1920’s Fashion for Men: A Complete Suit Guide

1920s mens fashion: suits1920’s fashion for men was the start of menswear as we know it today.  Only minor changes in menswear have come about since the 1920’s. It was a time of classic sophistication with a level of fun that I haven’t seen since. Suit colors were mostly neutral with patterns but the accessories popped with vibrant  colors- just like they did for women’s 1920’s fashion. Popular TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey have brought back the appeal for 1920s mens fashion suits today.

Click to Learn How to Dress like Downton Abbey Men

Click to Learn How to Dress like Downton Abbey Men

1920’s Fashion for Men:  Suits

1920s mens fashion suits

1920s Mens Fashion- Suits and Hats

The essential part of a 1920s man’s wardrobe was his suit. For day, evening, office, or parties a man always wore a suit. The only exceptions were for blue collar workers or young teen and college men who dressed more casually. But even they owned suits and wore them with pride.

mens 1920s suitWhat sets 1920s mens suits apart from other decades are the material and fit. Suits were mostly made of thick wool or a wool tweed and pants made of wool based flannel which made them heavier than today’s suit materials but lighter than the previous decades. Suit jackets were either single or double breasted and featured 3 or 4 buttons up the front. The top button came to the center of the heart giving way to notch lapels. The highness of the lapels is what really sets 1920’s suits apart from suits of other eras.  Many suits feature two sets of flap pockets which is another characteristic of 1920’s suits not seen since. The colors, on the other hand, were similar to previous years: browns, blues, grey’s, and greens. Patterns could be solid tone or vivid plaids, checks and even thick stripes in the summer months (like Barbershop Quartet suits.) Read more about 1920s mens suit history.

1920s fashion for men suits

1927 Mens Fashion Suits

 Pants or Trousers

1920's wide leg pants trousers

1920’s Oxford Bags Style

1920s mens fashion pants trousers

1920 Mens Pants

The suit pants always matched the suit jacket. They had two single pleats at the top and  a sharp crease down the front of the legs. Pockets were slit on the side and welt on the back with one button closure. The pants hung down to only mid ankle. This exposed the socks which were worn high up the leg calf and secured with sock garters. Socks were usually plain, stripped or argyle pattern. Unlike previous decades, men’s pants started had fold up cuffs at the bottoms. The pant legs were fairly narrow in the first half of the 1920’s (the jazz look) and wide by the second half. Collegiate men took these new wide leg styles to the extreme by wearing “oxford bags” which had leg widths of up to 16 inches! Learn more about 1920s mens pants.

Vests or Waistcoats

1920s mens vest an panama hat

1920’s Mens V Vest

1920s mens vestUnlike today’s two piece suits men’s 1920’s fashion required a 3 piece suit with matching vest. Vests also called waistcoats were high V necks with full body coverage. It was a fashion faux pax to have a shirt exposed between the pants and vest. To help avoid this mistake men’s pants were also very high, sitting above the bellybutton, secured by suspenders or a leather belt. Suspenders were buttoned on to pants since modern suspender clips had not been invented yet.

mesn 1920s vestA more casual alternative to the matching vest was a contrasting knit wool pullover vest. Single color smooth knit or two color cable knit vests kept a man warm in winter. They were especially fashionable for golfers who paired them with a pair of knickers, argyle socks, and flat cap hat. Learn more about 1920s mens sweaters and knit vests. 

1920’s Fashion: Mens Shirts

1920s mens shirts fashion

1920’s Mens Striped Shirts

Underneath the vest was where the fun 1920’s fashion began. 1920s shirts were made of colorful vertical stripes in a mixture of colors- tan, green, blue, lilac, sage green, yellow and pink (yes pink!) Solid colors in the same light shades were available in the late 1920s.  Shirt collars were round (club collars), pointed and free (classic or spread), or pointed and buttoned down- just like today’s varieties. Most were attached collars but many still came in detachable white. Shirts with attached collars were either made with the same material or were white. The white collar against the solid or striped shirt really gives it a 1920’s fashion statement. If you want to make another fashion statement wear a collarless shirt (also known as a mandarin collar shirt.) The Great Gatsby shocked the fashionable world by wearing a shirt without a collar and then everyone copied him.

vintage french cuff shirt

French Cuff Striped White Collar Shirt

The cuffs are the final unique shirt element. They were usually french or button cuffs to be worn with a pair of snazzy cuff links.Cuff links were often monogrammed with the owners initials.  Wealthy men also wore shirt links with their nice dress shirts for a bit more high class.

Read more about 1920’s mens dress shirts and collars history.

1920’s Fashion: Neck Ties and Bow Ties

mens 1920s bow tieThe other fun bit of color on a 1920’s mens outfit was the neckwear. Men either wore a bow tie in fun stripes or polka dots, a striped or plaid necktie, or a neck scarf tie. Bow ties were the self tying variety and usually had a thick or puffy look to them. Neckties had diagonal stripes, plaid, check, or an art deco inspired pattern. Solid bright colors made of wool or silk were also common such as yellow, orange, red or green (think 1970’s colors.) They were narrow and short (a few inches above the pants which were already high up.) Thin knit ties were another option with square edges or fringed edges.

The last option is the more casual scarf tie popular in the early 20s. The scamesn 1920s tierf was a thin patterned rectangular silk scarf draped around the neck, tied, and the bottom piece wrapped back and over the knot (see picture.) The ends of neck scarfs and neck ties were pointed in a V however a few neckties were also cut straight at the boom and some even had fringe. A scarf tie was worn with the shirt’s top button undone or over a collarless shirt and tucked behind a knit vest. Read more about the history of mens ties and bowties or shop for a new 1920s style tie. 

1920’s Fashion: Men’s Accessories

mens gloves 1920sThe two other items of color popped up in gloves and pocket squares. Often these two items matched each other and tied into a color on the necktie.. Bright colors like yellow or red gloves were a favorite choice over the traditional black, brown or gray gloves. They were made of thin leather and buttoned at the wrist sometimes with scalloped edges but usually cut straight. These are the modern equivalent of unlined driving gloves and are usually hard to find in bright colors. The pocket square is a decoration only handkerchief, made of silk, folded into a triangle and place in the suit’s chest pocket.

More 1920’s Mens Fashion

1920s men shoes fashion

1920s Style Shoes

1920s mens fashion the hat

1920s Mens Hats

The 1920’s look isn’t quite done. Now we need to add some 1920’s shoes and hats. Read about them here at 1920’s Mens Hats and 1920’s Mens Shoes.

 

 

Are you ready to make a 1920’s fashion statement? You can easily make a 1920’s outfit from vintage inspired modern clothes. Learn how to create these 6 different looks. 

1920s mens clothing how to

Six 1920’s Men’s Looks

Here are some great clothes to get your started:

Buy more mens 1920s style clothing: Suits, shirts, vests, shoes, hats, and ties

1920s Bollman Collection Fedora
 

1920s Bollman Collection Fedora

$100.00

Buy at: Hats.com

1920's Dot Bow Tie
 

1920's Dot Bow Tie

$41.65

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

1920s Style Mens Plaid Summer Suit
 

1920s Style Mens Plaid Summer Suit

$180.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Signature Gold 2-Button Wool Suit- Blue/Grey Fashion Plaid
 

Signature Gold 2-Button Wool Suit- Blue/Grey Fashion Plaid

$194.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Big and Tall Tallia Orange Formal 3-Pc Chalk Stripe Suit
 

Big and Tall Tallia Orange Formal 3-Pc Chalk Stripe Suit

$748.00

Buy at: Destination XL

2-Button Seersucker Tailored Fit Suit
 

2-Button Seersucker Tailored Fit Suit

$395.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Sharkskin Skinny Suit
 

Sharkskin Skinny Suit

$149.90

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Banker Stripe 3 PC. Men's Suit - Black(shown) - 42L
 

Banker Stripe 3 PC. Men's Suit - Black(shown) - 42L

$299.00

Buy at: Womensuits.com

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Suit Total Comfort 2-Button Navy Stripe Wool
 

Lauren by Ralph Lauren Suit Total Comfort 2-Button Navy Stripe Wool

$259.99

Buy at: macys.com

Golf Pants Work Great as 1920s Style Mens Pants
 

Golf Pants Work Great as 1920s Style Mens Pants

$125.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

JB Stetson Cap - The Hatteras Linen Newsboy
 

JB Stetson Cap - The Hatteras Linen Newsboy

$125.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

1900s Bollman Collection Homburg
 

1900s Bollman Collection Homburg

$100.00

Buy at: Hats.com

Chaplin Panama Bowler
 

Chaplin Panama Bowler

$137.50

Buy at: Hats.com

Stetson Fur Felt Dress Hat - The Homburg
 

Stetson Fur Felt Dress Hat - The Homburg

$235.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Wigens Ivy Cap - The Harris Tweed Hans Ivy
 

Wigens Ivy Cap - The Harris Tweed Hans Ivy

$90.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

1890s Bollman Collection Bowler
 

1890s Bollman Collection Bowler

$100.00

Buy at: Hats.com

Indiana Jones Fur Felt Fedora - The Texas Indy
 

Indiana Jones Fur Felt Fedora - The Texas Indy

$90.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Biltmore Fur Felt Derby - The Winston
 

Biltmore Fur Felt Derby - The Winston

$195.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Bailey Cashlux Fedora - The Benny
 

Bailey Cashlux Fedora - The Benny

$150.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Scala - Fedora WF536 (Men's) - Black
 

Scala - Fedora WF536 (Men's) - Black

$40.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Scala - Derby WF506 (Men's) - Charcoal
 

Scala - Derby WF506 (Men's) - Charcoal

$42.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Godfather Homburg
 

Godfather Homburg

$90.00

Buy at: Hats.com

Bailey Cashlux Homburg - The Herbert
 

Bailey Cashlux Homburg - The Herbert

$143.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Men's Christys' London Fur Felt Bowler Hat - The Chaplin
 

Men's Christys' London Fur Felt Bowler Hat - The Chaplin

$295.00

Buy at: Hartford York

Makins Fur Felt Hat - The Olive Salome Homburg
 

Makins Fur Felt Hat - The Olive Salome Homburg

$125.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Stetson Fur Felt Fedora - The Degas
 

Stetson Fur Felt Fedora - The Degas

$156.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Bailey Cashlux Fedora - The Delbert
 

Bailey Cashlux Fedora - The Delbert

$138.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Men's Borsalino Beaver Fur Felt Fedora Hat - The Ultimo
 

Men's Borsalino Beaver Fur Felt Fedora Hat - The Ultimo

$477.00

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Makins Fur Felt Hat - The Dark Charcoal Salome Homburg
 

Makins Fur Felt Hat - The Dark Charcoal Salome Homburg

$162.50

Buy at: Hartford York, Fine Hats & Accessories

Derby Hat
 

Derby Hat

$90.00

Buy at: Hats.com

Larsey Cap Toe Shoe by Johnston & Murphy
 

Larsey Cap Toe Shoe by Johnston & Murphy

$135.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Boardwalk Empire Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes
 

Boardwalk Empire Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes

$554.00

Buy at: FORZIERI.com

Gangster Handmade Light Brown Italian Leather Wingtip Dress Shoes
 

Gangster Handmade Light Brown Italian Leather Wingtip Dress Shoes

$498.00

Buy at: FORZIERI.com

Big and Tall Allen Edmonds® Strand Cap-Toe Oxford Dress Shoes
 

Big and Tall Allen Edmonds® Strand Cap-Toe Oxford Dress Shoes

$385.00

Buy at: Destination XL

Boardwalk Empire Two-tone Wingtip Oxford Shoes
 

Boardwalk Empire Two-tone Wingtip Oxford Shoes

$630.00

Buy at: FORZIERI.com

Navy with White Dots Pre-Tied Bow Tie by Principessa Regale - Navy blue Silk
 

Navy with White Dots Pre-Tied Bow Tie by Principessa Regale - Navy blue Silk

$25.00

Buy at: Ties.com

Dots Woven Silk Pre-Tied Bow Tie
 

Dots Woven Silk Pre-Tied Bow Tie

$33.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Scoula Self Tie Bow Tie by Principessa Regale - Gold Silk
 

Scoula Self Tie Bow Tie by Principessa Regale - Gold Silk

$30.00

Buy at: Ties.com

Men's Mezlan 'Ranieri' Spectator Shoe
 

Men's Mezlan 'Ranieri' Spectator Shoe

$299.90

Buy at: NORDSTROM.com

Velvet Five-Button Shawl Collar Paisley Vest
 

Velvet Five-Button Shawl Collar Paisley Vest

$50.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Wool Double Breasted Shawl Collar Herringbone Vest
 

100% Wool Double Breasted Shawl Collar Herringbone Vest

$70.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Joseph 2 Button Wool Vested Suit with Plain Front Trousers
 

Joseph 2 Button Wool Vested Suit with Plain Front Trousers

$995.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Cotton Sweater Argle Vest
 

Cotton Sweater Argle Vest

$19.99

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

100% Wool Six-Button Notch Lapel Suit Separate Vest
 

100% Wool Six-Button Notch Lapel Suit Separate Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Wool Six-Button Notch Lapel Suit Separate Vest
 

100% Wool Six-Button Notch Lapel Suit Separate Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Cotton Velvet Six-Button Notch Lapel Pindot Vest
 

100% Cotton Velvet Six-Button Notch Lapel Pindot Vest

$50.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

John Lewis Micro Dot Tie
 

John Lewis Micro Dot Tie

£25.00

Buy at:

Solid Cream Linen & Cotton Double Breasted Suit
 

Solid Cream Linen & Cotton Double Breasted Suit

$320.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Solid Pearl Grey Pure Wool Suit
 

Solid Pearl Grey Pure Wool Suit

$320.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Cotton V-Neck Sweater Vest
 

100% Cotton V-Neck Sweater Vest

$60.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Check Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Check Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Stripe Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Stripe Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Plaid Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Plaid Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Houndstooth Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Houndstooth Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Windowpane Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Windowpane Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Stripe Seersucker Pure Cotton Suit Separate Vest
 

Stripe Seersucker Pure Cotton Suit Separate Vest

$80.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Vest
 

100% Linen Six-Button Notch Lapel Vest

$100.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Stripe Seersucker Pure Cotton Suit Separate Jacket
 

Stripe Seersucker Pure Cotton Suit Separate Jacket

$180.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

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About Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions is passionate about wearing history through fashion. She and her husband, Oscar, have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need more help? Contact us anytime.

3 thoughts on “1920’s Fashion for Men: A Complete Suit Guide

    1. Debbie Sessions Post author

      In winter men wore scarves. They were called mufflers and were usually knit silk or knit wool. Solid colors like brown and grey were common as well as stripes in all sorts of colors. All white was a good scarf for more formal looks or white with small patterns. With formal suits they might have been worn while traveling but taken off while inside. The look of men wearing red or white silk scarves with formal suits came about in the 1940’s. Sinatra wore them often.

      Reply
  1. jeff

    Thank you Debbie for all your hard work. I am working on a series of detective novels set in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Your site has been a tremendous help in my research.

    Reply

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