1930s Men’s Fashion: Retro, Gangster, And Hollywood-Esque
The Great Depression had an undeniable effect on men’s fashion! The sombre, double-breasted suit of the 30s was a far cry from the flashy style of the roaring 20s.
Formal wear made a quick return, though the hardship of the times prompted newer, cheaper materials as basis for suits. Sweaters and trousers became widespread (especially among middle-class families), while utilitarian clothes like coats became a necessity.
Bright colours fell out of style; though some brighter colours resurged in summer fashion once people recovered from the economic crisis. The invention of blended and synthetic fabrics later on in the decade also made clothing more affordable for many people who favoured practicality and comfort over the “all-over-the-place” aesthetic of the 20s.
Highlights Of Men’s Fashion In The 1930s
The Drape Suit
The classic V-cut suit was very popular during the 30s, since the broad shoulders, long drapes, and cinched waist gave men a more imposing silhouette – this conveyed power and confidence. The suit was also softer and allowed for a lot of freedom of movement.
The fedora was the most popular hat of the decade, while the top hat was still sometimes used for formal occasions. Statement pieces, like wide colourful neckties, were used to replace the vivid colours of the past decade. Loafers and brogues were the footwear of choice – fashion choices that remain very much in style today.
The Tweed Suit
Tweed suits became very popular in the 30s, mainly because of their durability and ease of wear for factory workers. The fabric was easier to make with wool-synthetic materials and was warm enough to wear without additional layers underneath. Tweed was the fabric of choice for many outfits, and was present in nearly every man’s wardrobe.
The popularity of elastic waistbands made knickerbockers obsolete in exchange for boxers and briefs, which had no buttons to keep them up. They still made swimwear in one-piece cuts that covered the chest, though swimming trunks started to become widely used, again because of their non-reliance on buttons.
White Dinner Jackets
The 30s did away with the waistcoat in favour of cummerbunds and white mess coats. Since the most formal events were held in non-air conditioned places, the design of formal wear shifted from tight fitting suits to looser outfits that allowed more airflow and ease of movement.
Wearing The Look Today
For those who want to channel their inner 30s fashionista, the looks of this period aren’t hard to replicate – fedoras, tweed suits, and drape cuts have actually been making a comeback lately! So if you’re thinking of incorporating some 30s fashion into your wardrobe, the best tip we can give you is to try follow a relaxed-formal dress code. Picture a classy gangster, or maybe a noir-era detective.
While the 1930s wasn’t as colourful as the decade before it, the relaxed utilitarian vibe gave us some of the best dressed men in history! It was a decade where a unique blend of economic necessities and innovation in clothing materials resulted in some really classy men’s fashion.