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HOLLENBECK: Fashion gurus would be wise to leave 1970s styles to history

November 12, 2012

I don't remember what I was doing or where I was, but I do know what was said: In a conversation involving several people, someone recently said she had heard that the fashion industry planned to revive fashions of the 1970s.
Deliver me from this happening, please.
Fashions do make their entrance, bow out and return in another decade, but the '70s? Clothes were ugly then.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, just look at retro TV shows and you'll understand.
We're talking polyester. Leisure suits. Wide-legged jeans. Colors that make you gag.
Most of my mental images do not portray a pretty picture.
If you look back at 1940s fashions, you see pretty, feminine stuff that made women look like — well, women. Not some comic figures that could be extracted from 1970s lore.
Fashions of the '70s actually began with a continuation of the '60s mini-skirts, bell bottoms and the hippie look. It was characterized by several distinct fashion trends that have left an indelible image of the decade commemorated in popular culture.
Included were platform shoes, which, of course, I have to concede already have reappeared. They started around 1971 and often had soles two to four inches thick. Both men and women wore them. And on men, they were a weird sight indeed.
Wide-legged, flared jeans and trousers were another fashion mainstay for both sexes throughout most of the decade, which has immortalized in the 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever" starring John Travolta.
It was the "disco look," complete with three-piece suits for men and rayon or jersey wrap dresses for women, which the film further popularized, lasting until it was gradually replaced by punk fashion and straight, cigarette-legged jeans.
Platform shoes gave way to mules and ankle-strapped shoes, both reminiscent of the 1940s, toward the end of the decade.
If I'm honest, I should admit that I could probably find a lot of this stuff in one of my closets if I were to persevere the search long enough, but I'd rather be spared the pleasure.
I have one closet that basically has stuff I've relegated to costume status. And the only place I'd want 1970s wear to be is on stage, that's for certain.
Once in a while, during a purging, I've gotten rid of some things I've later regretted. A classic example is the three-piece, black velvet pantsuit I tossed during one of those grit-my-teeth-and-get-rid-of-it moments several years back.
At the time I pitched it, I was absolutely certain I'd never wear the outfit again. It had hung there long enough to gather dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds and it was definitely out of style.
The blazer was long and fitted and the pants had wide, flared legs. I knew this get-up NEVER could be fashionable again.
Foolish, foolish Lynda. This outfit would have been appropriate several times after its removal. If nothing else, I could have put it on to sing "Cabaret" because it definitely had the Liza look that is so Broadway-ish, or it would have been a great suit for wearing as the pianist du jour for an event.
It wasn't exactly Liberace-like — no where nearly that gaudy — but classy just the same. Wisdom cometh after a fall, it would seem.
I've said it before, but will again: I think I'll have to pass up hot pants if there should be a revival of this style.
For some things, once really is enough.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com

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