In favor of a slimmer and more youthful look suits in as early as 1911 became trimmer than the decade before.  The boxy cut of the turn of the century suit had emphasized the barrel-chested, Herculean silhouette.  In comparison the iconic suit of the teens played up the long and lean, sometimes driving its wearer to appear lanky. 

In 1911 a 40" jacket averaged 30 inches in length.  The fronts were nearly all straight with only the slightest opening at the bottom.  Sleeves became slimmer and and featured the four button cuff detail.  Shoulders were slimmer, often suits were advertised as having no padding.

The three button jacket was still the favorite.  Long rolling lapels started to come back in style (still commonly 2 3/4" wide).

By 1915 the effects of WWI on men's style became obvious.  Jackets were advertised as featuring the "military high-wasited effect".  This style echoed the serviceman's uniform and was particularly popular with those returning home.  These men sought a comfortable suit similar to those donned while in the war.  The high starched collar gave way to the soft collar and high button shoes were replaced by oxfords. 

Vest trends included the "high-falutin vest", fitted and smart, many with long-rolling lapels.  Also, the popularity of the wrist watch instead of the fob sometimes lead to no vest at all.  All vests were cut high and seen well above the jacket opening.

In 1919 the waist-seam coat was introduced with one button and a straight front with squared or blunt corners. 

The semipeg trousers of the previous decade were all but gone, replaced by those cut narrower at the waist and ending properly at the ankle.  They were cuffed, and creased on both the front and back. 

In sportswear the Norfolk jacket dominated the menswear of the teens.  This was often coupled with knickers, heavy wool hose and a tweed cap.  It was also often paired with white flannel trousers and a straw boater for summer evenings. 

Click here for my research and renderings of the 1910's.
 
 
What makes a man? Is it the color of his tie? The shine on his shoes? The break in his trousers?  Of course appearances are only a glimpse into the character of any person, but clothing and style does express a lot about who someone is and who they'd like to be. 

Today short, high-wasted pants are stereotypical geek-wear, Steven Urkel's iconic nerd costume.  But in the 1920s how would this cut have been understood? In the case of menswear distinctions like these can be particularly expressive and elusive.
 
Over the the next few months I will be researching the last century of menswear.... coming this week, the 1910s!
 
 
Square America is an online collection of vintage snapshots and vernacular photography.  All and all, it's a great resource, especially for the more candid images you may be seeking out. 

Make sure not to miss out on their Moving Pictures collection.
 
 
"Wild Party" is in some ways a costumers dream... Vaudeville clowns, show girls, and late 20s gowns.  See my research here...
"Wild Party"
 
 
Over eight-thousand collections and twenty-nine thousand artists spanning hundreds of years.  It's kind of an amazing place.  All this content is incredibly well organized and easy to navigate too. 

http://www.bridgemanartondemand.com