That Seventies Polyester

Found photo

Was there ever another decade more closely associated with a fabric than the seventies and polyester?  I have a book featuring Sears clothing from the early 1970s, and it is simply amazing how many of the clothes are made from it—pants, shirts, dresses, sweaters, coats, and suits.  At the Whittier historical association, I even found a long evening gown made from this sturdy synthetic.

Although I am a confessed natural fiber snob (if there were only cotton and silk on earth, I would get along just fine), I still can imagine the initial appeal of polyester. Since most of the fabric came in knit form, it made movement easy.  It was sold under many different brand names—Dacron, Fortrel, Kodel and Trevira—giving the illusion of variety.  A big selling point was that it was truly wash-and-wear, not needing even the touch of an iron.  It came in a huge range of colors that never faded.  No wonder that both men and women embraced this miracle fiber.

Perhaps today we might turn up our noses at this trio of women in their polyester outfits, so carefully color coordinated.  At the time, though, they fit right in.  That long (probably polyester) scarf with the Pucci-esque print worn by the woman in the middle is another seventies touch.

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