THE LEISURE SUIT: THE LOST JOY OF POLYESTER – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Leisure Suits

Back in the 1970s, some clown decided that men were overdressed and need stretchy, comfortable clothing. And thus they invented the polyester leisure suit and to his immense embarrassment, Garry had one. I never saw it, but I know he bought it because he said so and what man would lie about a thing like that? He wore it to work, but I never saw it.

Maybe that is just a well.

Except Garry is such a clothes horse, he rarely admits it.

Leisure suits came in slightly stretchy polyester (throw in the wash, hang it and wear it) fabric. Light blue was very popular and some were truly indescribable.

I owned some clothing that was more than a little embarrassing, but I can honestly say I didn’t buy it. My mother made it for me. It was exceptionally well-made clothing, elegant clothing, but when I wore it I looked like I came from another planet. It didn’t improve my fragile popularity in high school, though it had a certain something by the time I got into college.

I never owned a leisure suit because, for me, a leisure suit means a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt. That’s what I’m wearing now. It’s what I wear. Most importantly, it’s virtually immune to dog hair.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

14 thoughts on “THE LEISURE SUIT: THE LOST JOY OF POLYESTER – Marilyn Armstrong”

        1. To my humiliation, my dad had a sunny yellow leisure suit. Complete with complimentary yellow tie, yellow shirt, yellow socks, and patent leather shoes. Man, he was proud of that outfit.

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          1. Dear Your Royal Highness,
            You gotta understand. Some of us LOVED the leisure suits. I think the Pale Blue was fitting for business, especially on camera work. No, It didn’t make my brown eyes blue. Lee Majors aka Steve Austin/”The 6 Million Dollar Man”, set the tone for us. No, I didn’t think I looked like Lee Majors but felt my on camera look was okay — viewers didn’t complain. If you live and work in the time of certain looks and styles, like “the big hair” days, you’re just going with the trend. When I look at MY big hair days – a modified afro, I am mortified. But those were the days, my friend.
            I always tried to make sure my leisure suit was properly complemented with a shirt color and design. No crazy colors. I always thought ties were overkill with leisure suits.
            I have this image of Paul “Blue Eyes” Newman in a pale blue leisure suit in “The Towering Inferno”. He owned the screen, even when Steve McQueen was on screen with him. No small feat.

            Your ever humble and loyal servant. (full transparency: I also had white patent leather loafers with leather soles. They sounded so damn cool when I walked on the sidewalk.. Rarely wore them. They were still almost new when I tossed them. Always had fear of someone asking me to “do a little dance”)

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    1. I plead guilty to the safari suits. I guess I thought I was hunting big game when I went out on assignments. In some cases, that was true. B’wana Garry in his prime — the lion slept securely in Boston’s hinterland.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Polyester = yuk. No matter how it’s made up. My mother insisted on dressing me in crimplene and I found it scratchy and incredibly uncomfortable. Childhood photos of me show a child who looks like shes’s trying to shrink her way out of dresses by sheer willpower 😀

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    1. My mother was not at all excited by polyester, though she used it for some clothing. Mostly, my clothing was wool or cotton or silk. My aunt worked at Bonwit Teller in NY and was able to get my mother some really good fabric for almost nothing. When they were finished making a syle, there was always leftover fabric … which was at least enough for me and my mother both. For them, it was junk. For us it was gold.

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