I have been making a small study out of the 1930's and 1940's men's slacks. I wanted to make them, and so I needed to spend time in books, on internet and inside my head to figure out just the right design. What did they wear?
Men's fashion went through a bit of a transformation after the first world war. Life changed, and so fashion changed. The men's pants grew in width. And as always, young people lead the way. The widest pants were the Oxford Bags, worn by Oxford students when they wanted to hide their knickers, since they were forbidden from 1925 onwards. They were mostly worn by the undergraduates.
Another novelty was the introduction of the zipper in the trouser fly. The prince of Wales was the first to wear it, and it soon became very popular.
Overall, the male figure was supposed to be masculine and sportive: narrow waisted and broad shouldered. The pants were high waisted, 2 or 3 inches above the navel, and tapered. The jackets grew wider at the top, shoulders were padded and the lapels of suit jackets were wide across the chest. This was called the English drape suit, or lounge style. This became very popular in the United States, as this add shows:
A small detail I discovered while making the pants, concerns the pleats in the front. Modern pleated trousers have the pleat folded to the outside. Some vintage patterns I own clearly indicate the pleats should fold inwards. And yes, looking at drawings and pictures, both were used. I chose to fold them inwards to create a more convex shape.
And this is what they look like. My model was clearly in a hurry, but oké, a musician isn't necessarily a gentleman.
The Oxford Bag had a revival in the eighties, so obviously, this song comes to mind:
Sunny van Zijst
I am maker of vintage inspired couture. I was trained as a designer for theater costumes. Now I enjoy making vintage inspired clothing for men and women.