The 1920s will always stand out as the decade that inspired a brighter, brassier and more vibrant lifestyle. First of all, Max Perkins, the famous editor, introduced Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolf to the world. Yet, he did more than just publish outstanding novels – he was a visionary. Perkins understood what Fitzgerald was doing when he wrote the epic novel, The Great Gatsby. Scott wanted to introduce the world to stylish and redefined fashions for men, like the Great Gatsby suit.
Even though the novel was not popular or even a literary masterpiece at the time, the book evoked a definitive masculine aesthetic that has withstood the test of time. Men’s fashions still pivoted on classicism, but there was a thematic twist that made the 20s roar with inspiration and innovation. Here is a breakdown of the classic Great Gatsby look.
Elements of the Great Gatsby Suit
Snappy Suspenders and Shirts
The roaring 20s gave men a reason to wear suspenders with a pair of knickers. A white or light blue dress shirt made the Great Gatsby suit stand out. The classic bow tie gave the dress shirt credence. The newsboy cap was a fashion must for men of all ages. In addition, no man would leave home without his pocket watch.
Sharp Trousers and Shoes
One of the major innovations in clothing was a trouser crease running down the front of the leg. This is one of the earmarks of the Great Gatsby suit. Furthermore, men wore two-tone brogues with their Great Gatsby suits. Formal wear for an evening event was always classic. Men had a pair of shiny black patent leather shoes and a two-button tuxedo, which was the standard evening dress attire.
Materials and Colors
Wool, tweed and flannel fabrics were in vogue in the 20s. Also, a vest was usually part of the suit. The dominant suit colors were brown, blue, beige, green and tan. Because the high, detachable shirt collar went out of fashion, it allowed the white shirt with a white collar to take its place.
Ties gave the Great Gatsby suit an infusion of color. Bold floral prints, stripes and creative patterns in a display of color, putting the long tie and the bow tie on a pedestal. Furthermore, the half Windsor or double Windsor knot gave the suit a heavy dose of classic charm.
An Active, Athletic Feel
Roaring 20s clothing had a youthful, athletic feel, thanks to tennis star Bill Tilden and golfer Bobby Jones. Since both men were fashion icons, they made the tennis sweater and the sleeveless sweater, like the ones Gatsby wore in the book, famously popular. Well-dressed young men wore golfing knickers or white flannel trousers with a loose V-neck sweater vest over a white-collar shirt. While this was the way to make an impression on the opposite sex in those days, most of those men never played a round of tennis or golf.
Silent film star Rudolf Valentino introduced the words, “suave” and “debonair” to American men. His slick, parted hair and custom-made Gatsby suits provided the inspiration necessary to show the world the roaring 20s was the age of the well-dressed man. As a result, this attention to style continues today for modern men who want to make an unforgettable impression.