I mean when you boil clothing down into it's component parts: for Men you have shirts, trousers, jumpers, jackets, coats, hats and shoes, for Women; blouses, trousers, skirts, dresses, jumpers, jackets, coats, hats and shoes.... not much difference really is there? But whilst the style, cut and patterns of these items of clothing has change much more obviously for Women over the last century in Men's wardrobes it's been all about the smaller changes. Style evolution on a more subtle and microscopic level if you will.
Prior to the First World War Men's clothing had taken a much more slow and far more practical evolution. But all that was to change in the 1920s with the introduction of new styles of clothing and principles of dress that are still a part of men's wardrobes to this day.
It was during the Edwardian period that the 'lounge suit' as it was then called was offered as an alternative to the formal frock coated morning dress however it wasn't until the twenties that this particular style of suit could be seen outside of a strictly informal occasion (with no Ladies present).
The lounge suit, unlike it's more formal cousin, featured a shorter length Jacket made from the same cloth as both the Trousers and the now traditional Waistcoat, a item that had been part of a man's attire from it's introduction by Charles II in 1660.
On the subject of pockets; the number of pockets was definitely seen as a status symbol the more pockets the more expensively tailored the suit!
Trousers were straight legged and became increasingly wider as the decade progressed. During this time the single pleat came into style as well as cuffs at the bottom of the leg. Usually trousers were held up with Button Suspenders as although the Belt was introduced during this time it was rarely seen outside of the military and was more of a decorative piece.
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.
|Loose 'wing' collar|
As the decade progressed the 'soft' fixed collared shirts many men had worn as uniform during the First World War became the fashion but a lot of men continued with the traditional version well into the 40s.
Ties were worn short (as they fitted under a waistcoat) and with a small knot often held in place with a tie pin through the collar.
|WWI Trench Watch|
These tended to be dark colours; browns, greys, blacks, dark greens and even maroons and purples for the more daring with lighter colours for hotter climates such as cream, khaki or white.
Wool, Linen or Cotton were the main materials used. For the woollens these tended to be split into Gabardine, Serge or Tweed. Linen and Cotton suits were more popular for overseas climes as the fabric was lighter and more breathable than Wool.
The Twenties saw a upsurge of patterns including check, pin or chalk-stripe and plaid as well as the aforementioned tweed.
It should be pointed out that the 1920s also saw the growth of sports wear and clothing for leisure activities. Clearly sports wear should only be worn for sporting activities and therefore has no more than a passing relevance here so I'll quickly skip onto leisure wear.
Speaking of the Boater one can't talk about twenties style without mentioning Hats.
Nearly everyone wore a hat of some kind and these hats tended to be synonymous with one's social class. The upper classes still wore Top Hat's for formal occasions but added the Homburg for less formal settings. The upper-middle and middle classes settled for the Trilby or Fedora and a Boater or Panama hat during the summer months or when overseas.
Some of the lower classes could still be seen sporting the Victorian Bowler hat, but most had switched to either a Flat cap, Newsboy cap or in fact nothing at all.
Next up: The 1930s...