Exploring Men’s Fashion’s Past: 1930 -1939
If there is an era of time remembered in America as being rather somber, it’s the 1930s. The stock market crash of 1929 began a time that will forever be known as “The Great Depression,” and saw millions of Americans fighting to regain their ground after an unprecedented financial tragedy. As one might expect, fashion in the 1930s took on a different tone than in the decades prior; the financial strains of the time forced a lot of people to be extremely careful about how they spent their money, which very often meant sacrificing the quality of clothing that they purchased. While the ‘30s will never go down as being the peak era of men’s fashion in America, it’s still an important period of time to look back on and analyze to help further one’s understanding of how modern fashion came to be.
Drab Color Schemes
The “Roaring Twenties” saw a great deal of happy Americans, which no doubt reflected in the way they dressed. After the stock market crash, however, everything changed. Gone were the bright, attractive colors that made themselves apparent in the ‘20s, and in came a much more drab color scheme for both men and women. Bright colors quickly fell out of fashion (perhaps as a result of the “sobering” nature of this period of time), and were replaced by grays, dark greens, tans and similar earth-tones. While the shift away from prominent colors was likely most apparent in women’s fashion, menswear (especially suits) certainly changed as a result of this shift as well. It would be many more years before wearing brightly-colored menswear would once again be deemed acceptable.
The “London Drape”
Men’s fashion in the 1930s wasn’t all doom and gloom as some people have come to think. During this period of time, a particular suit cut known as the “London Drape” began to see a great deal of popularity after Frederick Scholte tailored the suit for the Prince of Wales. Softer and far more flexible than the suits of the past, the London Drape featured extra padding in the shoulders, a nipped waist and sleeves that were tapered right around the wrist. Trousers that went along with this suit were also tapered, as opposed to those that were typically worn in the 1920s. This look quickly became popular in Hollywood, often exaggerated to a dramatic extent in mobster movies; think Dick Tracy and other characters that might be considered his contemporaries.
Mens ties became wider and the Art Deco style graphic prints that were already present during the late 1920s became a common theme in the world the the men’s necktie. While the tie design and cut of this period are certainly memorable, it was the way the necktie was worn that had the strongest impact on today’s tie fashion. The duke of Windsor invented the so-called Windsor knot (aka “double Windsor” or “full Windsor”) –a much larger and triangular looking tie knot that perfectly suited the proportion of the wide shouldered “London Drape”.
Takeaways for the Modern Man
While you might think that 1930s fashion might be best left a part of history, you can actually get quite a bit of mileage by incorporating the drab colors that were once considered to be somber into your ensemble during the colder months of the year. Many of these colors are actually earth tones, which can be quite warm when worn correctly. Also, you might want to take a hint from the neckties that were popular during this era; wide and bold, often featuring elaborate geometric designs that turned more than a few heads during this period of time.
Your Ties-Necktie.com Team