When you think of men’s clothing from the 1930s, you probably think of sack suits and peak lapels. After all, those are two key details that give any suit from this period its distinctly ‘30s vibe. And while those elements do appear in the menswear of this decade, it wasn’t just men’s suits that underwent a transformation during the Great Depression. Men’s fashion in the 1930s was much different than what men had been wearing during the roaring 1920s. In fact, there were many changes, some subtle, and others quite dramatic, when it came to the various garments that men wore. Read on to discover more about 1930s fashion for men!
1930s Men’s Suits
As we’ve already discussed above, the 1930s saw a massive change in the style of men’s suits, especially when compared to what men had been wearing in the ‘20s. The sack suit – a loose-fitting style that was a suit “without a waistline” (so to speak) – was now a thing of the past, and had been replaced by the fitted-style suit. In fact, the difference in fit between the two suits was so drastic that the 1930s suit was often described as “a suit with the wrinkles pressed out.” This was thanks to the fact that the lapels on the 1930s suit were much wider and the jacket was much shorter than its predecessors.
Shirts and Ties for Men in the 1930s
If you were to look at a man’s shirt from the 1920s and then one from the 1930s, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart. This is because the style of men’s shirts in this decade remained largely the same as they had been in the ‘20s. However, there was one difference in the types of fabrics that were being used during this decade. Men’s shirts from the ‘30s were made from 100% cotton as opposed to the mixed fabric that was often seen in the ‘20s. Regarding ties, the length of these was actually shorter during the ‘30s than it had been during the ‘20s. So, even though the styles of the ties themselves remained largely the same, they were worn much higher up on men’s collars.
Men's Footwear during the 1930s
The style of men’s footwear during the 1930s was largely similar to what was being worn in the ‘20s. Men’s oxfords, brogues, and wingtips remained popular choices. However, there is one thing that sets footwear from this decade apart. Namely, the fact that, during the 1930s, men’s shoes were mostly made from low-quality leather. This was largely due to the fact that, after the stock market crash of 1929, many people were forced to get new shoes. And since leather was a more expensive material than other types of footwear (like rubber), many people opted for low-quality leather when replacing their old pairs of shoes.
1930s Men’s Underwear and Sleepwear
Men’s underwear and sleepwear during the ‘30s was almost identical to what it had been in the ‘20s. In other words, boxers, long johns, and silk underwear remained popular choices. However, the fabrics that were being used to make these garments was different from what had been used in the past. Specifically, the majority of underwear and sleepwear during the 1930s was made from very high-quality silk.
1930s Men's Sweaters
When it comes to men’s sweaters during the 1930s, there is one major thing to take note of, texture. Many sweaters from this decade were made with a much finer texture than what had been popular in the ‘20s. This was probably due to the fact that, during the ‘30s, many sweaters were actually made from silk. So, if you want to re-create the look of ‘30s fashion, look for a wool or silk sweater that has a very fine texture to it. Extra points if you can find one with a Fair Isle design!
1930s Men's Overcoats and Outerwear
When it comes to men’s outerwear during the 1930s, there was one particular garment that was extremely popular, the overcoat. In fact, the overcoat (which was cut short and had two or three buttons) was so popular during this decade that it almost completely replaced the full-length coat. Another common type of outerwear that men wore during the 1930s was the topcoat, which was a long, single-breasted coat that stopped above the knee.
As you can see, there are many differences between 1930s fashion and 1920s fashion. This is because, after the stock market crash of 1929, many people had less money to spend on clothing and other luxury items. As a result, men’s fashion in the 1930s underwent many major changes – both in terms of fabric and fit – that helped men save money while shopping for new outfits.