The 1920s was a time of change and growth in the United States. It was a period of optimism and new ideas. Men’s casual and sports apparel changed significantly during the Roaring Twenties. The changes were influenced by the popular culture of this era which included flappers and speakeasies with bootleggers, jazz music and dancing, flapper girls, Charleston, moll dress shirts, shorts, dungarees, and the loafer. The Roaring Twenties were a period of change, growth, and new ideas, and the clothing reflects these changes.
1920s Men's Casual Clothing
One of the most noticeable changes in men’s casual clothing during the 1920s was the use of cuffed pants. The cuffs were seen on both long pants and shorts and were either straight-cut cuffs, rounded cuffs, half cuffs, or full cuffs. Another significant change in men’s casual clothing was the vertical pleat found on the front of the shirt. This became more common during the later part of the decade. The pleat was made with two folds of fabric with one on the outside of the garment. Exposure to different cultures and ethnic groups in the United States in the 1920s resulted in new fashions and changes in clothing styles. The influence of these cultures can be seen in the use of fabrics and styles of men’s casual clothing. The use of traditional fabrics such as cotton changed from solid colors to plaids and checks. The loafer, a slip-on casual shoe, was introduced during the 1920s. It became popular as a comfortable, casual shoe for both indoor and outdoor use.
1920s Men's Sportswear
Another significant change in men’s casual clothing was the emergence of sportswear. Its appearance was influenced by the athletic fashions of the late 1910s and early 1920s. Although sportswear did not become part of men’s dress wear until the 1930s, it was common in the 1920s. The suit was a standard garment that was worn for business and formal occasions, but casual clothing was worn for less formal occasions. The distinction between casual and formal clothing was blurred during this era. The suit jacket was worn with the bottom button undone or left unbuttoned. Sports jackets were worn for both indoor and outdoor activities. Sport jackets were tailored, with a straight, unvented back, and two or three buttons.
1920s Men's Fashion Trends
The fashion trends of the 1920s were influenced by the culture and fashions of the decade. The most popular clothing styles during the 1920s included the following: - The straw hat was worn for all occasions. It was a popular summer item and was also used for sports and fishing. The Panama hat was also frequently used for outdoor activities. - Men’s shirts were collared, with long or short sleeves, and were commonly worn with a tie. The three-piece business suit was standard business attire. - Trousers were worn long, below the ankle, and were worn with Oxford shoes or Oxfords. - The wool overcoat, was worn for outdoor winter wear, while the camel hair coat was worn indoors. - The three-piece business suit was still the standard, but the vest was seldom worn.
1920s Men's Dress Shirts
The most popular styles of dress shirts during the 1920s were the all-American Oxford shirt, the all-American button-down shirt, and the all-American pocket or tennis shirt. The Oxford and tennis shirts were worn with long pants. The tennis shirt had a long tail, while the Oxford shirt had a short tail. The button-down shirt, which was designed as a dress shirt, was worn with long or short pants. The button-down shirt also had a long or short tail. These three styles of shirts were worn during the entire decade.
1920s Shorts and Trousers
The tennis trouser was worn for tennis and other sports. It had a long leg and was worn with short socks. Jodhpurs were worn for riding. Shorts were worn for playing outdoors and for swimming. Knickerbockers were worn as school or college uniforms, while cut-off trousers were worn as casual wear. During the 1920s, the length of trousers changed from long to short. The hem fell between the ankle and the top of the shoe. The change from long to short trousers was gradual and took place over the decade. The change in style from long to short pants was influenced by the sports, the culture of the decade, and changes in design. Dungarees were used for work and casual wear. They had a long leg with a wide fit through the leg and the calf.
The Oxford shoe was used for both indoor and outdoor wear. It was made of either leather or suede and had a wingtip design. The wingtip was a decorative feature that covered the outer edge of the shoe. The penny loafer was also a wingtip shoe, but it was less decorative. The tennis shoe was used for tennis and other sports. It had a canvas upper, a rubber sole, and a wide canvas or leather lace. The low quarter shoe was worn for indoor and outdoor wear. It had a low heel, or no heel, and a wide, comfortable fit. The oxford low quarter shoe was the most popular style for indoor wear.