Buying Men's 1920s Clothing

Danielle Jennings
man with modern 20s look

Although it doesn't get the attention of the female fashions of the time, 1920s men's clothing was, in its way, just as radical as short hemlines and bobbed hair. You wouldn't know it to look at the business and formal wear of the time -- which doesn't look too different from modern suits -- but the clothes worn for leisure personified the free-spirited, youthful attitude of the era.

Where to Buy Men's 1920s Clothing

It may be hard to believe, but there are actually quite a few places to buy men's 1920s style clothing. This trick is to do a little research first and then decide which specific look from the decade you want to go for. There are department stores, specialty shops, online boutiques and retail chains that contain the components for you to recreate a fashionable 1920s look. Check out some of the best places to get started:

Online Stores

  • Woodland Farms Vintage - An online boutique that specializes in authentic vintage fashions from the Civil War to the 1980s. However, once you see an item that you like, jump on it immediately as much of the merchandise gets sold pretty quickly.
  • The Vintage Dancer - If you want to know exactly where around the web to find your 1920s clothing, then this is the site for you because it has compiled lists of the best places to shop online for authentic and 1920s-inspired looks.
  • Suit USA - A one-stop-shop for every type of suit imaginable. All the popular cuts, colors and fabrics of 20s men's suits are represented in a plethora of reproduction merchandise.
  • Revamp Vintage - Shop for limited edition handmade reproduction items from the 20s, like shirts, vests, and trousers.

Department and Clothing Stores

  • Bloomingdale's - Expect to find a lot of the vintage-inspired men's suits and sportswear here.
  • Nordstrom - In addition to men's suits and casual wear with a retro 20s twist, you will also find accessories from the decade, such as hats and ties.
  • Men's Wearhouse - Any type of suit you can imagine is available at this retail giant, including 1920s-style designs.
  • Macy's - Think of this department store as a one-stop-shop, as you are likely to find a generous amount of suits, shoes, casual wear and accessories with a vintage style.
  • Urban Outfitters - For younger men who want to bask in the fashions of the 20s, this mall staple is a great place to go for casual wear, accessories and occasionally shoes.

Key 1920s Clothing for Men to Purchase

man with fedora and retro style suit

Aside from beautiful clothing, one of the best things about the fashion industry is how retro styles become popular again at any given time. From the 40s, 60s, 70s or 80s, you can always count on the fashions of old to make a prominent dent within the current fashion landscape.

That's why the resurgence in popularity of 1920s fashion, particularly men's fashion, is no surprise. However, when buying vintage clothing there are a few things you should know to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want. Since it's highly likely that you weren't around in the 20s to know exactly how the fashions looked or how they were worn, it's good to have an eagle-eye consumer view when shopping for retro styles.

The end of World War I saw a more youthful look embraced by society. The idea of a youth movement in clothing is usually associated with the 1950s and especially the 1960s, but it first took hold in the 1920s and can be said to have longer lasting effects. The changes are seen in many details, particularly suiting and casual wear.

Here are a few of the signature styles of the decade to look for on your shopping journey:

  • Conservative suit - Worn during the early part of the decade, this suit style was characterized by narrow shoulders, tight-fitted jackets and pinched waists. The overall look provided a thin, streamlined silhouette.
  • Jazz suit - As the decade neared its mid point, thin cut suits were cast out in favor of the "jazz suit." This particular style was a large influence for the zoot suits later on. They featured longer jackets, roomier pants and chains worn as accessories.
  • Hats - Those with rounded brims, classic Fedora-shaped, newsboy caps and straw styles were popular.
  • Vests - Usually worn with daytime business suits as well as formal tuxedos.
  • Wing Tip shoes - The most popular footwear for men of this era, especially in two-tone colors.
  • Bow ties - Worn in a variety of patterns and colors.
  • Ties - Among the most favored were those that featured bold patterns and rich colors.
  • Sweaters - Featured intricate patterns and prints.

How to Wear It

boater hat and vintage sweater

If there is one thing to consider when you're wearing vintage clothing it's to avoid looking like you're wearing a costume. It can be tempting to want to outfit yourself in a head-to-toe 1920s look, but the end result can border on overkill. Keep these tips in mind as you compile your retro 20s style:

  • Avoid head-to-toe vintage - The best (and most fashionable) way to incorporate 1920s fashion into your current wardrobe is to do it in pieces. A jacket, tie, shoes or a hat are all great places to start, just don't wear them all together unless you're on your way to a costume party.
  • Have it tailored - Vintage clothing has been worn before, so when you buy retro clothing from specialty stores there is a large chance that it won't fit you properly. Be prepared to visit your local tailor to ensure that your purchases fit your frame.
  • Combine old and new - Give your 1920s look a spin of your own by combining it with current fashions. Not only is this cutting edge, but it also brings a welcomed element of personalization.
  • Know what to buy - The good thing about 1920s men's clothing is that virtually all the fashions are easily worn today. Unlike other decades that were less traditional in the fashion aspect, the 20s featured classic styles that are still acceptable for today's regular wear. Suits, hats, shoes, ties, bow ties and vests all standout as some of the best pieces to wear.

Pull Off a 20s Look

Once you have your 1920s look firmly in place, the possibilities are endless as to how you choose to style it and make it your own. It's important to do retro clothing justice, but also set yourself apart from others who may be wearing similar pieces. Do the men of this fashionable decade proud and wear your threads in style.

Buying Men's 1920s Clothing