As a scrawny and not particularly coordinated kid, gym class was my least favorite part of school, an experience I can sum it up in two terrifying words: dodge ball.
Except for this: there was that brief shining moment in hight school when our gym teachers decided to be hip and relevant by allowing us to choose from a range of PE options. This is how I ended up taking disco dancing twice a week for an entire semester. Talk about useful life skills!
At the time, I favored a type of silky button down shirts with bright, Art Deco inspired prints. So when I recently came across a polyester Huk-A-Poo disco shirt, it was just like Proust taking a bite of that Madeleine cookie. I was suddenly transported to a gymnasium in Pittsburgh in 1976 and Do The Hustle was on the turntable.
There was no difference, really, between men’s and women’s disco shirts. Same eye-popping prints, same oversized lapels, same silky (but definitely not silk) fabric.
There is a special vortex in the universe where Philadelphia soul music, Greg Brady and the Sears catalogue intersect. The disco shirt occurred during a fashion blip in which the lines that separate gender, race and social class were blurred, albeit temporarily.
These shirts are amazing if you didn’t live through that era and and embarrassing if you did. They are mini masterpieces with pop art patterns and eccentric color schemes, all cut with proportions that favor the fit.
And here’s the Quiana quartet that I came across last week: