Fashion for men in the 1920s was not known for its individualism. There were designated times when a man was supposed to wear a suit, a flannel shirt, and so on. Most men did not deviate from these societal “uniforms.” When looking at pictures of large crowds of men from the 1920s it is strikingly obvious how similarly most men dressed.But the lack of individuality certainly didn’t equate to a lack of elegance and design. Men in the 1920s were arguably the best dressed men in the history of mankind.
Custom tailoring was extremely important. Clothes that were too loose, too short or too long were looked down upon. When a man bought a suitcoat or pair of pants, he always had them hemmed to the proper fit, with or without cuffs.
Attention to detail was another trademark of 1920s clothing. No stitch should be out of place. The wardrobe was a collection of several layers from the fur felt hat to the leather lace Oxfords.
Working men wore rubber overcoats over top of denim overalls with a flannel shirt underneath.
For public outings, suits were the proper choice for men and boys alike. Suits were typically wool or a wool-mixed Cheviot. A white dress shirt was worn under the coat with a tie and, in colder climates, some wore a cricket sweater on top of the dress shirt. Bow ties were worn, but not as much as standard silk or rayon ties.
It was very common for boys to wear short pants that stopped at the knee called “knickers.” In addition to the knickers, most suits also came with full length pants called “longies.” Pinstripes were the most common look on boys suits. Because the hat and suit were either gray, brown, tan or black, and the shirt was white, color was achieved with a tie and handkerchief.
A typical man’s suit would look like this: two-button, single breasted collegiate model, with softly rolled lapels, pockets and alpaca lining. The accompanying trousers would be a two-button wide waistband, with wide belt loops and tailored bottoms. Generally the pants and the coat would match, color and pattern. For an extra dressy look, the matching vest was a smart choice.
Jackets and Coats
When it got cold, men wore overcoats that reached just below the knee. They were thick and very warm, typically made of wool. Plaid was a popular design as was plain black, gray, blue-gray and several shades of brown.
Tailored in the new, three button, double breasted style with two warm, deep side pockets, protected with flaps to keep out rain and snow, at times that material was so heavy lining was unnecessary.
Men also loved leather jackets, with or without a fur collar. They would button up the front, usually had two pockets and sometimes also had a built-in belt around the midriff. They were often fur lined and came in brown and black.
Work Pants and Breeches
Pants known as breeches were one style that never really enjoyed a comeback. They look similar to jockey pants, breeches are quite baggy around the thighs, then they get really tight just below the knee and stop. They were usually worn with boots that came to the top of the calf. Designed for outdoor sports and work, these unusual looking pants were made from wool-mixed Army cloth or moleskin and had double side saddle guards at the knees.
There were several styles of hats men had to choose from in the 1920s. The most popular include the collegiate style, the wide Carlsbad style, the Havelock style, the coney fur style and the newsboy hat.
Most were made from either fur felt, velour, wool felt, fur or corduroy.
See for yourself with our collection of 1920s men’s fashion pictures below.