URBAN LOOK FOR MEN

By Bob Hensz

Last month I looked a bit at some of the changes in women's fashions, but men's fashions also experienced a change. We all recognize the fashions in the westerns from the typical cowboy clothing that John Wayne wore complete with long sleeve shirt and vest - usually leather and of course topped with the traditional cowboy felt/beaver hair hat and feet adorned with the cowboy boot. Now whether that was really in the period or not is another subject for another time. In those westerns you also had the clothes work but the dandy who arrives in town complete with spectacles and for sure not the manly-man type - just what the film director wanted.

Move a bit more forward now to the 1920s and in particular 1929. Now we are seeing more of the urban look - men removed from the farms and in the cities to work in offices or retail establishments. The catalogs are full of this look - the dapper man in a suit, with fancy shoes, topped off with a fedora. The hats of both men and women is such a wide subject that they each will require their own article, but suffice it to say that these are very important in the fashion scene.

Ads for men would be more like the catalog image to the right:man in suit

Now we see the suit ready to be worn into the Chicago office building. A bit more refined from the suits of earlier days which were popularized in our minds from the movies of the gangsters. In the early 1920s men's trousers were straight legged and according to one article, worn short to show off the socks. By the early 1930s, the legs were beginning to have a tapered look. This 1929 ad shows that type of look. The wide legged trousers were in between these periods - about 1925. The coats still have the wide lapels and I would imagine that they would be made of the thick wool so common in that era - not something we would enjoy wearing in the heat of the Texas Gulf Coast region. Still at the $19.50 price, sure looks better than the typical catalog suit of today at over $200. The image they portray, though, is of the successful business man. Little did he know that the stock market was about to crash, yet the fashions would continue to roll on throughout time.

Bob Hensz is a member of the Brazos Valley A's Model A club in Texas.


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