Spring Style for Men in the 1930's & The Short Peaked Lapel

Spring Style for Men in the 1930’s & the Short Peaked Lapel

In the past, I have discussed many 1930’s outfits and styles because it was the golden era of menswear. Today, I will discuss spring style, outfits and accessories from 1933 using fabulous fashion illustrationsI am certain you will learn a few things from these outfits, and I will try to help as much as possible to you can be inspired and recreate certain color / pattern combinations in your own ensembles.

Three 1930's Spring Outfits

Three 1930’s Spring Outfits

Jodhpurs, Tattersall, Cream Flannel & Chalk Stripe Suit

First, let’s look at a very diversified trio. On the left, we have a gentleman in khaki Jodhpurs (see our guide here) with chestnut brown leather boots, yellow tattersall vest with the bottom button undone. Both of these items are paired with an Ascot and a stick pin. Note, this is the classic Ascot that is worn outside the shirt with a detachable collar, and fastened with the stick pin. You may associate this kind of Ascot with a proper morning coat, and while that’s correct, it is also worn for horse mounted hunts and as such country attire through and through. On the one hand, the peaked lapels of  the brown sportcoat are not quite proper – generally peaked lapels were reserved for city wear and even though these are not very peaked and resemble a Tautz lapel (which points out exactly horizontally) it is still a peak lapel. On the other hand, the two cuff buttons indicate country jacket. I am not sure if the illustrator was just confused with the craze for the short peaked lapel at the time or if it was a conscious, fashion forward design, but in any case the color and pattern combination in this outfit is spot on. Khaki and brown solid paired with large scale yellow tattersall pattern and a small scale checked Ascot in blue. The man in the middle is casual in the sense that he just wears a sweater and a lightweight spring scarf. Personally, I don’t find his look overly appealing but I really adore the off white flannel trousers, because I think they will pair well with almost anything, including a blazer, hacking jacket, checked sportcoats or windowpanes. So if you look for an investment pieces this spring, off white flannel trousers. Off the rack you can find them at the Merchant Fox and they also sell the fabric individually For more inspirational outfits with cream of off white flannels, please look here. The chap on the right, is wearing a navy chalk stripe suit with about an inch of spacing in between the stripes. It seems. like most inexpensive off the rack suits have less spacing in between the stripes, whereas cloth for bespoke suits often come with a wider spacing. Personally, I prefer an inch as shown in the pictures but it is a very personal choice and simply a matter to taste, so choose the spacing you like best. If you wear hats, a light grey Homburg is obviously always a great choice for a dark striped suit, but what’s less apparent is the grey shirt. During the 1930’s it was a popular color and in combination with the long, non-spread collar you can recreate a thirties look instantly. The necktie is made of a burgundy and off white jacquard pattern but what’s more important is the length of the tie. Today, most guides will tell you that the tie should reach the middle of the belt buckle, but at the same time, most trousers have a much lower rise, so that contemporary ties are much longer than the ones in the thirties. Also, if your tie reaches a belt buckle with an off the rack trousers, it will extend past your waistband in case you wear high waisted trousers with suspenders. Personally, I think it looks terrible to have the tie extend beyond the waistband and therefore, I decided to offer ties in three different lengths, so you can adjust the length to your height, but also to the way you wear your trousers. I own trousers with a high rise, but others with a lower rise and so I have ties in different lengths in my collection. If I want a big knot on a low rise trouser, I choose long or regular ties or long ties, for a four in hand knot, I mostly go with regular length ties, and for high rise trousers and four in hand knots, I wear short ties. As you can see, it all depends on the fact you want to achieve. If you want to achieve a thirties, look, definitely go with short ties. While most trousers back then featured suspenders, the Duke of Windsor popularized belts, and as such you can find the gentleman in the picture wearing a grey belt, rather than suspenders.

1930’s Peaked Lapel

One iconic style feature you see over an over again in old movies and illustrations is the thirties peaked lapel. Below, you can see an example from the film Night After Night.

Look at the grey suit - beautiful lapels, high waisted trousers, boutonniere and pocket square plus collar pin - stunning from Night After Night

Look at the grey suit – beautiful lapels, high waisted trousers, boutonniere and pocket square plus collar pin – stunning from Night After Night

Short Lapel Silhouette Front View - it's very rare to see this style nowadays and its distinctly 1930's

Short Lapel Silhouette Front View – it’s very rare to see this style nowadays and its distinctly 1930’s

If you look closely, you’ll notice it is just a 2 button jacket and hence the buttoning point is very high. In order to make it work, the trousers have to be cut likewise very high, because otherwise you will see the shirt front peaking through underneath the closing button, which is never advantageous. At the same tie, the tie has to be very short or tucked into your waistband. Probably the better style for these short lapels is the single breasted 3 button coat, because it is buttoned on the middle button, allowing you to wear a regular high rise trouser. below, you can see an example of a typical 1930’s short lapel striped suit: natural shoulders, large drop – meaning huge difference between chest and waist measurement, full cut trousers and of course, a short peaked lapel that points straight out or just slightly upward. The lapels should end at the top button and measure about 9-10 cm / 3.5 – 4″ in width, for the perfect look.

What to wear with a Navy Striped Suit

Now, once you have the suit details down, the look is not completed quiet yet, because the accoutrements make the difference.

Unlined Gloves in Grey & Chamois Yellow by Fort Belvedere

Unlined Gloves in Grey & Chamois Yellow by Fort Belvedere

With a Blue Shirt

Tie: Pattern tie with base color in blue, burgundy or white. Hat: Light Grey Homburg Hat Gloves: Unlined – light grey Shoes: Black leather – spit polished Socks: Navy or with shadow stripes in blue or navy and red Pocket square: white linen or white linen with colored edge of framing For 1930s look: Dove grey spats

With Light Brown, Light Red or Cream Colored Shirt

Tie or Bow Tie: base color, red, blue or green Hat: Brown felt snap brim hat Gloves: Chamois yellow unlined Shoes: Oxblood / Burgundy / Cordovan Pocket Square: Light pastel colors Socks; Over the calf blue navy, or same colors as tie For 1930s look: Sand colored spats

With Light Grey Shirt

Tie: light blue, navy, burgundy, yellow or green Hat: Navy or dark green GlovesUnlined – light grey Shoes: Black leather – spit polished ot dark chestnut brown Pocket SquareLight pastel colors No Spats

2 replies
  1. Hal
    Hal says:

    I have to confess, I prefer the two button front jacket with peak lapels to the three button one. Three buttons with peaked lapels is a much more 30s (and 40s) look but, for me, it looks ill balanced. Peak lapels give a beautiful elegant sweep when long – as they are on a one button dinner jacket, for instance – but with three buttons on the front of your jacket they can look a bit stubby and ungainly.

    The charms of George Raft have generally eluded me but he did have a good eye for tailoring that would make the most of his frame. His two button jacket – even with a high buttoning point – looks more elegant, to me, than the three button one illustrated below.

    Where 30s peak lapels score over the current fashion for them is that the vintage style is noticeably wider than the narrow ones that many manufacturers go for at the moment. A bit of breadth makes them more impressive, drawing the eye up and out. When I recently got a suit made I had peak lapels with two buttons but a traditional width to the lapel – the perfect compromise for me.

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