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Count your blessings that disco didn’t survive the ‘70s

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POSTED April 30, 2013 1:35 a.m.

Bell bottom pants. Flare-leg pants. Men’s rayon tie scarves. Polyester suits.

Hit songs such as “Kung Fu Fighting,” “Get Down Tonight,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “The Hustle,” and “Fly, Robin, Fly.”

What were we thinking?

The 1970s were an interesting time to be a teen.

It also makes me wonder why people pine for the good old days.

While I admit to owning a powder blue polyester jacket and flare leg rustic orange cords, I’ll concede it was a short association. There is something hideously unnatural about wearing polyester and rayon. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the material didn’t breathe. Oftentimes after a couple of times being worn the material took on the shine as if the clothing had been worn by a boozer on a seven-day drunk.

To be honest, I’ve tried to forget my generation’s questionable contributions to music and dress.

That was until a week ago when some of us were reminiscing before the start of a group exercise class at In Shape City. No offense meant, but at age 57 I have a hard time imagining someone else about my age who once wore hip high boots and miniskirts or Angel Flight jeans. Granted they probably looked cool in the day, on the other hand, I know I didn’t. Most guys I knew back then could pull off the John Travolta look to some degree dancing to “Saturday Night Fever.”  I was more like a less cool – and more klutzy – version of Fez from “That 70s Show” who looked like I was dancing to the “Disco Duck.”

It took me perhaps two months to decide I was anything but hip wearing disco era-inspired clothing.  I wised up before I was stupid enough to buy platform shoes. My brother, of course, had to have them. I remember when he was in the eighth grade in the late 1960s and he just had to spend a month’s worth of his earnings from two paper routes to buy Beatle Boots with Cuban heels from Flagg Brothers.

Of course, every generation has its flash-in-the-pan fashion trends. Anyone remember zoot suits from the 1940s? Their waist lines made waders look like hip huggers. The trousers had wide legs – think clown pants – with tight cuffs. Topping it off was a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders.

Adults thought teens were being enticed with music by the devil himself – a young Frank Sinatra.

It’s almost humorous to think back to times when the likes of Sinatra and Elvis Presley were considered by some adults as degenerates due to their dress and music.

And even though I’ll be the first to question the sanity of disco clothing, I’ll defend disco attire any day against fashion trends that of late have had staying power way beyond the teen years – guys wearing girls’ pants and sagging pants.

One would think by the time you’re pushing 30 you would have moved on or at least found a pair of pants that don’t drag halfway to the ground, or wear T-shirts that aren’t big enough to accommodate the Mamas and the Papas complete with Momma Cass.

As for the girls’ jeans on guys, for the life of me I can’t figure out why it has survived as a hot fashion for as long as it has. But then again was John Travolta’s pants – or Tom Jones’ attire for that matter – much different?

You would have thought Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck (to those under 40, I’m not making that name up) would have shed the tight pants long before they did and especially after they packed on the pounds.

But then again who in their right mind back in the 1960s thought Mick Jagger would be doing the same gig today at age 69 with people forking over up to $630 for concert tickets to see him strut around stage wearing skin tight clothes while still singing that he can’t get no satisfaction?

On the flipside, those who grew up rocking out to Mick won’t be around to see whether Justin Bieber will dress the same when he hits the big 7-0 or whether fans will pay $6,000 a ticket to hear him sing.

Where’s Jerry Garcia when you need him?

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.

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