leisure suit

Today, I would like to salute the leisure suit, a huge success of the 1970s.

Not long ago, I found one in my closet, hiding somewhere between my tie-died shirts and my bell-bottomed jeans. I still love it, but my wife never lets me wear it to weddings.

This incredibly versatile outfit (shirt-like jacket and matching slack) dominated men’s wear. Guys hoped this fashion – which didn’t require a tie – would replace business suits.

Some men who chose leisure suits gave away all their ties. That’s because the leisure suit allowed you to open the collar of the stylish, long-collared shirt you wore underneath.

Those shirts were breath-taking. I had one shirt depicting the life cycle of a butterfly. Another came in a striking paisley print.

A third shirt — the one I still wear — is bright green and actually glows in the dark. I really love it, because it helps me find my house keys at night.

Leisure suits also came in vivid fluorescent shades, and some colors not found in nature. However, men could still generally find an open-collared shirt to match those suits.

Today, you’ll see many of these outrageous outfits at garage sales, often priced at “Make me any offer.”

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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.

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