Looking for an easy 1920s men’s casual or sporty fashion outfit? You can put together a casual 1920s men’s outfit with items from your closet or local thrift store. Here’s how:
What you’ll need:
- Plain, plaid, check, or tweed pants/knickers and suit jacket (optional)
- Long sleeve stripe shirt with white collar
- Knit vest or wool suit vest
- Flat / Ivy cap or boater hat
- Accessories – Bow tie, two-tone shoes
The 1920s Sportsman
In the 1920s, men and women began to experience leisure time with the newly created work “weekends.” With the free time came a new enjoyment for outdoor sports such as tennis, golf, and sailing. Sport clothes had to be comfortable, easy to move in, and stylish enough for the middle to upper class men that played them.
The 1920s sportsman’s clothes consisted of light colored baggy pants or even baggier plus fours. Plus fours, also known as knickers, capped off just below the knee with longer argyle socks covering the rest of the leg. Pants would be white or off-white for tennis and sailing, or had bold patterns of checks and plaids for golf.
Tip: To quickly make plus fours, take baggy pants and a piece of elastic. Tie the elastic around the pant cuffs just below the knee and fluff the pants over. Be sure you don’t tie it too tight and cut off your circulation. For ready-made golf knickers look here.
Long pants can be worn, too. Light colors are best for summer with wide legs and cuffed hems. Thick and thin stripes, tweed, and herringbone patterned pants were all the rage. 1920s pants were held up very high on the waist with button-on suspenders. Belts were just starting to come into fashion, but weren’t very common yet. To get pants to fit high up, buy an extra size or two up. Modern golf pants are both baggier and usually higher waisted then other men’s suit pants. Vintage pants from the 1970s can also be quite nice — just avoid any with bell bottom legs.
1920s Men’s Sport Shirts
1920s men especially liked striped shirts– white/blue, white/yellow, and white/pink were popular combinations. Shirts were always long sleeved (yes, even in summer) and usually had white cuffs and collars.
Prior to the 1920s, it was improper to be out in public without a jacket. Wearing only a shirt was unacceptable. However, knit sweaters became a new approved fashion trend. Long sleeve sweaters, short sleeves sweaters, and sweater vests were worn over dress shirts for a casual sporty look.
Enjoy this new freedom by wearing a light colored suit vest or chunky knit sweater vest. For a collegiate look, put a large letter on the front or lower right side of the sweater.
1920s Men’s Fashion Accessories
Neckties and bow ties in bold colors of thick stripes and dots with matching pocket squares/handkerchiefs were the two accessories that allowed for a lot of color. Have fun with your selection, and if possible buy a self tie bow tie and learn to tie it. It will look better then a pre-tied bow tie.
The best part of 1920s men’s fashion was the hats. Summer hats could be straw boaters, panamas, or flat caps. Flat caps, also called ivy caps, cab driver caps, Big Apple caps, newsboy caps, and slew of other names were the choice hat worn in the 1920s by all classes of men. Even the Great Gatsby wore a white cap to his summer parties. These hats should be easy to find locally or online. The baggier style “newsboy” caps are the most authentic to the 1920s cap shape.
1920s shoes took a fun shift into two-tone lace-up Oxfords. Brown and white for day wear and black and white for evening wear were popular for the wealthy. Golf shoes are still made in two tones, but otherwise you may have to special order them online. It’s the one fashion splurge that is worth it to make your outfit look VERY 1920s vintage.
Shop 1920s style men’s shoes.
More 1920s Outfits:
- 1920s Men’s Outfit Inspiration & Costume Ideas
- Accurate 1920s Classic Car Show Costumes
- 10 Easy 1920s Men’s Costumes Ideas / Outfits
- 1920s Men’s Workwear, Casual Clothes
- 1920s Men’s Vintage Casual Outfit Ideas
- Men’s Vintage Boating Outfits, Sailing Clothes
- 1920s Tennis Clothes | Women’s and Men’s Outfits
If you don’t have these clothes already in your closet, I recommend heading to your nearest thrift store or department store. Most of these items can be found locally. The following clothes are new clothes with a 1920s look and feel to them. Supplement your outfit or piece together a whole new wardrobe with these options.
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.