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Get the Gatsby Look: The Guide to 1920s Fashion for Men

Welcome to the 1920s. A booming economy and flourishing arts and culture set the scene for a decade of indulgence and fun that became known as The Roaring Twenties.

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The automobile was bringing people together like never before, while the new music of Jazz was pushing the boundaries of what music could be. Then there’s fashion.

1920s Fashion Idea - Peaky Blinders

1920s fashion for men has become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to the huge success of TV and film features like Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey and The Great Gatsby.

Read on to find out how to create a classic 1920s men’s style.

What 1920s Fashion Was Like for Men of the Era

In the 1920s, men's fashion underwent a significant transformation, defining the Roaring era. Inspired by The Great Gatsby, many embraced this distinct style. Dapper gentlemen exuded charm and sophistication.

1920s men’s fashion reflected various styles, mirroring social and cultural changes. Gatsby attire often comprised impeccably tailored suits, showcasing sophistication.

An iconic element was high-waisted trousers, paired with a dress shirt and tie. Bold colors and luxurious fabrics added extravagance.

Accessories were vital, including suspenders, pocket squares, and fedora hats, adding flair. Attention to detail became a hallmark.

The Bones of a 20s Outfit

The 1920s was a time of significant change in men's fashion. If you're wondering how to dress like a man who stepped out of the 1920s or what to wear to a 20s party, here's a guide on how men dressed in that era. 

The 20s you’ll see most commonly recreated today are broadly: the pinstripe suits made famous by gangsters, practical workwear of the lower classes, Great Gatsby-esque outfits, or a rough-'n-ready Peaky Blinders look.

black-fedora-hat-on-a-chair

For the majority of men, suits were the day to day attire. Almost always, a suit would be worn with a hat: styles ranged from the fedora to the homburg, to a round bowler. In the summer months, the Panama hat was the headwear of choice.

1920s Suit

The suit was the essential element of the 1920s man’s wardrobe. Unless you were a blue-collar worker, sportsman, or teenager, suits were the go-to look.

To dress like a true 1920s gentleman, start with the basics. Men typically wore high-waisted pants, a matching jacket, and a vest. The pants were often wide-legged with cuffs, while the jackets had a loose, boxy silhouette. 

Jackets were often double or single-breasted with three to four buttons. 1920s fashion for men suits were characterized by high lapels, something very unique to this era. With all the buttons done up, the jackets would completely cover vests, showing just the collar and necktie.

Suits were made with thick wool, wool tweed, mohair, wool flannel, or corduroy. These materials meant that the suits were somewhat heavier than today’s, but lighter than those that came before them.

Color of suits were usually dark and light browns, medium blues, dark greens, and greys. For the more daring gentlemen, a pastel pink suit was a great choice for attracting attention while remaining within the rules of fashion. 

Interestingly, the classic black suit, often donned in gangster films depicting the era, is a Hollywood myth. Black suits were strictly for mourning and cash-rich gangsters would have worn only the most fashionable suits of the day, not funeral wear.

Opt for a suit in neutral tones like gray, brown, or navy blue. Pair it with a pastel-colored shirt and a striped or patterned tie for an authentic look.

Accessories of the 20s

Don't forget to accessorize with a pocket square and a stylish hat, like a fedora, to complete the ensemble. 

To truly capture the essence of the time, try adding vintage-inspired accessories. A pocket watch, suspenders, and a stylish walking cane can elevate your outfit.

1920s Fashion Shoes

1920s brown-leather-lace-up-shoes-186037

Before the 1920s, cap toe lace-up boots were worn by working men and gentlemen alike for almost all occasions. They were sturdy and comfortable while looking smart enough for formal occasions.

During the 1920s though, Oxford shoes began supplanting the lace-up boot as the shoe of choice for the contemporary male. They were essentially the same as the previous lace-up boots, except they were missing the section around the ankle which made them — boots rather than shoes.

Other shoe designs that became popular for 1920s fashion for men were the Wingtip Oxfords, two-tone tennis shoes, and slippers.

Great Gatsby Outfits

Leonardo DoCaprio
CANNES, FRANCE: Leonardo DiCaprio attends the Opening Ceremony and Premiere of 'The Great Gatsby' at The 66th Cannes Film Festival Festivals, 2013.

After seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the star-studded cast live out the lives of the 1920s rich and famous in The Great Gatsby, it’s hard not to want to emulate the sophisticated styles of these socialites. Here’s how to do it.

Cloudstyle Mens 3 Piece Slim fit Checked Suit

The Suit

Gatsby would have worn a well-fitting (not baggy) medium brown, grey, or light blue suit. Suits were always buttoned up high in 1920s fashion for men, so pick a jacket with 4-6 buttons, ideally with peak or notch lapels.


COOFANDY Men's V-Neck Suit

The Vest

Gatsby would have always taken great care to ensure that his vest and trousers matched. Not all had the money to own a matching suit, but as a very rich man, Gatsby would have. The vest should be single or double-breasted with 6 buttons up the front.


Haggar Men's Premium Comfort Classic Pants

The Pants

It’s difficult to find men’s pants today that sit as high as those of 1920s fashion. Amazingly, they tended to fit just below the rib cage.

Your best bet is to find classic fit men’s suit pants or golf pants. Although belts were becoming more common, Gatsby would have worn button-on suspenders in the main, so go for them.


Paul Fredrick Men's Egyptian Cotton Straight Collar Dress Shirt

The Shirt

When it comes to the shirt, there’s only one option. A French cuff shirt with cuff links is the only way to go. For the collar, go pointed or round club. White collars were a popular look, as were solid color shirts with matching collars. Go for vertical stripes or subtle checks, too.


STACY ADAMS Men's Tinsley Wingtip Lace-Up Oxford

The Shoes

Another big change for men in 1920s fashion for men was a move from sharp, pointy shoes to more roomy designs. Instead, Oxfords were made with round or wide box tips to give the toes more room. In the second half of the 20s, Oxford designs began to get more creative, incorporating reptile skins like alligator or embossed leather.

Gatsby was a fan of the two-tone shoes which were gaining popularity in the 1920s. Brown, white or grey would work very well. Alternatively, go for a more old-fashioned cap-toe lace-up Oxford, or even dark brown wingtips.

Footwear in the 1920s varied depending on the occasion. For a formal event, men wore leather dress shoes, while for a more casual setting, spectators or two-tone oxfords were a popular choice. 


Ferrecci Premium Lined Wool Hat

The Hat

Men were rarely seen hatless in 1920s fashion for men. Though the movie does indeed show many hatless heads, this is due to the face obscuring problems of hats rather than historical accuracy. Fedoras, bowlers, Derbys, and even newsboy hats will all work well for a Gatsby look.


Jacob Alexander Polka Dot Print Men's Reg Polka Dotted Tie

The Tie

Feel free to choose a necktie or bowtie. The patterns that were popular at the time were wide diagonal stripes, polka dots, deco patterns, and paisley. Be sure to wear a matching pocket square to complete the look.


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1920s style guide