We have seen the future, and it changes color with heat.
Really, you practically couldn’t afford not to buy a HyperColor shirt. I mean, it changed color, right? That was like getting two shirts for the price of one. So that price tag you saw? Remember, that was 50% off what it should have cost you. You should probably buy two then, since you’re such a great bargain shopper.
What wasn’t to love about HyperColor shirts? Well, a few things, but we’ll get to those later. For now, let’s talk about how rad they were. Introduced by Generra at the tail end of those color-crazy 80’s, HyperColor promised a t-shirt revolution. A patented “Metamorphic Color System” caused the shirt’s color to change when it came in contact with heat. Press a warm hand onto your belly, and your purple shirt would have a temporary pink handprint. How cool was that?
Body heat, hot breath, blow dryers’ any heat source was enough to change green to yellow, blue to green, and so on. It was like a Mood Ring for the body, and matched up with acid wash jeans or Body Glove bike shorts, it made you the most outrageously outfitted fashion plate in your school.
Unfortunately (and here’s the “what’s not to love” part), there were some drawbacks. Like the fact that wearing a HyperColor shirt seemed to give everybody the right to put their sweaty palms all over you or breathe on you. Or the way your shirt reacted to all heat, including the kind produced by your armpits (no volunteering to answer questions in class on HyperColor t-shirt day). Suddenly, the idea of a heat-sensitive shirt just wasn’t all you had dreamed it would be.
The HyperColor craze faded like a bad tie-dye by the early 90’s, and Generra had to lay off one-fourth of its staff by the spring of ‘92. Apparently, the world just wasn’t ready for odd-colored sweat spots and rampant personal space invasion, even for the sake of a chameleon fashion statement.
Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” Maybe he would have changed his mind if he could’ve been a part of the cool jacket club called “Members Only.”
Owning a Members Only jacket promised entrance into the exclusive clique that even Groucho would have clamored to be a part of. Ultra cool, the Members Only jacket was a collarless jacket with ribbed knit cuffs. They came in a selection of fashion colors’ from teal blue to red – but black was generally considered the coolest.
These cotton, casual, windbreaker-style jackets were popularized when David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider sported his leather version, and Ricky Schroeder of Silver Spoons strutted around in his rainbow selection, a different color every day.
The cool thing about the collarless jacket was that the collar of your Izod polo didn’t have to compete when it was flipped up, and the ribbed cuffs guaranteed that your sleeves wouldn’t fall down after you pushed them up to the mid-forearm, which was essential if you wanted to fit in. Just having a Members Only wasn’t enough – you needed to know the cool way to wear it.
Members Only manufactured many different styles of jackets, from leather bomber jackets to ladies athletic jackets, but the colorful, cotton, collarless style will always be remembered as the quintessential Members Only style.
Mickey Mantle wore it. Wilt Chamberlain and Joe Namath, too. Billed as the only choice for a masculine scent, Brut defined masculinity for the American man. Created by Faberge in 1964, Brut was so named to evoke something raw and rugged. Coming through on the promise, this spicy and manly fragrance guaranteed olfactory pleasure in a complete line of men’s grooming products.
Not just for sports heroes, Brut was often the first fragrance a boy discovered in his emulation of Dad. The powerful scent of aftershave was like a glimpse into your shaving future, and all the other manly things that came with a razor. Nestled besides the rows of bottles from Mom, Dad’s small space was filled with the potent scent in the deep green bottle with a silver medallion. A splash in the palms of his big hands, a quick rub and then a pat onto the cheeks and chin it was Brut by Faberge.
Whatever your stage of manliness, Brut was there with aftershave, shaving cream, power stick deodorant, splash on lotion, cologne and even hairspray. Brut 33 offered Essence de Brut in the 1972, a more intense scent and a variation of fragrances. But men are creatures of habit, afraid to mess with a good thing, so the line was discontinued in 1974. Faberge didn’t give up trying to offer men a more enticing repertoire of grooming, and in 1983 the company introduced the potent, but short-lived Brut Royale. By 1988, enough men were finally willing to join the ranks of cologne wearers, and that year’s spray cologne was embraced.
Chesebrough-Ponds adopted the Brut line in 1989, continuing to offer a complete line of grooming products. The line still evolves with the needs of its consumers, and Brut remains a top seller. No surprise, really. Men will always want to smell like men, and boys will always try to smell like Dad.