What did men wear to formal events in the 1920s?

Updated November 21, 2016

Fashions for men and women became more informal in the freewheeling 1920s. Still, when required, gentleman of that racy decade donned classic suits that are still in style today. In the 1920s, women's fashions were influenced by the haute couture of Paris. Men's suits however, mimicked the impeccable tailoring of the London suit makers.


The 1920s tuxedo has a familiar look to modern fashionistas, since today's suit is essentially the same, except for a couple of minor variations: The trousers had a slightly higher waistline and most suits also included a vest. Tuxedos were black or midnight blue and included straight-legged trousers. The tailcoat, or tuxedo with tails, was also a popular look for the time. Tuxedos were worn with dress shirts that had attached collars and were usually white.

Dress Shoes

For formal events, men wore classic, patent leather ,black-laced shoes, with heels no more than 1 inch, the standard heel height that has carried forward to modern times. This decade also marked the first time that eyelets were dyed to match the colour of the shoe.


The black silk top hat was a must-have formalwear accessory for men in the 1920s. Just as the black patent shoes of the 1920s are still the style today, it was in the 1920s that the top hat reached its pinnacle of perfection, usually made of black silk and reaching a height of 5 inches to 6 inches.


Men's ties were made of silk or rayon, with the shape of a necktie being shorter and wider than what one would find today. A gentleman would wear a black or white tie, either a neck tie or a bow tie to complete his formal ensemble. For an extra dapper touch, a man could put a kerchief in his breast pocket, ideally one that matched his tie. A boutonnière was also an accessory that could jazz up the look.

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