1920s Men's Fashion Guide | Timeless Style

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Triston Brewer

In this detailed guide, we cover the evolution of men's fashion in the 1920s and its effect on contemporary menswear!

The Roaring 20s, A Quintessential Era of Men’s Style

Fashion is a reflection of the times, and during the Roaring 20s, the United States evolved at a rapid pace as great socio-economic change swept throughout the country. With new liberties and more wealth, there was more money to spend on the latest iterations of fashion permeating within the great melting pot of a mecca. The timeless styles created during this era dictated the earliest edicts of fashion still in use today.

1920's Mens Fashion

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The 20s laid the groundwork for both the working and elite class to participate in the fun and freedom that fashion allowed. The clean cut look became a popular trend for men, with many manufacturers opting for softer material and looser fits.

Elegant formal wear became fully functional and tailored to perfection. Form-fitting suit jackets, three-piece suits, and cuffed pants with creases created a strong silhouette for men of the era.

Casual wear became even more casual, with sportswear making its debut to include sweaters, baggy pants, jumpers, and caps paired with an abundance of accessories to express themselves.

1920's Men's Fashion

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The 20s also saw fashion depart from rigid, sturdier fabrics to more natural fibers that allowed for more movement. Clothes made in cotton, wool, linen, and synthetic fibers like rayon became the norm. New production techniques resulted in lighter clothes, more variety, and softer textures which translated into knitted pullovers, cardigans, and button-down shirts to pair with a wide range of hats for a polished silhouette.

Seasonal fashion cycles became commonplace in the 1920s, giving individuals the opportunity to change their styles every few months based on the trends at the time. In menswear, this meant a move away from khaki and neutral tones and more towards brighter suits, more colorful shirts, and patterned pants as casual clothing options.

Formal menswear also encountered a slight adjustment as formal evening attire at the time included a tuxedo, top hat, and Oxford shoes made from leather.

For semi-formal occasions, men had the option of wearing tweed, pinstripe suits in blue, gray, or other muted colors, or even herringbone. Older men of the era still leaned towards derby hats and fedoras at the time.

While the 20s could be all-in when it came to style and glam, the era was also about refinement and practicality – tapered trousers and slim fits also gained popularity during this time, influencing menswear as it is defined today.

1920s Mens Fashion

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Incorporating the 20s Into Your Modern Closet

If you’re looking to imitate the classic looks of the Roaring 20s in America, the following are guidelines considered quintessential elements of 1920s style.

1920's Men's Fashion

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Men’s jackets worn during the 20s took their primary inspiration from morning coats of the times and were thus cut to accentuate waists and a specific silhouette.

They were generally double-breasted and made from sturdier fabrics like wool and included a buttoning stance of two to three buttons with the front jackets sometimes cut away and a body lined with silk through premium tailoring. Although lighter fabrics have now been thrown into the mix, the style remains the de facto one in modern menswear.

1920's Men's Fashion

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Tweed remained a favorite material for country wear, while cotton and linen fabrics ruled the warmer seasons. Across all seasons in the 20s saw the emergence of lighter fabrics compared to the standards of the day.

Jacketing during this time with their lower buttoning stance and wider lapels also laid the blueprint for the modern business suit worn in modern times. For a more modern approach that doesn’t gloss over the subtle differences, be sure to compare the lapel shape, pockets, gorge height, and fabrics.

Silk Ties | Ties | Neckties | Extra Long Ties


1920's Men's Fashion

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For the majority of the 20s, shirts typically were solid in color or with contrasting vertical stripes in order to stand out under waistcoats and jackets. By the end of the decade, pastel colors had become a trend, with younger men wearing shirts made from cotton with turndown colors and single cuffs.

Though relatively popular in the modern era, short sleeves still were relatively uncommon at the time, with most men still rolling sleeves up on warmer days.


1920's Men's Fashion

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Fuller cut, flat-front pants were the staple during the start of the 20s and were normally made from cotton or wool material, tight around the waist with wide legs, although straight of cuffed legs were the standard.

By the end of the decade, tapered suit pants were the norm and are still an essential element of men’s style. Single pleats and side cinchers emerged during this era, with patterns and colors quickly becoming the trend. This included plaid, tweed, and stripes in black, khaki, and gray colors. Men today have versatility in options to go baggy or fitted depending on their personal sense of style.


1920's Men's Fashion

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The 20's ushered in a new dress code for men as vests and waistcoats were no longer mandatory. While some men at the time opted not to wear them at all, those that decided to wear them wore those with a lower cut and either notch lapels or no lapels.

Slim and fitted waistcoats became the look of the day, with vests pocketed in the front and single-breasted. Men of lower socio-economic status during the era would pair a nice tweed or knitted vest in solid colors like black, blue, or gray with matching pants.

The addition of a vest was considered then – as it is now – an elevated informal look that offered more versatility to a man’s wardrobe.


1920's Men's Fashion

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Outerwear during the 20s was heavier and more fitted than modern clothing, more often than not available in darker muted colors. Initially, brown and black were the primary colors for suits, but were quickly supplanted by a more flattering hue for all men - navy blue.

Overcoats tended to reach below the knee and included broad shoulders and wide lapels with silk lining reserved for more luxurious versions.

Men’s Accessories Emerge in the 1920s


If any area of menswear experienced a true renaissance, it was through hats, which were worn by all classes of men all types of ways. While the upper class preferred a top hat, middle class men of the era veered towards trilby and fedora hats. During this period, a man’s wardrobe consisted of hats designed for both formal and casual events.

1920's Men's Fashion

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From bowler and trilby hats for formal occasions to newsboy and tweed caps for sporting events, men had a range of colors and patterns to choose from to accentuate their suits.

To accentuate them even more, more stylish headpieces featured ribbons or feathers to add a touch of sophistication and class to an outfit. In current times, men have an even broader range of options when it comes to headgear.

Pocket Squares

1920's Men's Fashion

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Designed to elevate a men’s suit, pocket squares made from silk or linen brought a pop of color to outfits and a dash of class. Neatly folded and a must-have for dapper menswear, pocket squares were designed to match the tie, hat band, or shirt color.

Pocket Squares | Silk Pocket Squares | Linen Pocket Squares



1920's Men's Fashion

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The premium brands of today began their reign in the watchmaking business during the 1920s, with soldiers popularizing the accessory due to their functionality. Luxury watches for the elite soon were in high demand, and Rolex and similar premium retailers expanded upon their traditional lines by producing the first wristwatch manufactured with precious metals.

Meanwhile, more affordable timepieces for the average man were also developed and became integral to mainstream culture.


1920's Men's Fashion

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Glasses were considered an upscale fashion accessory during the 20s, with round spectacles and horn-rimmed glasses that sat on the bridge of the nose popular.

Eyewear brands branched out their collections at this time to feature oval and octagonal glasses and sportier versions made with thicker frames and muted or tortoiseshell colors.


The accessory which underwent the most dramatic transformation in menswear were ties, which had previously been heavy, poorly constructed, and wrinkled badly, compromising a man’s attempts at a polished appearance. Ties became more of a key accessory during the 1920s, with more options available to men that included plaids, horizontal stripes, as well as solid colors in assortment of hues.

1920's Men's Fashion

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Bow ties were also thrown into the mix to allow more freedom of expression, with most ties from this period made from silk or knit wool. Scarf ties made of rayon or silk were worn during this era in a Windsor knot and under sweaters. Collar pins and clips were also worn by many men to switch up their look.

A Man’s Right To Shoes in the 1920s

1920's Men's Fashion

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Men’s shoe wear took a dramatic turn during the 20s, when the Oxford shoe became a trend in the United States, taking precedence over other styles that included tasseled loafers, wingtip shoes, patent leather shoes, work boots, sports shoes, and winter boots.

Most shoes of the time were constructed solely of leather or with canvas as a mixture. Although shades of black, brown, and white were prevalent, the 20s also brought about a dash of flair by offering two-tone colors, with Wingtips offered an alternative to traditional leather shoes.

Men’s Formal Dress in the 20s

Affectionately referred to as The Roaring 20s, menswear during the decade began a transformative move towards less conservative styling to a less formal look that was directly influenced by several factors, primarily the World War, jazz, and the melting pot beginning to emerge across America.

This was a time when the majority of men, no matter their class, wore suits through the day and well into the night, with more rigid variations worn for certain occasions.

1920's Men's Fashion

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Formal events for men during the 20s dictated either a black or dark navy suit or tuxedo. Tailcoats for tuxedos during the era featured a tailed at the back, with formal three-piece suits designed for more comfort and movement.

Tuxedos or suits often came with a matching top hat, with white ties worn to formal events and black ties becoming increasingly popular.

Casual Menswear in the 20s

Unbuttoned shirts that featured brighter hues and stripes began to trend around this time, with younger men opting for softer collars or even no collars at all, as seen on henley shirts.

1920's Men's Fashion

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The 20s also ushered in The Jazz Age, marking the first time men were able to loosen up their dress codes and play up their fashion by mixing tailored separates to complement their personal sense of style.

This meant that more men were seen sporting high-waisted and pleated trousers in a rich range of colors from dark purple and red to dark green suit jackets. For the more adventurous men of the time, corduroy and flannel knits were popular alternatives.

The Butterfly Effect of 1920s Style on Today’s Menswear

The men's fashion of the 1920s had a significant influence on the development of contemporary styles and continues to impact current fashion trends in multiple ways. The focus on comfort and casual attire during that era served as the foundation for the creation of modern casual fashion, exemplified by the popularity of polo shirts, chinos, and loafers.

The relaxed silhouette introduced in the 1920s was a game-changer in menswear and a major influencer of modern suits, but with the additional caveat of slim-fit and tailored options representing contemporary variations for those desiring a broader range of styles for their wardrobe.

Additionally, the 1920s witnessed a shift towards more casual dressing, with the introduction of leisurewear and sportswear. This included sweaters, baggy pants, jumpers, caps, and a wide range of accessories that allowed people to express themselves through their attire. The 1920s also brought forth the emergence of various accessories that remain popular in present times. Without any doubt, 1920s fashion ran so that men in the modern era could fly in every direction of men’s style in confidence.

And that's a wrap for this one! We hope you enjoyed this history lesson into men’s style of the era and found the information useful!

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