1970’s polyester lent itself incredibly well to the wild prints, bright (some would say “loud”) colors, and outlandish styles of the 70s. The skirts of maxi dresses draped nicely when done in a good poly knit, wide collars laid softly on the bodice, and screen prints took well to poly knits. Polyester can be knitted into textures such as linen, crepe, jacquard, and fine sweater-style weaves; these can add a lot of interest to a piece. Here are some that exemplify the era of 70’s polyester, some for better, and some for worse. And be sure to check out our note of interest at the bottom!
Mid-range makers such as R & K (the label for “the girl who knows clothes”) used a lot of poly knits and some woven polys, but often “dressed” them up with an interesting weave and/or design elements or embellishments. This pastel green knit dress is a good example, with a linen texture and beautiful lace appliqués:
And it seems that their well-known designers fell into following the trends with these dresses, as many designers did. Not that they aren’t nice, but we would expect more drama and originality from these labels! (But these are two opportunities to pick up desirable labels at fantastic prices.)
The 70’s also ushered in the widespread use of polyester in lingerie, a trend that continues today. Woven poly can mimic rayon or silk satin, as well as different types of silk, and taffeta. It gave a new dimension to traditional lingerie!
This dress has it all: brown and orange colorway; two, not one, crazy prints; tie collar… a quintessential 1970's polyester knit dress:
And these butt-ugly 100% poly wide ties (though we think the one on the right is pretty cool, it’s pretty awful, too), infamously unique to the era:
We'll also leave you with this interesting note: Singer/musician Jackson Browne and his pal David Lindley, on tour this summer and fall, have created a campaign, "Show Me the Polyester," which encourages fans to submit photos of themselves wearing polyester. The best dressed (or worst, depending on your POV) wins a trip and two front-row seats to see the duo's September 14 concert at New York's Beacon Theatre. Who woulda thunk?