a lot about Cosmo and Phoebe, and I love to imagine them doing human activities like working at Walgreens or mowing the lawn. Funny, right? I know! My kids and I often make up stories about the life our cats would lead in this bizarre alternate universe. So of course they’d require the perfect outfits for the day-to-day routines. Cosmo’s human persona would be nerdy, bland, and a little grumpy. He’d wear drugstore cologne and eat frozen pot pies. Phoebe, on the other hand, would be sassy and verbose. She’d gossip with friends while sipping fancy cocktails.

Here comes the fun part. I went back in time and “shopped” for my cats in clothing catalogs from the 1970s and ’80s. Of course the cats had to try the outfits on — how else would we know if they work? Here are the results of my “shopping trip.”

1. Cosmo: Undergarments and workday attire

"Gettin' down with brown."
“Gettin’ down with brown.” Source

Of course he’d wear dull brown underwear, but he’d think it’s kicky because of the briefs’ chocolate-colored trim. He’d admire his buddy for having the guts to wear the mesh tank but is sure he’d never be able to pull it off. He’d also have knock knees … I’m sure of it.

Cosmo would be all about sweater vests. This particular outfit would be one of his better ones, reserved for days when he pretended to understand blueprints yet all he really wanted to do was curl up and nap on top of them. He’d hate that scarf, but a friend told him to “get with the scene,” so he’d wear it a few hours and then bat it under his work desk. He’d totally wear the brown underwear under that outfit.

2. Cosmo: Casual wear

“Regret.” Source

Poor Cosmo — always the odd man out. His friends would be the ones picking up the ladies while he stood by holding his belt buckle and swaying to Bad Company. The blue corduroy suit never worked for him. When would he learn?

3. Cosmo: Overnight apparel

"Sleepin' in style. Sort of."
“Sleepin’ in style. Sort of.” Source

Would there really be any other kind of sleepwear for Cosmo? Impossible. He’d have a closet full of nightshirts, all hanging freshly-pressed on hangers. Sometimes he’d wear a nightcap, and on cold nights, he’d pull on some black dress socks before climbing under the covers.

4. Phoebe: Sassy schoolgirl attire

"What's your damage, 70's Heather?"
“What’s your damage, ’70s Heather?” Source

The fact that this catalog photo looks like the 1970s version of the move Heathers fits perfectly. Phoebe would undoubtedly be one of the very popular Heathers. She’d be Heather #2, who wore yellow and went cow-tipping with Winona Ryder’s Veronica character. How very.

5. Phoebe: Exercise duds

“Gettin’ down with brown.” Source

If Phoebe were in 1980s-land, she’d be all about Jane Fonda, leg warmers, and Jazzercize. She’d want to look good when she went out with Trey to eat chef salads and see Footloose.

6. Phoebe: Casual wear

"Fashion forward Phoebe."
“Fashion forward Phoebe.” Source

Of course Phoebe would wear short pants and fashionable boots. She’d probably seen Kate Jackson wear something similar on Charlie’s Angels and ran right out to Penney’s to match the look. And then everyone in her circle of friends would start wearing the short-pants-with-boots look … and not because of Kate Jackson. Phoebe would have that kind of fashion influence.

Based on his or her personality, what kind of human clothing — retro or modern day — would your cat wear?

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