1940s suits and fashions for men were far different than the suits during the war years. Substance was more important than style in the 1940s fashion world. French and Italian designers had to take a step back during the war. Economics became a major fashion influencer at the time. Men who lived in the 1940s had to wear sturdy, practical clothing. If a man’s suit was too flashy during the war, he might have an unflattering label put in front of his name.
After the War: 1940s Suits Explode with Style
After the war, the swing era came out of nowhere, and 1940s suits were full-cut again. Double-breasted, single button, and longer jackets with wider trousers, also known as Zoot Suits, were boosting the mood of the country. Dress shirts came in a range of fabrics and colors. Hand-painted silk ties gave men a sense of elegance, as well as an exotic feeling. Ties were an expression of individual style back then, but they still give men the clout they need to face a day full of challenges.
When the war ended, men went to the office or workplace wearing elegant suits. The most recognizable look was the Esquire jacket. Esquire magazine was the Gentlemen’s Quarterly of the 1940s. The Esquire jacket was a loose-fitting jacket with broad shoulders. Many of today’s suits have a touch of the Esquire jacket in them.
Double-breasted jackets with peaked lapels and center vests were on men everywhere. The double-breasted suit is still a men’s fashion icon. The single button suit began emerged in the 1940s. Wide, short ties with big bold prints had to have a Windsor knot to be credible. Tie pins were a must, and the white shirt was a staple, too. Shirts in different colors were popping up after the war, and they had a lot to do with the new casual feeling that men wanted to express.
What to Wear with Your Wingtips
Wingtip and straight tip shoes gave suits the extra pop of pleasure the decade had to have to make up for the agonizing war years. The basic accessories of the 1940s included:
- Colorful suspenders
- Braided and smooth leather belts
- Pocket squares
- Gold cufflinks
- Aftershave lotion, a must-have.
Casual Clothes: Sensible Alternatives to the 1940s Suit
Even though 1940s suits were the uniform of the decade, men’s working and casual clothes had a huge impact on the mood of the country. Work pants were sturdy and stiff, and cotton canvas coveralls gave men the protection they needed to fix their 1940s Studebakers. Knit shirts, pullover sweaters, and vests were colorful, but snug. They had round necks, but the V-neck sweater also made an impact on 1940s fashion.
The casual collar shirt in an array of colors and the Hawaiian Aloha shirt were also an attention getter. Hollywood gave the western style clothing and alligator skin boots credibility. The sports jacket that made its first appearance in the 1930s was the one men’s fashion item that gave men the freedom they needed to be casual and dressy at the same time. Just like today, the sports jacket gives 1940s suits a run for fashion gold.