Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Vintage Disco Shirts: A Trip to Funkytown

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.

vintage 1970s Huk-a-Poo shirt

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.

The era when men’s shirts could be printed with just about anything

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:

1970s mens disco shirts

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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