The Well-Dressed Gentleman: A History of Men’s Fashion Through the Years
Fashion trends come and go.  They don’t always last long.  Hence, they are called “trends”,right? Lets take a look back in history and see what kinds of odd fashion trends men wore in the past.

Late 1800s: Last of the Victorians


When the nineteenth century came to a close, men were slowly steering away from the Victorian era style of clothing. This style had them donning tophats, frock coats, and pocket watches while carrying walking sticks. This may seem like a stuffy and restrictive way to dress, but it was a big step in the right direction considering that the Georgian period which followed it, had men wearing feathers, panty hose, and high heels.

1900s: Tall, Long & Lean



When we went head first into the 1900s, men’s clothing was really boring. The long, lean, and athletic silhouette of the late 1890s was still there, and tall, stiff collars shone brightly in this period. Three-piece suits were made of a sack coat with matching waistcoat and trousers. They had matching coats and waistcoats with different trousers, or matching coat and trousers with contrasting waistcoat.

1920s – Broadening Horizons


Of all the countries, England had the most influence on North American mens fashion. In the 1920s North American college students began putting their own designs on pieces of clothing being worn at university, including button-down shirts, natural-shouldered jackets, ties, and colorful argyle socks.

1930s: The Height of Elegance


The beginning of the ’30s unfortunately saw the great depression. Although most men couldn’t afford to buy what was in style in the world of fashion, many often enjoyed seeing the style choices of those who could. Hollywood films on the Silver Screen became a light of hope for the working class man in this era. Men and women both looked with admiration to glamoursly dressed stars like Fred Astaire, Clark Gabel, Cary Grant, and Gary Cooper.

1940s: The Birth of Ready-to-Wear


When World War II ended, American men tended to stay away from the high standards and basic principles of fine dress that was made popular in the thirties. This was due in part to changes in the workforce and the loss of formal living in everyday life. With lower demand, the price of custom tailoring rose, which allowed for the huge mass production of menswear to be worn daily and not to high fashion. This period saw the introduction of mass produced ready-to-wear clothing in   North America, by some brands that are still on the market today.

1950s: The Age of Conformity


The 1950s was the Age of Conformity. Young men returning from the military were anxious to fit right in with everyone else. Fitting in and looking good meant taking on the college look, which was really popular in menswear. Individuality   style of clothing was not really high on people’s list. The goal was to look like you belong in a boxy sack suit, oxford shirt, rep tie, and even loafers. This was another big boost for mass Ready-to-Wear sales people who gladly sold the same ill-fitting tweed jackets to any young man trying to look smart and employable.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Cleo is a mother of one, in her mid-thirties, and she enjoys sharing today’s hottest trends, products, styles and ideas!