The Paper Clothing Fad

Paper clothing — a fashion fad of the 1960s. It was disposable consumer culture taken to an extreme. Wear your clothes once or twice, and then just throw them away instead of washing them.

Info from wikipedia:

Paper clothing, in the form of women's dresses and other clothes made from disposable cellulose fabric, was a short-lived fashion novelty item in the United States in the 1960s...

By 1967, paper dresses were sold in major department stores for about $8 apiece, and entire paper clothing boutiques were set up by companies such as Abraham & Straus and I. Magnin. At the height of demand, Mars Hosiery made 100,000 dresses a week. Other items made of paper included underwear, men's vests, bridal gowns (expensive at $15), children's pinafores ("just the thing for ever-sprouting sprouts") and even rain coats and bikinis ("good for two to three wearings")...

But as the novelty appeal of paper clothes wore off, their downsides became more apparent: they were generally ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear, their garish colors could rub off, they were often flammable, and of course they very soon ended up as waste. By 1968, paper clothing had disappeared from the market.

The Warren County Observer - Jan 24, 1961

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 14, 2017
     Category: Fashion | 1960s

Paper dresses for eight bucks in 1967 = $58 in today's money. For something you were supposed to throw away after wearing once. No wonder they never took off. Also, they were dead ugly.
Posted by Rita Johnson in canada on 02/14/17 at 03:28 PM
Something else one may not think about with such a fad: flammability!
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 02/14/17 at 04:23 PM
Paper clothes were a staple of science fiction stories of the '60s and '70s, right up there with flying cars and food in pill form. They'd be cheap, convenient and recyclable, after all. Never mind that they'd be a terrible idea: Anything soft enough to be comfortable would fall apart (especially if it got wet!), and if you made the paper more durable, you'd essentially wind up with cloth.

The closest thing we have to paper clothes today are the Tyvek "bunny suits" worn in hospitals and labs... but Tyvek, of course, isn't paper, and it's not a material anyone would wear by choice.
Posted by Brian on 02/14/17 at 04:31 PM
I had one, I was in sixth grade and I had a swingy wide dress with orange and avocado green and white random shapes all over it. It was fun to wear. wish I'd kept it, even after the bottom got all sanded off from sitting in it and it got water spots and other marks on it.
Posted by Therese Z on 02/14/17 at 05:00 PM
@ Rita; I just googled 'paper overalls' and the first ad that was shown had them at $58!!? On an installation I had to wear them and they suck big time. They don't breath and I got nasty heat rash.
I believe it is Charmin that has a toilet paper wedding dress contest where the gowns a not ugly.
Posted by BMN on 02/14/17 at 05:57 PM
I've worn paper coveralls, and I agree -- they're awful. There's no ventilation, as with a dress. That ad for $58 overalls must have been for something with some style or functional stuff. Plain paper coveralls aren't worth more than maybe $5, IMO.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 02/15/17 at 12:51 AM
I had to wear a sort of plasticized-paper suit for 2 4-hour shifts a day for nearly two weeks. I thought the other guys were playing a sick joke when they said the best thing to wear under them is pantyhose and a camisole. Then the first morning, here's all these big, burly guys in the locker room putting on queen-size pantyhose and 1950s-style camisoles. Wearing my street clothes under the suit, I was in agony by the end of the day. Switched to what everyone else was wearing, and it wasn't a nice experience, but it wasn't the worst thing I've had to do.
Posted by Phideaux in in his own little world on 02/15/17 at 04:01 PM
Then again, imagine a Miss Wet Blotting-paper T-shirt contest...
Posted by Richard Bos in The Netherlands on 02/16/17 at 02:30 PM
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