For men, the period is almost entirely dominated by the humble 'lounge' suit. Evolving out of the frock coat and trousers wore by the Victorian and Edwardian gentleman; the lounge suit represented a change in the pace of life towards frivolity and fun, focusing more on the need to move and take part in more leisurely activities. It drove a wedge between the uniforms of working life and the formality of evening wear and was championed by the younger, upcoming generations, disillusioned by convention and rules and spurred on by a need to grab life by the collar after the horrors they witnessed on the battlefields of the First World War.
Although most men still wore the more traditional collarless shirt and detachable stiff collar during the '20s, the trend for 'soft' fixed-collared shirts increased. First introduced by the military in World War One, these shirts offered men more freedom of movement and comfort and were seen as a definite rejection of the stuffy conventions of society.
A sense of frivolity and flamboyance could be expressed by the '20s man with the necktie - bright colours, patterns and textures were all available, brought about by the use of silks and screen-printing techniques. This trend led to the use of accessories such as collar-bars or clips, which lifted the tie to more prominence.
As the decade progressed, men’s trousers started to loosen and expand from the very straight 'tubular' style of the Edwardians, becoming increasingly wider as the fashion spread. The introduction of pleats helped to produce a more relaxed fit as well as cuffs at the bottom of the leg to give a 'sporty' look. Men's trousers were still usually held up with button braces (or suspenders), but later in the decade adjustable tabs helped cinch the waistband to hold trousers in place.
The now, well established, lounge suit offered a variety of options for the '20s man. Suit jackets came in single and double-breasted, the single-breasted favoured by the younger man, and with either peaked or notched lapels. Jackets were also wide in the shoulder, tapering down towards the waist to create a slimmer silhouette. Other optical tricks used during this time were slanted pockets to draw the eye towards the middle of the body.
The number of pockets on a jacket was often seen as a status symbol - the more pockets the more expensively tailored the suit!
Waistcoats came in both collared and collarless styles and could be single or double-breasted. A particularly fashionable man might wear a doubled-breasted waistcoat under a single-breasted jacket. The '20s also saw a upsurge of patterns in suiting fabrics including check, pin-stripe, chalk-stripe, plaid and tweed to name but a few.
The hat was still very prevalent in the 1920s and particularly iconic for the decade was the straw Boater, reflecting the sporting style. Whilst the city gent favoured the Homburg, the workingman wore a Newsboy cap or a Flat-cap and those in service sported the Bowler. The '20s man lucky enough to travel to warmer climes could sport a Panama.
Get the classic 1920s look, as seen in period TV shows such as Peaky Blinders or Boardwalk Empire, by teaming herringbone tweed trousers & matching waistcoat (or pinstripe for the American gangster look) with a striped collarless shirt, white stiff collar and studs, colourful silk tie and top it off with a newsboy cap. Don't forget to add a pocket watch and chain to complete the look.
For the classic summertime 'sporting' look of the '20s, grab a pair of cream or white trousers in cotton drill or linen, a white or pastel coloured soft-collar shirt, knitted tie (preferably horizontal stripped), and a straw boater. Add a cable-knit jumper or navy blazer and you are ready for a punt along the river.
1920s Style Guide - click here
1930s Style Guide - click here
1940s Style Guide - click here
Goodwood Revival Style Guide - click here