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The Polyester Pant Suit: Fashion History that Should Stay History
Remarkably Ugly Polyester Prints
Women's Liberation or Just Bad Fashion?
Can anything good be said about the double knit pant suit, circa 1970? They were certainly popular in their day. Women left and right were ditching their dresses and hose for suits of heavy, gaudy, pastel polyester. This knit fabric was amazingly durable--that is perhaps the only positive thing I can say about it. Unlike today's microfiber polyesters that mimic silk or cotton, those polyester double knits were heavy and about as breathable as a heavy-duty plastic garbage bag.
Lets look at some video and pictures of this blast from the past.
Image from German Federal Archive via Wikimedia Commons
Why Granny Loved the Polyester Pantsuit
In defense of my grannies and all the other ladies who donned polyester pantsuits in the seventies, I will say I understand the appeal of an outfit that would never wrinkle. The women of the Depression and the World Wars had spent a lot of time slaving over an ironing board. For them, giving up ironing was well worth wearing a hot, petroleum-based, fabric that made them sweat. After all, ironing can also make a woman sweat!
We Have Better Choices Today
The granddaughters of the polyester pantsuit generation are lucky to have so many wardrobe choices. Newer microfiber polyesters are much more comfortable and less plastic-like than those double-knits from the seventies. We also have natural fibers that can be thrown in a dryer on a wrinkle-release cycle to reduce ironing. More choices--that is real liberation!
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Tom Tierney is a gifted fashion illustrator. See what the clothes really looked like.
70s Fashions on Screen
Polyester Pantsuit Links
- Warning: extremely ugly pants
Online vintage clothing military surplus and retro fashion store.
1970s Slide No.58. The decade began with a controversy over hemlines.
- Womens 1970s Suits at RustyZipper.Com Vintage Clothing
1970s Womens Suits at RustyZipper.Com Vintage Clothing