I was watching an episode of Jeeves and Wooster earlier today, and aside from the sardonic wit and deadpan delivery of Jeeves, and the good natured ineptitude of Bertie, what I love most about the show is the fashion. The 1920’s in Britain were possibly the high point of the 20th century fashion wise (in the upper middle and upper classes at any rate).
Here are some of the things I loved most fashion wise from the 20’s:
Double Breasted Waistcoats:
Double breasted waistcoats are just so much more elegant than single breasted, from my own experience, there is less obvious straining against the buttons if you’ve had a big lunch and the symmetry actually serves to make you look a little slimmer, not to mention the cut of the waistcoat itself compliments the look of the outfit by blending into the trousers rather than leaving a little visible shirt.
Double Breasted Suits
In general double breasted is the way to go if you don’t seem able (or willing) to shift a bit of stomach, the cut is more flattering to the larger gentlemen, but is also warmer too, and whether worn with a waistcoat or not is always a classic look that the 1920’s were really all about, because it was the decade that a lot of long lasting trends came into existence and Double breasted suits are something that seems to fade in and out of fashion over the years, but I would much rather a decent double breasted blazer than some of this slim fit crap that people try to pass off as suits these day’s.
Black tie is one of those things that has never gone out of fashion, and while it was around before the 1920’s it really took off in Britain in the 1920’s replacing the more formal white tie and tails black tie is something that hasn’t really changed much in the last 100 years, collars and lapel sizes shapes change all the time and the old argument of waistcoat or cummerbund still rages on, but its essence is still the height of chic in menswear (even if the jacket and tie are velvet).
Walking Sticks/ Canes
I sometimes carry a cane, especially if my gout is playing up, the one I use has a bronze handle, and the amount of comments I get about it are unbelievable, from asking if there’s a sword concealed within to the more personal whether I actually need it (the answer is I have a cane because I need a cane, I have that particular cane because it looks bad ass). But for the 1920’s a great deal of men about town of my age and social standing would carry a walking stick during the day, and then have a more formal one for once they’d dressed for dinner.
Although it was starting to be phased out during the 20’s for the less formal, more comfortable black tie, white tie was for the most formal occasions, and rarely exists to this day (I’ve been to one white tie event in my life) its for things like sate banquets, and formal halls and the most strict universities and is often shown on things such as Downton Abbey, and its one of those things that I hope makes a comeback.
I like how (certain) hats look, but I cant seem to pull off any hat, and lord knows I’ve tried. But in the 1920’s every one seemed to wear hats while they were out and about, from flat cap and straw boater, to fedora and top hat, hats were well represented by men of every class. And men of all classes knew to take them off when going indoors, it really annoys me seeing people wearing hats indoors, especially baseball caps, I don’t know whats worse, the lack of manners or lack of fashion sense.
Dressing For Travel
This one seems like such a simple thing, but whether its because travel has become quicker and easier or just because the novelty has worn off, but people don’t dress to travel anymore, in the 20’s for a member of the lower classes to travel was a big deal, so they would dress to impress, but the upper classes, especially men would wear something that would travel well, but it wouldn’t matter so much if they go a little bit of the road on it. so something like a tweed suit would be rather practical, especially if travelling by train.
So those are some of my favourite fashion trends of the 1920’s I would like to see quite a few of them make a comeback if you couldn’t tell. Anyway I hope you found this little guide informative, or at the very least have found it entertaining.