1940s Mens Fashion Styles

The rationing of fabric for suits during World War II from 1941 to 1945 did not affect 1940s men’s fashion. Middle-class men wore straightforward suits for work that hadn’t changed significantly since the turn of the century.

The infamous Zoot Suit, which was worn by inner-city adolescents, was an underground rebellion with its vivid colours, baggy legs, and long coats.

Top 1940s Men’s Fashion

The cut of the clothing, the patterns, and the aesthetic features that displayed one’s patriotic support of his nation are what set 1940s men’s fashion apart from other decades. Find the best 1940s men’s fashion here.

1: Waistcoats

In that, they had V-necklines and pointy points at the bottom for the single-breasted form, waistcoats from the 1940s were very similar to vests from the 1930s. Single-breasted waistcoats were significantly more common than double-breasted ones. 

Typically, they would have three or four pockets and six buttons. Of course, many men did not wear waistcoats because they were no longer required at work and because there was rationing, making it simple to do without.

Men would occasionally even flaunt a waistcoat beneath a zootsuit before central heating became commonplace. But by the 1940s, that era essentially ended, and wearing a waistcoat with a double-breasted suit was no longer acceptable.

2: Bow ties

Men continued to wear neckwear despite the prevalence of casual shirts, perhaps more so with formal dress shirts than with casual shirts.

However, there were also more relaxed shirts that supported ties. Naturally, there was a lack of silk as well, which had an impact on ties and led to the popularity of materials like wool, cotton, and rayon.

Many of these ties featured dramatic geometric patterns, unnatural spirals, or unusual colour schemes.

Additionally, ties got shorter and thinner. Ties were typically 10 inches, or 25 cm, shorter than they are now. After the war, ties grew significantly broader, reaching a maximum width of five inches or twelve and a half centimetres.

3: Suits and jackets

Typically, darker hues like black, dark grey, charcoal, brown, navy, and so forth were used for the jacket or suit. Checks, the standard classical pattern you know today, and herringbone tweeds like Donegal over plaids were also in use back then.

But they also had a lot of fascinating stripes, like pinstripes or chalk stripes, and occasionally, different double stripes were really fashionable.

Of course, fabric rationing also affected jackets in the UK, and there were restrictions on jackets in the US due to austerity measures. In the US, suits and jackets were not permitted to have flaps after 1942. In order to save fabric, you can also have patches on jetted pockets stitched to the suits.

4: Trousers

We must first discuss the austerity measures before discussing 1940s trousers. The width of the entrance was limited to 19 inches, which is nine and a half inches measured horizontally, or roughly 24 cm.

Even though they hailed from a variety of backgrounds, some of the youth of the time disregarded these laws, and many of them belonged to Black, Filipino, or Mexican populations.

They were what were known as “zoot suits,” which were huge jackets with extraordinarily generous cuts. It used up a lot of fabric because it was so long and because the trousers had such a broad cut.

There were many who felt that zoot suits were not patriotic because they were made of surplus fabric.

5: Footwear

By now, you’ve undoubtedly guessed that shoes were also in a limited supply. People actually had coupons that they needed in order to purchase a pair of shoes since rubber and leather were in high demand for the war effort.

If you were fortunate enough to find a pair of brand-new shoes, you would notice that they closely resembled those from the 1930s. That indicated that the toe form was rounded with a hint of pointiness. The heel and arc of the shoes were often both higher.

More men had also reverted to wearing boots rather than shoes, maybe encouraged by the war and the practical ethos.

6: Accessories

Men might prefer having their cigar case, tobacco, pipe or anything else linked to smoking because smoking was still highly common in the 1940s. The wristwatch has replaced the pocket watch as the standard timepiece, particularly in the US. 

Older men were often the only ones who wore pocket watches. Spending money on jewelry and accessories was actually regarded as patriotic after the war because it helped the economy. 

As a result, a lot of men could be seen wearing eye-catching wristwatches, rings, cufflinks, or other jewellery. For instance, sets with flasks and tie bars were widely used. However, leather scarves and gloves continued to be popular accessories.

7: Knitted vests

Men’s knit pullovers, vests, and shirts started to take over after work hours as a result of postwar casualness. With a big ribbed bottom and smaller ribbed sleeves and neck bands, they were made of textured knits with ribbed edges and fit extremely tightly. 

The only other style option for necks was a little V-neck, which was virtually always round and high on the neck. They could be styled either tucked in or out, with the former being the more popular option. 

Solid hues, broad horizontal stripes, and “Norwegian” patterns were particularly popular in the winter. They had the same design and colouring as shirts but were worn beneath a dress or casual shirt with long sleeves. 

They were knit with wool for added warmth in the winter and rayon/cotton blends in the summer.

To Conclude…

In a nutshell, the 1940s saw a marked departure from earlier times and the advancement of many ideas. You undoubtedly influenced the fashion of the time because of the war, the austerity laws, and rationing.

Additionally, we would claim that the materials’ quality at the time wasn’t the best. Because of the concentration on secondhand clothing to support the war effort, what men actually looked like back then was frequently not a fair picture of what was manufactured in the 1940s.

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