Archives For Suits

1950s men’s fashion is an era that most men want to draw style inspiration from. Fashion style of this decade is often summarized into 4 CS – casualness, correctness, comfort, and color.

When WWII started in 1939, fabric rationing began. During this time, men’s fashion was focused on functionality rather than style. Clothing was very simple. Some changes were made in men’s fashion in an attempt to prevent fabric wastage. But as soon as the war ended, people became more adventurous with their clothing choices. This brought on a significant change in 1950s men’s fashion.

By the end of the 1940s, men’s fashion was given a new direction. Designers infused new life into the men’s clothing with their wider color palette, tailoring, textiles, and styling. This was carried over to 1950s men’s fashion.

If you are curious to know how men dressed in the 50s, then keep reading. Here, we’ll give you a glimpse into the fashion of the 1950s and together, let’s take a look at the changes that took places in the fashion world throughout the years.

Shirts

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Dress shirts of the 50s came in a variety of colors and materials. With the end of the fabric ration, designers were free to experiment with fabrics, styles, and colors. Unlike the dress shirts of the previous decade, men’s 50s dress shirts were made of more comfortable, breathable fabric. Also, collars were no longer starched. They were still considered as the shirts of choice for formal wear, but they were no longer as stiff and constricting as the ones they previously wore.

Men’s shirts in the 50s were no longer limited to formal dress shirts. In fact, men were given several classic styles to choose from for their day-to-day outfits. Although men were still expected to wear button down dress shirts in the office and in formal occasions, they have the option to wear more casual shirts like polo shirts, bowling shirts, plaid, classic white shirts or the Hawaiian shirts. These shirts are still seen in our current, everyday fashion.

Classic white shirts

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The classic white shirts were first introduced in the 1940s as an undergarment. These shirts were worn under a sports shirt. But a 1951 movie entitled “A Streetcar Named Desire”, which stars Marlo Brandon gave the classic white shirt a public debut. Due to the success of the movie, young men started wearing the white shirt in public.

Although this was frowned upon by the older, more conservative men, younger men embraced the white shirt because of how comfortable it is. Many of them also opted for tight-fitting shirts as it gave them a chance to show off their muscular physique.

On casual days, you’d often see men wearing a white shirt paired with denim jeans. This was one of the biggest trends of the 50s. Since then, men were rarely seen wearing trousers, unless they were  on a business meeting or on a formal occasion.

Suits and sports coat

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1950s men’s suits are a classic in the world of men’s fashion. During this era, suits were loose and plain in shape. But what sets it apart from the suits of the previous era is that they were made from textured fabrics like curdoroy, flannel, tweed, and wool. They also used fabrics with patterns such as plaid and checks.

During the latter half of the decade, suits became more fitted. In fact, suits became slimmer, narrower, and more fitted. Colors, at first, were conservative. Gray and black were the universal colors. Others would wear clothing in shades of blue or brown on some occasions. But halfway through the decade, men’s clothing embraced the 4 Cs – casualness, correctness, comfort, and color.

When the political unease subsided by the mid 50s, men embraced colors, patterns, and textures. Hence, the rise in popularity of sports coat.

Vest

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During the 1940s, vests were no longer used as it was seen as an unnecessary luxury. Hence, the 3-piece suit became the 2-pc suit. During the 1950s, however, the vest became popular once again. Men would wear vests by itself or under a suit or sports coat. It has been one of the most popular pieces of clothing due to its versatility.

Some businessmen would wear a vest or a sweater when they weren’t wearing a suit. They wear a vest over their dress shirt with a tie. This was considered as the casual business look.

Pants

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1950s men’s pants featured a high waist up to the belly button with a sharp center crease. They were looser as compared to the pants we know of today.  But by the end of the decade, they were moving towards that direction.

Just like the suits, pants were made from textured fabrics such as nubby wool, tweed, curdoroy, and flannel. Brushed cotton and linen were also trendy during the 50s. Pants in the 50s usually came in solid colors. Popular colors for formal pants include tan, gray, chocolate brown, and blue. For more casual occasions, men opt for lighter and more vibrant colors like rust, light blue, maroon, teal, and teal.

As compared to the previous eras, 1950s men’s fashion was more relaxed. In fact, there was some flexibility with casual wear. It was during this decade when denim jeans were introduced. Back then, denim jeans were high-waisted, wide-legged, and cuffs rolled. The pants were really simple.

Hats

 

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Popular hats of the 40s like the Fedora hat returns in the 50s. These hats, however, came with simpler, more refined style.

Unlike the previous decades, hats were no longer considered as a key aspect of men’s fashion. But men like Frank Sinatra kept the Fedora hat alive a little longer. His brim fedora made a lasting impression on the hat industry. Unfortunately, this old hat style went out of fashion by the end of the 1950s. In fact, this has been the last decade that men wore hats in their everyday style.

Let’s face it. The 1930s fashion was a hard act to follow, but the 1940s is still a brilliant decade when it comes to style. The 1940s men’s fashion was heralded as the last decade of elegance. It signalled a dramatic shift in men’s clothing.

It was during this era when practical styles began. Clothes were simpler to conserve material. But once the war ended, men became more daring and experimental with their fashion choices. Extravagant clothing rose into popularity once again. It signalled the end of fabric rationing.

Despite the hardships of WWII, there were still some flamboyant styles by the end of the decade. Once the war was over, men were able to cut loose. This is especially true in terms of fashion. They were in a celebratory mood due to their victory, and it was reflected on the clothes they wear. They went on to experiment with style and color as never before. The result was tailored, stylish, and fabulous clothing.

If you’re interested to know what men wore during the 1940s, then we urge you to read on. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through 1940s men’s fashion and see how it differs from the style reflected in other decades.

Shirts

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Most dress shirts were made from cotton, with a large, pointed collar attached to them. During this era, dress shirts were the most versatile option. They would wear the dress shirt with suits or by itself with a pair of slacks. Dress shirts were worn tucked in. White and blue were the popular colors for formal and office wear.

After the hardships of the war, strict dress codes became impossible to implement. Men were tired of wearing confining suits and scratchy uniforms. They were finally free to experiment with their clohting, especially in terms of cut, style, and color. Post war casualness opened the flood gates for men’s sportswear, as well as Hawaiian-style shirts.

For a more casual look, men would forgo the dress shirt. An open collar sports shirt is worn in its place. Typically, sports shirts have two large patch chest pockets. This type of shirt is often worn with the top button undone. Unfortunately, it isn’t very common in our modern wardrobe.

Hawaiian-style shirts are another trend that became popular during this decade. The shirts come with big, colorful, and cheery prints such as fruits, flowers, and fishes. This is exactly the type of clothing they needed after the dark years of the WWII. This is the type of shirt men usually wear in beaches. Surprisingly, the Hawaiian shirt has remained in use to this day.

Suits

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For most of the 1940s, most working middle class men wore suits almost every day. They wore suits to work, business dinners, and in formal events.

War rationing caused a significant change in men’s suits. Once the war started in 1939, suits became 2-piece as the vest was deemed an unnecessary extravagance. Also, suits and trousers became more tailored in the hopes of saving on material.

During this time, materials like wool were unavailable since they were used in the production of military uniforms. With the lack of materials for the production of day-to-day clothing, synthetic rayon with wool was used to make suits. Also, men’s suits became limited to dark colors such as black, charcoal, and navy. Zoot suits were also banned due to over-abundant materials used.

Once the war was over, men’s suit became liberated. Single or double-breasted suits with notched lapels, three buttons, and pronounced shoulders became a 1940s men’s fashion trend for formal and office wear.

Pants

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Unlike the wide-legged pants that were popular in the 30s, trousers became more tailored in the ‘40s to save on material. The WWII fabric ration forced designers to focus on basic clothing that are simple and practical. Their pants were still high-waisted and held up with suspenders or a belt, but trouser pleats and cuffs were removed so as to prevent wastage of materials.

On casual occasions, however, men opted for plain blue or brown trousers. During this decade, clothing in blue and brown were considered semi-casual.

Later on, men became bold enough to try clothing they were forbidden to wear during the war. The Zoot Suit that was frowned upon during the war became a huge influence to post-war clothing. Wide-legged, double-pleated pants became popular by the latter half of the decade. Pants with patterns like pinstripes, windowpanes, herringbones, and checks also became a trend by end of the ‘40s.

Neckties

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No suit would be complete without a necktie. Ties were still worn during the ’40s, but they were more narrow and subdued during the war. When the war ended, the ties became available in almost every color imaginable. Ties with bold patterns and art deco prints also became popular. Popular patterns were wide stripes, dots, plaid, monogram, curly lines and geometric shapes.

Ties also became wider again after the war. During this decade, neckties ranged from a standard 3.5-inch to 5-inch wide tie. Bow ties were still worn during this 1940s, but were less popular.

Other accessories

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Accessories were crucial to the dapper gentlemen throughout the decade. Hats and shoes didn’t change all that much in 1940s men’s fashion. The much-loved Fedora still remained to be the head wear of choice. In fact, it was worn by everyone from businessmen to gangsters. Even President Roosevelt wore the strong, stylish hat. The classic wingtip that rose into popularity in the 1920s was still worn by men even after the war broke out.

Belt and suspenders were also worn during this decade. Suspenders were especially popular during the war since all the leather used to make belts went to the war effort.  However, the sales of suspenders greatly declined over the decade.

When it comes to accessories, a pair of wingtip shoes, fedora hat, pocket square, belt and a good necktie is all you need to complete your look.

The Great Depression of 1929 had a huge effect, not only on the economy, but also in 1930s men’s fashion. Fashion took a backseat during this decade due to the lack of financial stability. The lack of money showed up in their everyday fashion. People can no longer afford tailored clothing. This is the era where ready-to-wear clothing was introduced.

As compared to the Roaring Twenties, fashion sense during this decade showcased a more relaxed silhouette, less formal and less extravagant clothing. Despite the economic hardships, many young, dapper men didn’t let their personal style go away. In fact, this particular era brought on some of the most dramatic changes in men’s fashion.

1930s was the era of men’s classic clothing. Those who couldn’t afford to dress elegantly observed the style choices of those who can afford to partake in the fashion world. Once they bounced back from the Great Depression, people became more inspired to express themselves through their clothing. This gave rise to the classic attire like tuxedos, full-cut trousers, and double-breasted suits, which are still popular with in today’s men’s fashion.

If you’re intrigued by the 1930s men’s fashion and you’re looking to put together a 1930s-inspired ensemble for a themed event you’ll be attending in the coming weeks, then we urge you to read on.

In this blog post, we’ll give you glimpse into the 1930s men’s fashion and teach you exactly how they dressed during this era.

Dress shirts and sweaters

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Dress shirts in the 30s are actually very similar with what we have today. Clean, pressed, button-down shirts were a staple in 1930s men’s fashion. The style was fashionable, but less formal than the style that was favored during the last decade.

It was during this decade when polo shirts were introduced. Men wanted more comfortable pieces of clothing, and actually liked the idea of wearing a top made of soft fabric. While more casual than dress shirts, younger men find it appealing. The polo shirt quickly rose into popularity and they haven’t left the fashion world since then.

Blue collar workers wore casual, simple pieces of clothing during their workdays. Most housewives would spend their free time knitting sweaters for their husbands. Eventually, sweaters were no longer seen as the clothing of the lower class. By the mid-1930s, young men were seen wearing knitted double-breasted sweaters and it actually became a trendy piece. People saw it as a refined fashion element.

Pants

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1930s trousers came in navy blue, brown, and gray. During this time, pants in dark colors were deemed more acceptable. Trousers in vibrant colors, however, were seen to be in bad taste. Later on, men wore patterned pants such as stripes, windowpane, tweed, check, and plaid. Patterned pants became acceptable for both casual and business wear.

During the Roaring Twenties, men wore wide leg trousers. In the 30s, however, men’s trousers were wide at the hip and tapered down the legs. The pants were high-waisted to add to the illusion of having broad shoulders and a small waist. It was during the 30s when men started wearing full-cut trousers.

Suits

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During this decade, the athletic body seen in boxers and superheroes like Captain America and Superman became the ideal men’s shape. They realized that clothes are meant to enhance the male physique rather than hide the natural lines of the body.

Because of this, everything about the 1930s suit is wide – wide, elongated lapels and broad shoulder. This is done to create the illusion of a larger torso. A lot of men even wore shoulder pads to make their shoulders look broader than they really are. The waist, however, is pinched to create the illusion of a smaller waist.

During the early 30s, suits in solid colors were the norm. Later on, suits with distinctive patterns such as stripes, checks, and plaids became a hit. While men of the 30s were known to be fashionable, many of them don’t seem to be bothered by the idea of wearing mismatched suits and pants. In fact, a dark jacket over light-colored pants has been a trademark of 1930s men’s fashion.

Several other suits came to the forefront in the latter parts of the decade. For instance, the double-breasted suit made its mark during this period. Thanks to its distinguishing characteristics, it quickly became everyone’s favorite – from Hollywood elite to royalty. This is not surprising considering that this type of suit embodied both elegance and authority.

Hats

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1930s ensemble wouldn’t be complete without a hat. Boater, bowler, Homburg, Fedora, and walker are some of the most popular men’s hats of the 30s.

The straw boater hat is one of those hats that were carried over from the 20s. This hat was worn during the summer as well as in sporting events. However, it diminished in popularity by the end of the decade. The Fedora is one of the most popular hats of the decade. They are available in solid, dark colors and are often see in Hollywood movies, worn by gangsters and handsome detectives. Homburg is slightly more formal than the Fedora. This is the hat preferred by most gangsters.

Accessories

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The 1930s was a wild and colorful time in men’s neck ties. During this era, bow ties and scarf ties were no longer used. Men’s neckwear was only limited to silk ties.

Silk ties came in a variety of colors and styles. Often, you’ll find neck ties embellished with multiple colors of pin dots, large dots, check, plaids, and horizontal stripes. During the early years, blues, peach, yellow, and earthy greens were acceptable. During the later years, however, neck ties in vibrant colors were preferred.

Final thoughts

1930s men’s fashion was extremely conservative during the early parts of the decade due to the great depression. Fortunately, they were able to recover, which led to less restricted ideas in men’s fashion.  In the later years of the decade, they welcomed a return to a more stable economy, which allowed more freedom of expression in men’s fashion.

1920s was the life of glam and luxury. The fashion of the era reflected the people’s liberated minds and luxurious lifestyles. 1920s men’s fashion can be summed up as men wearing dark suits or tuxedos with silver cigarette cases, walking sticks, and black or white fedora hats.

Although many decades have passed, almost everyone still recognizes the style. In fact, it has influenced present day fashion more than any other era. Up until today, men wear suits in the corporate setting as well as in formal events. The dark suits worn during the era don’t look too different form the modern suits.

If you want an excellent reference to 1920s men’s fashion, you should watch Boardwalk Empire. The historical accuracy brings the show back to life. The wardrobe designer produced several pieces of suits using fabrics recreated from the 1920s garments and even used patterns from the era.

Let’s take a closer look at 1920s men’s fashion.

Men’s shirts

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White dress shirts were the norm during early 1920s. They wear them with suits and ties. To make their look more classy and formal, dress shirts and collars were starched stiff. Young men, college students, and the working class, on the other hand, wore casual, long-sleeved shirts.

During the World War I, men were issued soft shirts with detachable collars. Eventually, they became used to the ease and comfort of the soft shirts and decided that they wanted to do away with the plain and rigid outfits. They abandoned the highly formal attire and began wearing more comfortable clothes instead. The conservative men wanted to keep the stiff collar in 1920s men’s fashion. The formal look remained until the end of the decade, but their clothing became more relaxed than before.

The 1920s is the era when men’s dress shirts saw an explosion of color. Solid colored dress shirts became acceptable. White collar workers, however, preferred lighter colors such as whites and nudes for formal suits. This was regarded as a sign of financial status. Blue collar workers, on the other hand, opted for darker colors so the shirts won’t easily get stained or dirty. Later on, the striped shirts were introduced. The trend continued towards the late 20s. Although more casual styles began appearing, formality still ruled in 1920s men’s fashion.

Suits and Sportcoats

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The suit plays an essential role in 1920s men’s fashion. Black or midnight blue suits were the preferred dress for almost every occasion. It is the one item of clothing men wore on almost a daily basis. They wore 3-piece suits in parties, dinners, business calls and in the office.

Since they wear them on a daily basis, the upperclassmen own a closet full of suits. They wore the best suit they can afford. Many of them were tailored and handcrafted to the owner. Others even order suits by the dozens. They have suits of every color, style, and material. The only ones who don’t wear a suit were college men, teenagers, athletes, and blue collar workers. Manual labor was very hard, so it wouldn’t be practical for them to wear suits. They wear sturdy denims and canvas overalls at work. Although they dress more casually, each of them own a suit. They wear them to church on Sundays, and do so with pride.

Since wool and dark-colored suits are too hot to wear in summer, men turned to linen suits or light flannel seersucker during the warmer weather. They also started wearing loose, patterned coats by the mid-20s.

Pants

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1920s men’s fashion was a whirlwind of fashion trends. It marks the decade of crazy pants. At the beginning of the decade, suit pants were plain-colored and slim. They were fit high on the waist, and the waist bands were held up with button suspenders.  By the mid-20s, men opted for looser, more relaxed clothing. Wide leg pants have been a fashion staple.

Knickerbockers are another type of pants that became popular during this decade. They are baggy trousers that fit low on the waist and whose legs are gathered just below the knee. The ends are constrained, giving it a ballooned appearance. It was the popular sportswear for wealthy gentlemen. However, the trend was replaced as quickly as it came in. Knickers gave way to the wide-legged oxford bags.

Oxford bags are loosely fitted pants. They feature extremely wide legs that measure between 22 to 40 inches wide. The style supposedly originated when the knickers where banned from the classrooms in Ivy League schools. The oxford bags stuck around for the rest of the 20s.

Over the span of just 10 years, men’s pants grew from skinny jazz trousers to wide-leg to oversized Oxford bags.

Hats

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The top hat was first worn by the haberdasher John Hetherington in 1797, but it was only during the 1850s when the top hat really took off. It became the fashion rage when Prince Albert wore it in public. After this, it became an everyday hat. Men started wearing it regularly.

During the late 20s, casual hats rose into popularity. Panamas, straw boater hat, and the 8 panel newsboy cap became popular with men. Every occasion called for a hat to match their outfit.  They even wear different hats for different seasons. Longhorns, panamas, straw boaters, and linen flat caps are the best choices for warm summers. Men wore conservative clothing in the winter, and completed their looks with fedoras, derbies, and bowlers.

Since then, they only wore the top hat in formal occasions like dances, weddings, political gatherings, and when doing business. It became the hat for formal wear for another 50 years.

Other accessories

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Men didn’t wear jewelries in the Roaring 20s, but they tried to incorporate some accessories to add dimension to their look. Suspenders, knit ties, as well as walking sticks earned popularity. The twenties men also donned bow ties and were paired with pocket squares. Colorful ties with wide stripes and small patterns were also common in the 1920s. The pocket square doesn’t always have to match the necktie or bow tie, but make sure that it coordinates with at least one color in it.