The Nerd Tux…

By Shawn Robare

I’m finding that Woman’s Day magazines are gold mines for awesome vintage kid-centric advertisements.  Stands to reason when you consider that mothers make most of the household purchasing decisions, but it was the last place I thought to look.  Here’s another shinning example of pure early 80s ad cheese for a staple of my childhood fashion sense, Members Only jackets…

I was a proud member from around 1983 to around Christmas of 1987 when I received a beloved Billabong denim jacket that I wore non-stop from 1988-1992.   I think I might have some pictures where I’m sporting my MO jacket, but if memory serves mine was powder blue and was more in the matte design like the blonde kid in the back of the ad.   Oh what I would have done for a red faux-leather jacket more like that hip kid up front with the topsiders and the hat all cocked to a jaunty angle.  So was the Members Only jacket the nerd tux?

This ad is spectacular on so many levels by the way.  First and foremost is how it’s set up like an 80s era toy ad, with the crazy virtual reality landscape grid (think Tron, the opening to the Transformers cartoon, etc.) and the hazy sunset behind the mountain range.  Looks like a scene out of Top Gun or Red Dawn.  Then there’s all the crazy interaction between the models.  If they’re not flirting with each other or admiring each other’s jackets, then they’re buring a hole through your soul with their piercing stares (the girl in the pink jacket is making me blush…)  The coup de grace?  The American flag reflected in the solid gold engraved logo.  Members Only = Being an American.

Consequently, I actually saw the modern day incarnation of MO jackets at a men’s clothing store recently.   It took all my energy to keep from buying one.  As much as I wanted it, I just can’t do that ironic fashion thing…

**Update** I found that photo of me in my jacket. I’m wondering if it was a legit Members Only jacket or if it was a knock off. What would a knock off be called? V.I.P.J. (Very Important Person’s Jacket?)

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  • Karl Altstaetter

    Awesome find. What I like is the TRONesque grid floor. I rocked a black MO in the 80’s during my break dancing heyday. Just seeing this makes me want to start “”pop’n”” and “”lock’n””. Uh..that might actually I’ll just admire the ad. Well done sir.

  • Kirk D.

    I had a Member’s Only knock off from JCPenny. I think the brand name was Chester-something, a single word. I remember one of my parents friends from California saying “”ooooh, nice jacket! Is that a Member’s Only? and I pointed to the label and felt ashamed.