(A look back at some of the things we used to wear in the 70’s)
Paul Fitzpatrick: London, March 2022
Satin Bomber Jackets
I had a beer with a couple of old mates recently and as well as catching up on life we started reminiscing, as you do, about ‘the good old days’.
We were talking specifically about the early days that bonded us, of going to nightclubs and bars when we were 16, the daft stuff we used to get up to and sadly about an absent friend.
In amongst the blether one of the lads reminded us of a story I’d long since forgotten and which prompted me to do this piece.
I’m not sure where the ‘look’ came from exactly but in Autumn 1974 a crowd of us decided that heading into a Scottish winter, wearing satin bomber jackets would be a good idea.
Maybe it was the influence of Glam Rock or Mr Jagger strutting his stuff on TOTP but whatever it was it certainly added a bit of glamour to our wardrobes.
Primarily there were two bomber jacket themes available.
American Collegiate or decorative Oriental… you pays your money and took your choice.
We had a mix of both in our little clique and thought we looked the part as we made our way on the blue buses into Glasgow to find bars we could get into before descending upon Clouds (soon to become the Apollo) nightclub.
This one night pre-Clouds, we popped into a Chinese restaurant for a quick fix of spare ribs where one of the waiters took an interest in our jackets and made a point of going round the group to explain what the embroidered Chinese motifs meant….
“Ah, the symbol on your jacket is a Tiger this represents tremendous courage & great bravery“
Then on to the next one…
“The symbol on yours my friend is a Fire Dragon, this signifies outstanding virtues like honesty & patience”
He continued, explaining the meaning of each motif until he came to one jacket, took a double take and started laughing, he scurried off before returning, colleagues in-tow, pointing at the jacket… where upon they all started laughing too.
As fate would have it, the jacket in question belonged to our pal Cubby who always dressed immaculately and who took the term ‘pride in your appearance‘ to a whole new level.
To say he was slightly taken aback would be a huge understatement.
You see, Cubby, meticulous as ever, had deliberated long and hard before selecting this jet-black satin bomber with elaborate oriental embroidery.
Every buying decision he made was considered and this one was no exception. The jacket in question had been hand-picked to ensure it looked just right with his patchwork jeans, Simon shirt and highly polished footwear.
Flummoxed, he asked the waiter to explain what was so funny, but this just made him laugh more…. and the more Cubby pushed for a response, the harder he laughed.
We went back the following week hoping to find out what was so funny but as soon as the waiter saw Cubby and his jacket again, he started sniggering.
Befuddled, Cubby refused to go back to the restaurant whilst he was wearing the jacket, and we never did find out what had them rolling in the aisles of the Lucky Star.
The satin jackets prevailed for a few more months with our parents stating the obvious “you’ll catch your death of cold” every-time we ventured out the house.
The nature of trends dictates that eventually most ‘looks’ filter down into the mass-market and when we started to see cheaper versions of the jackets being sold and worn, we knew it was time to move on to our next fashion faux pas, whatever that was.
So, satin bomber jackets are the first entry into our equivalent of the ‘Victoria & Albert Museum of – What We Used To Wear‘, with further examples of 70s attire and footwear to follow.
Thanks to Jim Martin for rekindling the memories of those good times spent with himself, Mick Irvine, Hugh Kinnaird, Brian Cuthbertson, Joe Hunter and others.