The Smurfs make their first appearance. The first issue of USA Today was published. And Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge was born.

Another first: Lands’ End launched the Drifter sweater with the headline: “Colorful cotton crewnecks for beach, boat, knockaround fun.” Which is probably why we called it the Drifter, although the real reason has been lost to history.

It set you back $24, but you could get 2 for $45. Touted as a “Four-Season sweater,” the Drifter featured “full fashioning,” a process in which knitters contoured the sweater to the body’s shape by increasing or decreasing stitches in the shoulders and sides. It gave the sweater a more comfortable fit and a nicer look. People loved it. And by 1985 it had earned the title “the better cotton sweater.”

Over the years, the Drifter has undergone changes in substance:

“Now with spandex in the ribbing.”
“We added 15% more cotton!”
“Announcing the V-Neck Drifter … and Drifter Vest.”

And the world has changed, too. Although the Smurfs and USA Today are still with us and I understand that Prince William has found a nice girl and settled down.

But one thing hasn’t changed: the Drifter is still the Better Cotton Sweater. Better features, better cotton, and all-around better value. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

(And it’s still Guaranteed. Period.®)



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