Leisure Suits

Leisure Suits

Life is a never-ending quest for more leisure time. But once it is acquired, what to wear? Back in the 70s, a t-shirt and jeans worked fine for a trip to the local arcade, but they weren’t quite snazzy enough for a dinner party or the local disco. Enter the polyester leisure suit – part formal, part fashionable, your wardrobe wasn’t complete without one.

The folks at Lee Jeans decided to bridge the gap between comfort and style in men’s fashion when they introduced the LEEsure suit in the 70s. Pairing a lightweight double knit polyester shirt jacket with matching slacks, these suits offered a casual look that every self-acclaimed stylish dude had to have in their clothing arsenal.

The best part about a leisure suit was that they were virtually indestructible. In fact, it was touted that one could wear polyester for an astounding 67 days without the need of ironing, or even washing. It was a selling point that didn’t go unnoticed. Should you earn some coveted leisure time, you certainly didn’t want to spend it at the dry cleaners.

By replacing the stuffy neckties and restrictive texture of wool with something far more durable and comfortable, the leisure suit soon became enormously popular. Other manufacturers quickly realized the sales potential and copied the Lee design. Soon, discos and office parties everywhere were overflowing with polyester (and often plaid) leisure suits.

Moms soon realized that something so durable might be just the ticket when dressing their little tykes, and it wasn’t long before kids were forced to jump on the leisurely bandwagon, complete with hip-length vests to round out the look. Look at any class picture from the era and you’re guaranteed to see a whole bunch of young tykes dressed like future weathermen.

Leisure suits never completely replaced the more formal look of a fine-tailored suit by any means. They did, however, become the garments of choice for the trendy stud on the go. Today, they are most often found on used car salesmen and in retro clothing stores, eagerly awaiting a nostalgic disco fan, ready to perform one more hustle on the dance floor of yesteryear.

If you wore a leisure suit by choice in the 70s, or if your mom forced you to wear one, we’d love to hear your recollections of this fashionable attire in our comments section below.

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