1920s clothing for men

Written by james holloway Google
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1920s clothing for men
These racing fans show a variety of 1920s clothing, including suits, sporting jackets, straw boaters and fedoras. (W C Phillips/Valueline/Getty Images)

Clothing for men changed rapidly during the 1920s. Fashions evolved significantly over the decade as the narrow suits of the early post-WWI period were replaced by a wider, looser silhouette. This period saw changes in formal wear, setting trends that continued throughout the century. Sports clothing also became more commonplace.

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Suits

During the early part of the 1920s, suit jackets had high waists and were worn buttoned very high. The stand collar and winged collar for shirts declined as the familiar turned-down collar became more popular. Lapels were narrow and small. Trousers tended to be narrow, straight-legged, and short, sometimes with cuffs.

During the second half of the decade, this tight silhouette loosened. Wide, straight-legged trousers called "Oxford Bags" were popular. Jackets began to show a lower waist, and lapels widened.

Casual Wear

During the 1920s, men began to wear sporting clothes as a form of casual wear. Clothing of this type was associated with youth, particularly the stereotype of the active, sporting college man. Sweaters became part of daily wear during this period.

Short trousers were also popular. Called "knickers" or "knickerbockers," these baggy trousers ended just below the knee and were worn with long, usually patterned socks. Associated with sports such as football and golf, they were fashionable in the 1920s but gradually died out.

Formal Wear

During the 1910s, the tailcoat and white tie were the normal form of formal dress for evening occasions, but this declined in the 1920s. Morning coats were still worn for daytime formal occasions, but the dominant dress for evening social functions was the short-jacketed black tuxedo or dinner jacket, worn with a white shirt with wing collar and a black bow tie. The tailcoat and white tie were reserved only for the most formal of occasions, and were seen as old-fashioned.

Headgear

Hats and caps were standard for men in the 1920s, and going bareheaded was seen as unusual. Morning formal wear included a top hat, as did the white tie version of evening dress. Common hats for daily wear included the homburg, the broadbrimmed fedora and the shorter-brimmed trilby. Bowler hats were not as common as they had been in the 1910s. Caps were worn by children and by men doing physical labour, but were also fashionable as part of casual sporting wear for younger men.

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