In contrast to women’s fashion, the progression of change in styles for men was much slower. As in the 1920s, it was customary for a man to wear a lounge suit as daywear, which would be made of either wool, tweed or flannel and be accompanied by a hat, most likely a trilby. The fashionable look for men included jackets, cut straight over the hips, with wide shoulders and big revers and trousers that were loose fitting and wide-legged.

For eveningwear men wore tailcoats or single-breasted jackets, depending on the level of formality required.

Although many men used tailors, readymade suits were affordable and easily available. A major retailer was Hepworth & Son. It was founded in 1864 as a gentleman’s tailors and in the twentieth century it expanded into a nationwide chain.


The man in this clip wears a suit for an informal occasion – a private party in a friend’s garden. Whilst he playfully rolls around on the ground we can see flashes of his sock-suspenders. These were worn to prevent socks from rolling down the leg and looking unsightly.


Title: [The Wedding day]
Date: (1930s)

Film-maker: Not known

A double or single-breasted overcoat with buckled belt was very fashionable outerwear for men. This style of coat became synonymous with this era and defined the style of popular comic strip character Dick Tracy, created in 1931 by Chester Gould, the American cartoonist.

The coat features raglan sleeves – created by a diagonal seam extending from neck to underarm to make them easier to slip on and off.


[Outing to a Zoo; Trip to Germany; African Village] (1930s & 1940s)

Title: [Outing to a Zoo; Trip to Germany; African Village]
Date: [ca.1935-1936]

Film-maker: Joseph Horowitz

The bowler hat was a nineteenth century invention but continued to be worn in the first decades of the twentieth century, when its popularity was at its height. By 1935 – when this clip was recorded – other forms of hats were also worn, most notably the trilby.

Black bowler hat (1924)

Title: black bowler hat
Date: (1924)

Image courtesy of Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery

Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery has a black bowler hat that was worn to a wedding in 1924 (Item No. 1984/111).