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3rd October 2012

Reinvention of the 1920s gentleman

Alice Tofts looks at the impact of the 1920s in current menswear collections

It’s not just women’s fashion which has noted a distinguished shift back in time to the decade of opulence and sophistication. Although slightly less impressive than the sequin and tasselled flapper dress that has made its recent revival on the catwalk, male trends have nevertheless incorporated significant features reminiscent of the golden age of the 1920s.

The sophistication of the 1920s has been revived in particular through male suiting. Popular shows such as Boardwalk Empire and the remake of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby have stimulated an appreciation for the sharp and classic style. Valentino and Hackett have included in this season’s collection, double breasted jackets, tweed jackets and waistcoats to be worn under suits. Using the 1920s focus on clean cut silhouettes, designers such as Burberry and Jasper Conran have reinvented the double breasted jacket by introducing leather, fur and more daring colours to the traditional style.

The London Olympics created a surge of sportswear on the Spring/Summer 12/13 catwalks and in high street shops. However, the sportswear trend is now developing to coincide with a 20s twist. Tailored trousers, as modelled by Topshop Unique and V-neck jumpers are examples of this trend. Based upon the emerging less formal attire of the affluent middle class in the 1920s this reinvention of the sportswear trend creates an all-American feel.

Key traits of 20s style are most visible in this season’s accessories. Fringed brogues, hats and walking canes bear strong resemblance to the formal attire of an early twentieth century gentleman. Fedora hats such as the woollen trilby and bowler, which are essential for recreating the motor car era look, are part of Paul Smith’s collection, whilst Burberry has brought up a line of flat-peak caps. Also making an increased appearance on the high street are tasselled loafers. Available in affordable stores such as Topman and ASOS they can be worn casually or with a suit and are a simple way to evoke the effortless charm and sophistication of the 1920s.

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