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1920s Fashion in Britain That Changed the Industry

by Zoey Parker 06 Feb 2020
"Express yourself through fashion"

In early 1920's in Britain, we see a style change in men's suits

that is going to leave an indelible mark in men's fashion.



In facts, formal men's wear in use nowadays is not only largely inspired by the 20s trend, but many modern fashion suits are designed along the lines of those worn in that decade.

From the conservative look of morning suits, slim fitted style suits characterized by long grey or black coats, we move on to shorter jackets with wide, natural shaped shoulders. Sack suits that came with loose fitting plain long jackets and were usually quite heavy and bulky are replaced by modern cut suits made of wool or a tweed blend.



The hat was also a very important part of a man's look in the 20s to determine what class he belonged to. Here's a bit of history of men's hats

Upper class' men wore top hats (tall, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed hats) that were first brought to England in 1793 by George Dunnage, a hatter from Middlesex, and became popular amongst all social classes.

They then became part of policemen's and postmen's uniforms, which gave them the first connotation of authority that eventually led to them developing into "a symbol of urban respectability" (Prince Albert had a great influence on this when he started wearing them in 1890).

The top hat was maintained as a symbol of wealth and high social status since the '20s, when men wouldn't go out without their hats, as important, they were to determine your position in society.

Middle-class men or those whose situation quickly and suddenly changed into wealth would wear Fedora hats, inspired by gangsters' style, or bowler hats, that became very popular thanks to Charlie Chaplin.



For the first time, the lower classes had chosen to express their identity through fashion. Even those, whose sudden fortune changed their economic status, kept showing the lower class they belonged to. Fashion was a channel to state social identity.

Flat caps are in use amongst all social categories nowadays: we can easily associate them with subcultures as skinhead, punk and hip-hop, but they're also worn by public figures like David Beckham, Guy Ritchie and even the Prince of Wales.

Before 1600, flat caps were already known as a symbol of non-nobility. Common especially amongst the working-class men, after being reserved for the lower classes only for over 5 centuries, the "page boy" style cap started to become a trend between boys from all statuses in England and Ireland in the 20s.



There are a number of stories behind the granddad collarless shirt and where they derived from, we believe that the shirt originated from the blue-collar workers, farmers and factory hands of the 1920s and 30s, it is said that since the workers in these industries didn’t wear a tie for a fear of it getting stuck in heavy machinery they would cut the collar off their shirts. Another story goes that a lady in the US known as Hannah Montague cut of the collar of her husband’s shirt to wash it and so was born the detachable collar!



When you think about 1920s fashion and men’s shoes the first thing that comes to mind is the brogues the modern brogues trace their roots from Scotland and Ireland and were constructed using untanned hide the modern interpretation now conceals the leather in order to protect against weather conditions and also tanned to match the outfit choice. The rejuvenation of the brogues was reignited from the famous ‘the Great Gatsby’ film which was based on the novel. This story glamorised the shoes and has made it the completing item on any outfit.


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