Dressing Up, Dressing Down

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suit 1992.140
suit front 1992.140
suit detail 1992.140

Glamorous leisurewear triumphed in the 1980s as sportswear became ever more influential in fashion. Simple outfits like tracksuits were worn for a variety of events, even as in this case, for semi-evening or smart party occasions. Wearers increasingly demanded comfortable clothing for all occasions, as well as ease of dressing and lack of structure. However, although often cut in a similar way to tracksuits, such leisure suits were clearly not for work or sport as they were made of luxurious velours and jerseys, decorated with beading, diamante and applique.

As with so many outfits in the 1980s, these jump suits often incorporated large shoulder pads and bold applique decoration, and in their brashness they reflected the popularity of glitzy American TV soaps such as Dynasty. This suit was worn by the Gallery of Costume's secretary for parties and smart family occasions when at home in Wilmslow, and the attached photograph shows her wearing it at a Christmas meal with her younger son.

Full item descriptions:

"leisure suit" [1992.140], South Lodge

Related Themes:

Sports and Leisure