The 1940s men’s fashion stands out among others mostly due to Classic suits and elegant hats. In the early 1940s when limited amounts of fabric were available, an ordinary working man would wear more practical suits with no vest, pocket flaps, wide lapels or trouser cuffs. His pants would also be flat-fronted to save on fabric. Besides, wartime necessity allowed men to wear mismatched jackets and trousers. All this sounds quite modest and not too attractive. So why would classic 1940s suits stand out among anything at all? Well, suits that are most often associated to the 1940s appeared in the second half of the decade when the war was over and new modern designs were introduced. Men liked these new designs so much that they became classics.
Classic 1940s suits came with full-length, straight-cut wool or flannel trousers with wide cuffs or without them. Suit trousers were worn quite high on the waist. They were pleated and had a center crease that ran the full length of the pants.
Probably the most notable post-war design was a Jacket with broad and padded shoulders, but fitted-in to the waist. For office and formal occasions men wore double- or single- breasted jackets (although double is more stereotypical of the 1940s). Pockets could be patch (sewn-on the fabric) or welt (cut into the fabric). The collar and lapels were quite wide again and sometimes for evening wear even made of another material, like silk.
Other parts of classic 1940s suits
In the late 1940s the vest was back but only for the most formal business attire. 1940s vests were simple V neck cut and had pockets for decoration rather than function. Their fabrics now had to match jacket and trousers.
Although white cotton shirts were still widely worn with classic 1940s suits, many other colors and prints such as muted solids or stripes were now available. The 1940s shirts came with no pockets as a vest and a jacket would be worn on top. However, they had wide and sharply pointed collars and French (double) cuffs which required some accessories.
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