Fashion history is rife with examples of women borrowing from menswear. Bloomers (the nineteenth-century adaption of male trousers), riding habits (adapted from men's riding habits) and the 1980s "power suit" are just a few examples. But how often do men adopt versions of womenswear? Not very often. Jean Paul Gaultier's skirts for men come to mind, but not much else. One notable exception is the 1970s platform shoe. Worn by both men and women, flamboyant 1970s platform shoes crossed gender barriers. Because of their eye-catching height, the most exotic platform shoes were worn by men under the age of thirty. Despite high prices and the necessity of re-learning to walk in platform heels as high as 5 inches, young men bought, "gold and silver, or pink and purple, or green and yellow monster shoes that rival anything their girl friends are wearing."1
Platform shoes for men were probably an extension of the early '70s revival of 1940s fashions, including feminine versions of the platform shoe. They were also one of the final expressions of the Peacock Revolution. So-called because of the proliferation of colorful menswear akin to the beautiful feathers adorning the male peacock, the late 1960s and early 1970s saw men experimenting with their dress and appearance. Men grew out their hair, wore more jewelry and donned more casual, diverse clothing. Peacock dressing ran the gamut, from men who abandoned button-up shirts and trousers for non-western caftans to men who simply added a bit more color and pattern into their wardrobe. Eclectic platform shoes could either complete an extravagant gender-bending outfit à la David Bowie, or could indicate a hesitant, but willing, interest in sartorial experimentation. These orange and brown plaid platform shoes, though eye-catching and with 3 1/2 inch heels, are on the conservative side; our pair of snakeskin platform boots occupy the opposite end of the spectrum.
Platform shoes were often paired with wide-legged pants like those pictured on the pattern package above. With or without a deep cuff, the length and width of the leg opening almost necessitated a high-heeled shoe to keep the pant leg from dragging on the ground. The variety of fabrics and style portrayed on this package accurately represent the ways in which the Peacock Revolution affected everyday masculine dress. The suggested fabric choices for the wide-legged pants and jacket encompass a variety of fabrics, from conservative pinstripe to bright red and blue plaid. With hairstyles ranging from short and slick to decidedly shaggy and a similarly diverse array of neckwear, the jaunty gentlemen portrayed on this pattern envelope are definitely enjoying the fruits of the Peacock Revolution.
1 Taylor, Angela. "The 4-inch Heel Returns--But This Time It's for Men." New York Times 19 Feb. 1972: pg. 18.