Style Nostalgia: The California Dream of the 1960s

An advertisement rife with all the swimsuit-wearing, BBQ-loving, movie-star-ridden clichés of West Coast living. 

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“This is a typical California day,” narrator Janis Paige announces as a family arrives at the beach in a convertible. Courtesy of Prelinger Archive comes this colorful advertisement for Montgomery Ward’s summer clothing line. 

“California has become the fastest growing fashion and design center in the world,” Paige notes. Moreover, the people are happy, and it’s not because they’re on vacation. It’s because they live here. The models are picture-perfect in colorful, breathable styles, ready for all the recreational sports the coast has to offer. 

Everything is shiny and new -- not wholly a rejection of East Coast opulence, but reflective of a different pace of life -- one focused more on amusement. Mad Men viewers will appreciate this 1960s advertising campaign's time capsule of an era.  

For more from the Prelinger Archive, visit their site.

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Alessandra Ram is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic Video Channel. Her work has also appeared in Foreign Policy.

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