What Men REALLY Wore in the 1910s

What Men REALLY Wore in the 1910s

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Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette. In  today's video, we turn back the clock 110 years and look at what men actually wore in the 1910s. ♪ The Gentleman's Gazette theme song ♪ In recent history, there was a burst of period  dramas staged after the Edwardian period, and they all have different costumes based on budget  or artistic vision. So, the question is: what did men

actually wear, why did they wear it. and how did  they wear it? We'll answer that question today. Of course, in different countries, men  wear different things based on climate, culture, or the fashion. In this video, we'll focus mainly on American fashions and compare it to the European styles. So, without  further ado, let's dump in headfirst, and if you want to skip a section, just do so in the timeline  below. Top to bottom means we start with hats first. Yes, you heard right. Men back then would wear hats  and not wearing a hat was about the equivalent

of going outside today in your underwear and  your wifebeater undershirt. But, that's not to say that every man could afford nice hat, wore  a nice hat, or bothered to wear it. Now, a hat is not a hat and men in 1910s wear very different ones  for different reasons. Let's start with the most formal one, the top hat. It's basically a tall hat  with a flat top and a round brim. It was covered

in shiny silk plush fabric that is very fine  and it was definitely a hat of the upper class. Sadly, this material has been discontinued since  the 1960s. So, you can't make those new anymore. Because the material is no longer accessible,  vintage top hats in large sizes can sell for thirty to fifty thousand dollars. Silk plush is  a very fine material. It was worn by upper-class men that could afford it, not by the middle-class  or the working-class typically. A top hat used to be worn for regular day wear, meaning just to go  about town. In the 1910s, that had changed and top hats were more reserved for formal morning wear  or evening wear. It was popular with politicians,

aristocrats, the nouveau riche, as well as some  middle class people who had ambitions to become upper class. While for many people today all top  hats look alike, it's all about the nuances and the detail. For example, in this picture, you can  see there's a different amount of brim curl and how high it is. Also, look at the head itself. Some  are wider at the top than in the middle. The height was also different. After the 1910s, top hats got  slightly more simple in their design and also slightly shorter. Now, when we say top hat, we mean  the stiff non-collapsible top hat. There is also a collapsible top hat, also known as "opera hat" or  "chapeau claque." Many people remember having seen

those in vintage movies. So, when they see one, they  want to immediately collapse it. Well, the problem is, with a stiff top hat, that doesn't work. It will  just damage it. And remember what I said, these can be really expensive and hard to find. So, never  just bang your head on a top head assuming it's

a chapeau claque. The way a chapeau claque works  is that it has coils on the inside. But, over time, they may not be as springy as they once used to be.  If you want to see how an actual top hat was made, this video from British Pathé is really nice.  By 1910, top hats were more widely worn in Europe and not so much in the US anymore. Modern-produced top  hats are often made from wool felt and are just a shadow of what top hats used to be. If you wear  one, get a vintage one because the modern stuff is just not up to snuff. Next up is the bowler hat. If you're interested, we have a whole video about

the in-depth history of this hat, how it came about,  and who wore it and why. Basically, it is a round fur felt hat that is typically hard. That being  said it could also be found in softer, more fashion-forward versions. Just like a top hat, it  has a nice brim-curled edge. Modern bowler hats don't have them anymore. Despite being invented  in 1849, the bowler hat saw a surge in popularity and was quite popular during the 1910s.  Unlike a top hat, a bowler hat was truly worn by men of all classes. Another popular hat of the  1910s was the boater hat. The boater is a stiff

straw hat made of braided sennit with a flat top.  Some people also call it the "flat telescope crown". Historically, on Straw Hat Day occurring in May, men  started wearing their boaters and, on Felt Hat Day in September, they would switch back to fur felt  hats. Eventually, that led to the Straw Hat Riot of 1922, which involved more than a thousand men in a  brawl. You can learn more about this historic event and the hat itself in our in-depth boater guide  here. Now, if you flip through vintage photos from

1910s, chances are you'll come across some Panama  hats as well. They were popular because they were lighter and not as stiff as the boater hat.  And, even though the name may imply otherwise, a panama hat is actually made in Ecuador by hand  from the straw of the toquilla palm tree. So, why is it called Panama hat, then? Well, Theodore Roosevelt  returned from the Panama Canal construction and the newspapers called it the "Panama hat" because  he was wearing this summery straw hat. Because of that, the Panama hat has been cemented in our  brains and the lexicon of the world. To learn more about the Panama hat, please check out this video  here. Another popular hat of the 1910s - and in some

way shape or form a precursor to the fedora - was  the homburg hat named after the German town of Bad Homburg. Even though it had a brim curl like  the bowler hat, it was a lot softer and made out of fur felt. Now, when in black, it was rather  formal, but you could also get it in dove gray or brown, versus bowler hats were mostly black.  The hat was popularized by future king Edward VII when he returned to England in the 1890s from  a trip from Bad Homburg in Germany. Hence, the name Homburg. If you haven't guessed it already,  we got a guide for you about the homburg hat

and we also covered the fedora hat. Interestingly,  the fedora hat finds its origins in the year 1882, and it was originally designed for women.  That got its name after it was first worn in a play by the same name, written by Victorien Sardou.  Interestingly, fashion-forwarded men like Oscar Wilde were seen wearing that same hat that  same very year. As you know, Oscar Wilde was a famous

foppish dandy and so, the fedora wouldn't really  gain mainstream popularity with men until the 1920s. But - and that's why it's part of this video -  it was worn by fashionable gentlemen in the 1910s in the US. Last but not least is the flat cap, which was probably the most casual headwear of the era. If you're an upper or middle class man, you'd  likely wear this hat for casual days or sporting events. On the flip side, for most working-class men, this would have been their number one choice of

headwear. Contrary to what popular dramas like The  Peaky Blinders make you believe, the one piece flat cap was the most popular style at the time. It  almost looked like a beret. It was wide, had a round pancake shape, and a peak in the front. Of course,  we got you covered for this one, too, and have

an in-depth guide here. Moving further down from  the hat, we'll reach glasses and eyewear. In 1910, eyewear was more varied than it is today. And by  that, I don't mean they had more frame colors and frame styles, but there were just different types  of eyewear that were acceptable to wear in public. Spectacles were, of course, in popular use. And  while the wired versions were still popular, horn or framed versions started to pick up in  popularity. Apart from that, men could choose from many different types of monocles. Some with a  chain, some without, for the left, for the right eye.

But, overall, it was a very upper-class look, but  still, men from the upper and middle-class wore it, as well as the lower classes. Apart from them,  men could wear a pince-nez, which is French for "pinched nose" and it stems from the fact that  you pinch this eyewear to your nose. Famous men who wore it include Franklin D. Roosevelt and  Theodore Roosevelt. Next, let's look at the shirts men wore in 1910. Now, today, most men associate a  dress shirt as something with an attached collar, attached sleeves and cuffs. In the 1820s, someone  had the idea to have detachable collars and cuffs to save on laundry cost and time because back then,  collars and cuffs were heavily starched. Also, a man

would never take off his jacket and so you never  really see the body of his shirt, but just the cuffs and the collar. This fashion persisted in the  1910s and you would attach the collar with collar studs; a wider one in the front because you have  four layers of fabric, a slimmer one in the back because you have just two layers of fabric.  Not only were the collars at the time starched and stiff, but they were also much taller than they are today.  You could find wing collars, standing collars, rounded

club collars, or kind of square collars. The variety  was much bigger than it is today. Most collars had a much smaller spread, which meant you couldn't see  much the tie knot and had a very different look than more spread or cutaway collars today. Also,  you could find soft collars that were detachable if you didn't like that stiff look and feel that  had to be laundered and maintained more frequently. Of course, different shirt makers came up with  different inventions, and so, you don't always see shirt studs, but sometimes, also tabs that were  sewn into the collar. Or others attached them with pins or collar bars. If you're inspired by the  collar bar look, take a look at our shop where we have a selection of collar pins and bars that  give you that look even though you might not have a detachable collar shirt. If you want one of those, there's legal outfitter Stanley Ley that still

offers them or you can get them made bespoke.  If bespoke is outside your budget, you can check out this video here on the Antique Menswear channel  where you can see how you can make a detachable collar shirt from a widely available regular shirt  today with a little bit of work. The star of that channel is Aaron White, a gentleman who dresses  in Edwardian fashion every day and we hired him to write this script here because he really  knows what he's talking about. A shirt back then was strictly an undergarment and, because of that,  it was much longer in the tails and in the front so it would be tucked in and around your  legs so it wouldn't come undone. It was also meant

to protect your more expensive outer layers from  bodily fluids and sweat. For more in-depth details, Aaron has a video for that. Shirts back then came  in a wide array of colors and patterns, but striped shirts were really popular because they didn't  pick up the dirt as quickly as plain white shirts did. Some shirts had a simple barrel cuff with  buttons, others had French cuffs or single cuffs for cufflinks. Even though detachable starched cuffs  were still around at the time, they were about to be phased out. And while the detachable collar  survived a little longer, the detachable cuffs

weren't as widely used anymore. Now, if you think  about it, most of your shirts will likely wear out in the collar or in the cuffs. So, being able  to simply have another set of cuffs or collars really expands the lifetime of your  shirt. And while we're talking about cuffs,

gold and silver cufflinks in smaller oval shapes  with chains and a motif on both sides were popular back then. You didn't see T-bar closure cufflinks  or other cufflinks. Maybe snap buttons, but it became a little more popular later on in the 20s.  Not many men wear bold colors for their cufflinks, except maybe for evening wear, where you could  also see the introduction of precious stones. The ties of the day definitely varied from the  ones sold today. First of all, they were shorter, they were typically wider, and they were much  thinner. Sometimes, they were called "scarves", not necessarily "tie" or "necktie," and the knot  was typically rather small, which makes sense because the interlining wasn't very thick and the  spread of the collar was very narrow. Ties came in

a variety of patterns such as checks, stripes, and  geometric patterns. Likewise, thin woven ties were in fashion. They were often striped and tightly  knotted. In terms of materials, you could find silk, wool, or cotton. Due to, on average, much higher  waistband of trousers and the higher closing waistcoats men would wear, the length of the tie  was considerably shorter, sometimes just reaching 10 inches below the shirt collar. Even when it  became more popular later on to go without a waistcoat, the ties remained short at first and  would rarely reach the belly button. Today, it's

all different, of course, and ties are longer, but,  we still have a different rise with our trousers and different people need different size ties. And  because of that, at Fort Belvedere, we offer our ties in three different lengths, short, regular, and  long. And you can check them out in our shop here. That being said, bow ties and cravats were also  popular at the time and worn by fashionable men. Of course, the exact shapes and sizes varied.  Next up, let's look at waistcoats or vests. Back in 1910, they were typically quite a bit shorter because,  again, trousers or pants had a much higher rise and the goal was just to cover the waistband. As such, the  waist typically stopped at your natural waist and would not go past your hips. Most waistcoats were  made out of a heavier wool and sometimes lined

with silk as it was thinner and it had a cinch  bail to the back, very much like waistcoats today. Fabrics were a lot heavier than they are today and only  the rich at the time could afford fancy silks for their waistcoat backings. Specifically, in 1910s,  the neckline of your waistcoat was much higher so less of the shirt and the tie was exposed. And  therefore, the ties, again, were shorter. However, as belts became more popular, people dared to skip the  waistcoat and let their tie that was quite short dangle freely. Note, they still wore their hats even though it wasn't the same style. Alright, let's talk about jackets, then. During that period, mass  production, especially in the US, was normal.

That being said, the average factory suit in 1910 was of  much better quality than it is today. There were no glued canvases. It was all a proper, interlined, sewn  canvas. Even though machines were used back then and things like the pad stitching was all machine-made,  the quality was still superior to most suits today. The most popular material for suits was  probably wool, but you could also find linen and cotton suits. Fabric could be woven in many  different ways and even though the finishing wasn't as good as it is today, you found a lot more  fanciful weaves and textures and also patterns than you can today. Jackets would typically be  lined in silk with the high wear areas, such as the sleeves, being lined in cotton. The lounge suit was  popular and became the origin of today's business

suit. Prior to 1910, combinations or mixed-matched  outfits had been more popular. Now, 1910, the suit, which comes in the French term "suivre" from "to follow," was more popular. To learn more about the history of the suit throughout the decades, check out this  wonderful video here. In the US, boxier cuts were coming into favor and so were suits without the  front dart, also known as the "sack suit." You can also see straight front jackets now, compared  to the more cutaway jackets in previous decades. Today, suits typically have a more cutaway front.  In 1910s, the silhouette of the jacket became wider

and straighter compared to decades previously.  Even though they had sack suits in Europe, too, the American version was typically cut wider  and straighter. I'm not saying that men wear baggy suits then, but they just weren't as  contoured to the body as body coats were, such as a white tie tailcoat or a morning coat.  If you look at the suit fashions a decade earlier,

you would also see much more contoured body  coats that were not morning coats or tail coats. Stylistically, the jackets in 1910 typically had  three or four single-breasted buttons in the front and two or three cuff buttons with considerably  wider spacing than you would see it on a suit jacket today. Likewise, double-breasted jackets were  popular, but they had slimmer lapels and came in a 6-2 or 6-4 button configuration. Also, the neckline  on those double-breasted jackets was higher and, just like with the waistcoat, you would see less  of the front of the suit than you would in a double-breasted suit today. During the mid-1910s,  more slender form-fitting jackets were introduced that were popular with younger men. And towards the  end of the 1910s, you could see two button jackets versus, previously, the three or four button jackets.  So, what did regular trousers look like in 1910?

Today, for most men, it's a pair of jeans. Well, back  then, men wore what you would today call a pair of dress pants, dress trousers. Typically, they had a  high rise that would be about an inch or two and a half, three centimeters above your belly button or  natural waistline. Interestingly, this style of rise

was worn by every man, no matter their weight or  size. Most men in 1910 would still wear suspenders versus belts. Now, in the 1900s, you had mostly  fishtail backs versus, by the 1910s in the US, you had more straight backs. In Europe, fishtail  back trousers were likely still more popular. Now, if you look at a pair of straight-cut trousers  from 2020, they're really perfectly straight on top. In the 1910s, they really rose up a little bit in  the back to make it more comfortable to wear them with suspenders. Some even had little straps  that would elevate the button, so if you wear suspenders, they would just hang better.  That was the whole idea of fishtail back trousers:

comfort for the wearer. Most trousers would also  have cinch backs, not so much side adjusters. But, even without a pair of suspenders, you could keep  it tightly on your waist. Now, belts became popular a lot earlier in the US. And so, you can find more  straight-cut belted trousers in the US from 1910 than you would in Europe. Now, one thing that  was identical across the ponds was the fact that there were no pleats and pants were flat-fronted. Typically, 1910 trousers featured a more narrow leg that tapered down towards the cuff,  very similar to what we see in modern fashion.

Only more formal trousers were typically cut a  little bigger. And if you go later in the 1930s, trousers got a lot wider and pleats were added.  Cuffs, or turnips as the British say, were also popular at the time, but by no means mandatory.  In terms of length, you didn't see a big break in the trousers because they were narrow towards the  shoe and so, they were mostly about ankle length. Speaking of ankles, what did a 1910 gentleman  wear on his feet. Very clearly, rules ruled

the day back then. Balmoral boots that were laced  high above the ankle were popular for men, so were button boots, as well as Chelsea boots. The average  man would still have to be transported by horse or carriage. This speaks a lot to the conditions the  streets were in during that era. Even though new technologies for mass transport had been invented,  the horse was still quite important. And, as a

consequence, there was a lot of horse manure on the  streets. Men on average had smaller feet back then, and shoes or boots were typically narrower.  They also had a much higher heel, the stitching was a lot finer. If there was any broguing, it was finer  and smaller than what you'd expect today from a boot. Now, when you watch period dramas, the boots  or the shoes typically give it away because hardly ever will they get the heel height right. Typically,  it's too short and more modern. Why is it the case?

Well, maybe it's not in the budget or they decide  that people don't notice or they simply don't know about it. In terms of accessories, the most popular  ones in 1910 were probably the pocket watch, the walking cane, a tie stick pin, and, of  course, watch chains, older watch chains or you could have the ones that were actually put in  with a T-bar to the middle of your waistcoat and then, you had the pocket watch on one side and a  pencil or a fob on the other side. Stick pins were more decorative, but could help to pin your necktie  to your shirt. To learn more about those, check out this video here. Even though the tuxedo was around  since the 1860s, for formal wear, proper White Tie

was likely still the number one choice in 1910.  Later on, the tuxedo would become more popular, especially in the US. But, if you're interested  in the history of Black Tie and White Tie, we have the world's most comprehensive guide on  our website. That being said, if you're interested in more videos from different decades, such as  the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and so forth, let us know in the comments. In today's video, I wish I could say I  had a true 1910s outfit but, unfortunately, I don't. I'm six foot tall or about 183 centimeters and  over 200 pounds heavy, approaching 90 kilograms, and simply, it's really hard to find clothing that  fits a man of my stature. Plus, I typically run hot and those fabrics back then were a lot hotter  and were warmer. Also, I'm not a period dresser.

[Montage of Raphael in period-like ensembles] I always believe I live in the here and now and  I'm just inspired by the past. That being said, I try to dress in the spirit of the 1910s, starting  with a black bowler hat. It's a vintage piece and has a nice brim curl. My shirt has, stylistically,  very much in common with shirts from 1910s. But, it's an attached collar. It is a club collar.  But, it doesn't have the same look as a vintage

detachable collar. My tie is also not a true 1910s  tie. It's too long and it's slightly too thick, but it's a simple four-in-hand knot. My waistcoat  is double-breasted and modern, but stylistically very close to the 1910s. It could be maybe cut a  little higher with a little less shirt showing. It also has that little buttonhole in the middle  that you can use for your pocket watch chain, so it hangs right, decoratively, in the middle.  My jacket features no vents just like they would back in 1910, but it's not a 1910 jacket. I guess it's  more from the 40s. Even though my jacket has the black color of the era and the right cuff button  spacing, it is a little younger than from the 1910s.

As a regular viewer of the channel, you'll know  that all my pants are pleated and so is this pair of pants. Stylistically, though, it has that kind of  shadow stripe and a rich, deep fabric. Lengthwise, it's about right, but it's a little too wide in the  ankle. It should be slimmer and have no pleats. My socks are modern from Fort Belvedere and you can  find them in our shop here, just like the white pocket square I'm wearing. The cuffs on my shirt  are also attached and I chose a pair of vintage double-sided oval cufflinks with a bit of enamel  color. I couldn't quite tell when they came out,

maybe the 20s, but you could have seen something  like that in the 1910s, too. Again, solid gold and silver was probably more popular. In terms of  footwear, I'm wearing a pair of button boots, which is a very much vintage-inspired and definitely  gives me the look, especially if I wear it with a cane and a bowler hat in this entire outfit.  That being said, the heel height is more modern and not high enough for a vintage 1910s boot.  The two-tone look in off-white and black, the buttons, and the quarter broguing is definitely something  you would have seen in an older boot, though.

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2021-07-13 22:34

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