Jeans had already been rulers of the casual domain for decades, but in the 1970’s, Lee jeans wanted to update the denim blues with a more fashionable look. The company created a line of comfortable, yet durable pants and shirt jackets in double-knit polyester under the label LEEsures. This two-piece phenomenon became a much-copied trend known as the leisure suit.
The leisure suit was modern dressing: it offered both a chic, casual look and a casual, chic look. What? Exactly. The leisure suit was the answer for all your dressing dilemmas.
A snappy two-piece suit, the leisure suit was a casual competitor of the traditional grey flannel. The leisure suit featured double-knit polyester construction and a ‘shirt-jacket,’ a casual jacket that fit like a shirt but could pass as a jacket. It was marketed as the new suit, acceptable in business and the disco alike. No more stuffy wool, no more constrictive neckties: the open-necked, wide-collared polyester shirt replaced the crisp cotton style of yesteryear.
And don’t be underdone in flares and flip-flops: in its double-knit polyester give, the leisure suit was just as comfy as the old t-shirt and jeans. And the new polyester construction offered something no other fabric could claim: according to an ad, polyester could be worn up for 67 days without washing or ironing, yet still maintain its crisp appearance. No wonder moms loved the leisure suit. It was both casual and fancy wear for the kids, too: in addition to the shirt jacket, there was also a hip-length vest that gave that oh, so casual look.
While the leisure suit never made it into the boardroom, it did become a very suave after-work ensemble. Leisure suits are staying alive on disco die-hards and bad used car salesmen. Thanks to the miraculous material, leisure suits will never die. Literally. We’re not kidding. You can’t hurt it, rip it, tear it, stain it, or shred it. Just don’t burn it, because it will melt.
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