Defining Elegance: A Detailed Guide to 1920s Formal Men’s Wear

As we cast our eyes back to the 1920s, an era of unprecedented change and advancement leaps forward. The Roaring Twenties was an epoch marked by post-war affluence, jazz music, art deco, and changing social norms. It was also a golden age of men’s fashion, as the old, rigid Victorian era styles gave way to a more modern, vibrant sartorial expression.

The face of men’s formal wear shifted dramatically during this era, with new styles, cuts, and accessories reflecting the changes in societal norms. The concept of 1920s formal men’s wear is a rich and complex topic, and to fully understand its significance, we must delve deep into its various facets.

Evolving Men’s Fashion in the 1920s

By the dawn of the 20th century, men’s fashion was transitioning from the buttoned-up, rigid Victorian era style to a more relaxed, yet formal approach. The 1920s heralded a renaissance for men’s wear, as societal norms started to shift towards a more casual lifestyle. This was reflected in the fashion of the time, where function met aesthetics in a sophisticated rendering of clothing.

The Formal Suit

The cornerstone of 1920s men’s formal wear was the suit. During this era, the modern-day suit as we know it began to take form. The prevalent styles were the single-breasted and double-breasted suits, often paired with a white dress shirt underneath. Patterns played an important role, with stripes, checks, and plaid assumed to be the distinctive markings of the well-dressed man.

Rise of the Tuxedo

The tuxedo emerged as an icon of 1920s formal men’s wear. It was a departure from the full-dress suit and was sought after for semi-formal social occasions. It incorporated black tie elements, including white tuxedo shirts, black patent leather shoes, and silk lapels, instilling a sense of sophistication and elegance.

Accessories: Creating a Complete 1920s Look

In tandem with their outfits, men of the 1920s had a fine selection of accessories that accentuated their formal attire. From cufflinks and tie bars to pocket squares and hats, every detail was carefully curated to present a picture of immaculate style and elegance.


No discussion of 1920s fashion is complete without mentioning hats. Hats were an essential accessory, with styles ranging from bowler hats and fedoras to flat caps and panamas. They not only served a practical purpose, but also added an extra layer of chic to the formal attire.

Ties and Bow Ties

Ties and bow ties were indispensable pieces of the 1920s formal wardrobe. They came in a variety of patterns, colors, and materials. Men often chose their tie or bow tie to either compliment or contrast their suit, serving to complete their look with flair.

1920s Formal Men’s Wear: A Lasting Impact

As we look back at the style evolution of the 1920s, it is evident that this epoch made an enduring contribution to the landscape of formal men’s wear. From the prevalent suit styles to the iconic tuxedo and carefully selected accessories, the 1920s set forth a legacy of elegance that continues to influence the realm of men’s formal fashion even today.

The revolution in men’s fashion that began in the 1920s blossomed into what we identify as modern men’s formal wear. The foundations laid during this pivotal era continue to echo even today – reminding us of the time when men’s fashion took a leap from rigid Victorian conventions towards more stylish, practical, and comfortable trends.


To summarize, the era of the 1920s had a profound and lasting impact on men’s formal wear, ushering in a wave of change that swept across decades. The evolution of suits, the rise of the tuxedo, and the range of accessories each played their part in redefining what it meant to be stylish. Today, these very trends continue to inspire designers worldwide. From catwalks to red carpets, the influence of 1920s formal men’s wear is evident, demonstrating that the Roaring Twenties had a voice that still echoes in our ears, influencing us in numerous, often surprising, ways.

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