70s Leisure Suit
Fashions of the 70s were often quite quirky and many of the popular trends of the decade were considered silly by those interested in high fashion.
However, mainstream America embraced many of these new styles, including the leisure suit, a casual men’s 2-piece suit that had actually been around since the 1930s but rose to popularity in the mid to late 1970s.
The term “leisure suit” was indicative of the style of this mens suit. Most suits are quite formal and uncomfortable, consisting of a traditional-style pair of pants and a traditional jacket. These suits are generally dark in color and rarely fashioned from any sort of patterned fabrics.
Leisure suits, on the other hand, were meant to be more comfortable. In order to achieve that, the jackets were more shirt-like, buttoning up the front with a traditional shirt collar rather than the lapels of a regular suit. The pants were generally bell bottoms and had a low waist.
Another thing that made leisure suits more comfortable than a standard suit was the fabric used to make them.
During the 70s, synthetic fabrics were popular, so leisure suit makers used polyester and other similar materials to make their suits, rather than wool or traditional non-machine washable fabrics.
This meant the suits were easy to care for and could simply be thrown in the washing machine when dirty rather than taken to the dry cleaners.
In addition to using consumer-friendly fabrics, the designers and makers of leisure suits also strayed from the traditional black, navy, gray, and brown fabrics used to make the suits normally worn to weddings, or other formal occasions.
It wasn’t unusual to find a leisure suit in a pastel color, especially light blues and greens. Even more outlandish, however, were the leisure suits made of print fabrics, most notably plaids and other fabrics that featured some sort of geometric design.
In most cases, the leisure suit was worn with an equally casual shirt. The shirt was often a loud print, commonplace in the 70s, and may have been fashioned from some sort of shiny or satiny fabric.
Often, the collars were quite long. Ties were not worn with leisure suits; again, this made the suit more comfortable than traditional counterparts.
Accessories often included belts and white shoes, including the ever-popular platform shoes that were so popular during that decade.
The leisure suit trend lasted for about 3-4 years and had faded out by the 1980s.
Today, the term “leisure suit” usually elicits a chuckle from most who remember the style and the name has come to be associated with bad fashion, though anyone who had a leisure suit while they were popular in the 1970s would tell you that they thought they were pretty cool!