In the 1920s, men's fashion saw a shift away from the formal, stuffy styles of the previous decades and toward a more relaxed, casual look. This was largely due to the influence of the Jazz Age, a period of social, cultural, and artistic dynamism that marked the end of World War I and the beginning of a new era of prosperity.
In this blog post, we will explore what was men’s fashion in the 1920s, what influenced the shift in men’s 1920s fashion, examples of what men would wear in the 1920s as well as myths surrounding 1920s men’s fashion.
- 1920s men’s fashion brought an age of unique looks, casual wear became normalized in North American culture, and splashes of colour were introduced more frequently in men’s outfits.
- There were several global events, cultural shifts, and economic changes that influenced men’s fashion in the 1920s.
- Several misconceptions exist centered around styles, hats, and items that men would wear in the 1920s.
So What Was Men’s Fashion in The 1920s?
During the 1920s, men's clothing became more fitted and streamlined, with a focus on comfort and ease of movement. The suits of the time featured narrow lapels, high-waisted pants, and a tapered silhouette that hugged the body.
The popular colors for suits were neutral tones such as gray, brown, and navy, with the occasional pop of brighter colors such as green, red, or yellow.
In addition to suits, men in the 1920s also wore sportswear for more casual occasions. This included knitted sweaters, lounge coats, and golf jackets, all made from lightweight, breathable materials such as linen, silk, and cotton.
The iconic "Ivy League" look, characterized by button-down shirts, khaki pants, and loafers, also emerged during this time and remains popular to this day.
Accessories were an important part of the 1920s men's wardrobe. Hats were especially popular, with fedoras, newsboy caps, and bowlers being some of the most common styles. Ties were also an important accessory, often made from silk and featuring bold patterns and bright colors.
Overall, the fashion of the 1920s for men was characterized by a focus on comfort, ease, and individualism, reflecting the social and cultural changes of the time.
How Did Men’s Fashion Change in The 1920s?
The 1920s saw a dramatic shift in men's fashion, characterized by a move away from the formal, restrictive styles of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This was caused by several pivotal factors and events that were occurring during this period of time.
Let’s explore the major events and factors that influenced men’s fashion in the 1920s:
World War I
The end of World War I marked a shift away from the somber and restrictive clothing of the war years, and towards more relaxed and comfortable styles. Men wanted to break free from the constraints of the past and embrace a new era of freedom and optimism.
The Rise of Youth Fashion
The 1920s saw the emergence of a new generation of young people, who sought to differentiate themselves from their parents and establish their own style and identity. This led to a rejection of traditional styles and an embrace of new, bolder fashions.
The Growth of The Middle Class
The expansion of the middle class in the 1920s led to a greater demand for affordable, ready-to-wear clothing. This put pressure on manufacturers to produce stylish, fashionable clothing at a lower cost, leading to new, mass-produced styles.
Changes in technology
Advances in textile production, tailoring techniques, and transportation allowed for new styles to be produced more quickly and cheaply, making fashion more accessible to a wider range of people.
The influence of Hollywood
The rise of Hollywood and the film industry had a major impact on fashion, as movie stars and celebrities set new trends and influenced what people wore. The glamorous and exciting world of Hollywood provided a stark contrast to the conservative styles of the past and inspired people to embrace a more modern and daring look.
1920s Men’s suits
In the 1920s, men's suits were tailored to fit the body more closely, with a slimmer and accurately fitting silhouette. The jackets had a narrow lapel, often with a peak lapel that came to a point at the top of the jacket.
The jackets were buttoned higher on the waist, giving the appearance of a longer torso and a more athletic build.
Fabrics used for suits in the 1920s were typically lightweight and breathable, such as linen, wool, or cotton. Solid colors such as gray, brown, navy, and black were popular, as were pinstripes, herringbone patterns, and checks.
Some suits also featured bolder colors and patterns, such as bright reds, greens, and yellows, reflecting the playful and adventurous spirit of the Jazz Age.
Overall, the 1920s men's suits were a departure from the boxy, formal styles of the past, offering a more fitted and comfortable look that reflected the changing social and cultural landscape of the time.
1920s Men’s Pants & Trousers
men's pants and trousers underwent a significant change in style. The high-waisted, tapered silhouette of the pants was in stark contrast to the baggy, drop-crotch pants of the previous decade.
The trousers were snug at the hip and thigh, flaring slightly at the knee to allow for ease of movement. They were also much shorter than pants in previous eras, with the bottoms of the pants often stopping just above the ankle to show off the latest styles of shoes.
Materials used for pants in the 1920s were lightweight and breathable, such as cotton, linen, or wool. Solid colors, such as gray, brown, navy, and black, were popular, as were stripes and plaid patterns.
Trousers were often paired with matching jackets to complete the suit, and suspenders were commonly worn to keep the trousers in place.
In addition to formal trousers, men in the 1920s also wore sportswear for more casual occasions. This included knickerbockers, which were knee-length pants with a loose, baggy fit, and plus fours, which were even shorter pants that stopped just above the knee.
These styles were made from lightweight materials, such as linen and cotton, and were often paired with knit sweaters, golf jackets, and lounge coats.
Overall, the style of men's pants and trousers in the 1920s was characterized by a high-waisted, tapered fit, with a focus on comfort and ease of movement. This style reflected the cultural and social changes of the time and continues to influence men's fashion to this day.
1920s Men’s Shoes
The shoes worn by men in the 1920s also went through some substantial changes compared to what men wore in the previous decade. Trends shifted away from the heavy, ornate shoes of the previous decade and toward a more streamlined, comfortable look. The most popular styles of shoes for men in the 1920s were oxfords, which were low-cut shoes with a lace-up closure, and loafers, which were slip-on shoes without laces.
Oxford shoes were typically made from leather and had a sleek, pointed toe. They were available in a variety of colors, including black, brown, and cordovan (a rich, reddish-brown hue), and were often worn with suits and dress pants.
Loafers, on the other hand, were more casual in nature and were often made from suede or velvet. They were available in a variety of colors and patterns, including tassels, penny loafers (with a small slot on the top of the shoe for a coin), and even embroidered designs.
In addition to oxfords and loafers, men in the 1920s also wore boots, both for practical reasons and for fashion. Ankle boots, or booties, were popular for their versatility, as they could be worn with both pants and skirts.
Higher boots, such as knee-high or thigh-high styles, were also popular and were often worn with skirts or dresses by men who were involved in theatrical or musical performances.
Overall, the style of men's shoes in the 1920s was characterized by a focus on comfort and ease, with a sleek, streamlined look. The popularity of oxfords and loafers set the stage for future generations of men's footwear and continues to influence men's fashion to this day.
Myths About 1920s Men’s Fashion
There are several myths about 1920s men's fashion that persist to this day, despite being inaccurate or exaggerated. Here are a few:
All Men Wore Spats
Spats, or protective coverings that fasten over the top of shoes, were popular in the 1910s but fell out of fashion in the 1920s. While some men did wear spats, they were more commonly seen in formal or dressy attire, and were not a staple of everyday fashion.
Men Always Wore Fedoras
While fedoras were certainly popular in the 1920s, they were not the only type of hat worn by men. Other styles, such as the bowler hat and the newsboy cap, were also popular, and the type of hat a man wore often depended on his personal style and the occasion.
All Suits Were Double-Breasted
Double-breasted jackets were popular in the 1920s, they were not the only type of jacket worn by men. Single-breasted jackets, with one row of buttons, were also popular, and the choice between the two often came down to personal preference and the occasion.
All Men Wore Bright-Colored Suits
Bold, bright-colored suits were also popular in the 1920s, but not all men wore them. Solid-colored suits in more traditional shades, such as gray, brown, navy, and black, were also popular, and the choice of color often depended on the occasion and the individual's personal style.
Men’s fashion in the 1920s was when individualism in the fashion industry began to blossom. It’s styles, apparel, and robust patterns shaped the way for future trends for decades to come. Thanks so much for tuning into Runway Fashion Street’s blog post, check out our blog if you’re interested in learning more about men’s fashion.