1940s Mens Fashion


As WWII concluded, strict fabric rationing had to end, and men’s styles became more extravagant. Dress shirts transitioned from stiff dress shirts with stiff collars to soft-collared casual shirts with soft collars for everyday wear; single cuffs replaced French cuffs, which used less fabric.

Work trousers were designed to match their shirt, often in tan, brown, or hunter-green colors. These boxy items hung below the knee.


In the 1940s, World War II and fabric rationing heavily impacted men’s clothing. After its conclusion and production of heritage fabrics resumed usually, men’s fashion took off again: double-breasted jackets with wide trousers were back on trend, while short and patterned shirts often featured a Windsor knot tie pin, and wide neckties usually had one.

Suits were typically constructed out of wool or wool-cotton blend fabrics such as gabardine or seersucker and typically featured blue, green, tan, and browns with either flat fronts or slight pleating and worn with either a center vest or without one during World War I and II; waistcoats had fallen out of favor due to too much fabric being wasted while already shortening suits for snugger fits.

Suit blazers were often worn open with collared shirts for casual wear. Work trousers also proved popular; typically high-waisted and featuring flat front or single leg crease, work trousers were most often seen sporting patterns such as Hounds Tooth, Prince of Wales Check, Herringbone Pin Stripes, or diagonal Stripes in green, blue, tan, and brown tones; casual wear trousers with soft pointed collars or patch pockets made from cotton twill or gabardine were particularly favored casually worn casual trousers for everyday wear.

Shirts & Ties

As soon as World War II ended, men’s fashion returned to being more elegant. Suits featured fuller cut jackets with peaked lapels and wide trousers; single-breasted suits also saw renewed popularity, as did broader ties that could be tied into bows; scarves featured small paisley patterns or fringes while wider scarves often had small paisley designs or color-blocking features; many also donned fedora, homburg or pork pie hats as part of their attire.

Casual trousers were typically narrower than suit pants, constructed of wool blends in cooler months or cotton poplins, gabardine (rayon blend), seersucker, or seersucker in warm weather months. They typically featured flat fronts with single-leg creases. They were available in either tan, brown or navy hues when worn together with matching long or short-sleeve shirts featuring camp-style collars, which could be worn open or buttoned up when necessary with angled slit pockets and button-down shirtfronts.

Women’s pants were typically wide-legged, high-waisted, and worn with a blouse tucked in – both casually or dressily- made of cotton, wool, or silk. Stockings came up to the thigh, requiring a garter belt, while women often wore their hair shoulder-length or longer with bangs that were curled up or managed through Victory Roll style that helped organize long locks during hard days at work.


At the outset of WWII, many people had other priorities than fashion on their minds. Their concerns ranged from air raids and food shortages to husbands serving in the military – all factors which influenced whether dresses or pants were worn more often among women – women’s attire often taking on more of an everyday style than ever before.

Pants were still widely available but had a wider cut compared to those seen during the 30s. Men often preferred wearing double-breasted blazers made of tweed or worsted wool; matching it up with your pants ensured a more organized appearance.

Work shoes and boots were commonly worn, yet weren’t considered fashionable accessories. Ballet shoes were an increasingly popular alternative to heels and often came in different colors and patterns – these were worn with pants, skirts, and dresses. Workwear boots typically consisted of leather or canvas materials with high heels.

After WWII and fabric rationing ended, styles slowly shifted toward more feminine looks. Due to rationing, silks and nylons had to be limited, so women either went without stockings altogether or used fake seams, such as counterfeit tanning lotion, on their legs to imitate seams.

By the late 1940s, designer Christian Dior had introduced his New Look, which consisted of rounded shoulders and collars, emphasizing hips, and shortening skirt length to mid-calf or below – an answer to the curvier lines of 1930s fashion.


An outfit from the 1940s wouldn’t be complete without its appropriate shoes. Men’s footwear reflected the utilitarian mindset prevalent during this period, with loafers and slippers becoming staples for daily wear. Anything durable enough for work was worn, including those previously used as military uniforms!

Rationing laws were enforced throughout this decade, leading to tightened hemlines and narrowed legs on trousers; pleats, darted pockets, and other extra fabric details were banned altogether. Suits were limited to single-breasted styles while waistcoats were entirely restricted – yet still possible to make fashion statements with tailored pants and fitted shirt ensembles.

Women’s footwear in this period was simple and timeless, featuring Mary Jane or ankle strap shoes as popular styles. Made of lace, leather, or fabric and featuring low heels. Other popular models included spectators with round fronts, strapped ankles for spectator sports events, and wedge sandals or “wedgies.”

Women typically adorned themselves with hats, snoods, headscarves for added flair, gloves, halo hats, and pillbox hats – accessories that were all commonly worn during this decade of innovation and experimentation with looks and accessories from this decade. Stockings were sometimes banned, so some went without or created the illusion of them by drawing their calves with tan makeup to create an authentic 1940s look. When replicating this look accurately, attention must be paid to every detail when recreating original 1940s looks from this decade’s era.


With material restrictions removed, designers could utilize various fabrics in their designs. Beyond traditional wools and cotton twill, newer materials like gabardine (rayon blend), linen, and herringbone became popular – these fabrics often being lighter, less bulky, softer than suits with stripes, Art Deco patterns, or argyle often being featured. Men’s trousers also became increasingly fashionable with flat fronts featuring single leg creases instead of pleats; additionally, their leg width was often narrower than suits.

Workwear outfits are famous among those who didn’t need suits, including denim overalls or canvas coveralls with button or zipper front closures. These one-piece pants and shirt combinations came in blue striped denim, khaki tan, grey, or white to meet various work environment needs.

Women’s shirts and skirts were also tailored for casual wear, featuring knee-length A-line skirts adorned with patriotic prints or floral patterns that could be tucked into wide or cable-ribbed sweaters for an easygoing look. Women’s sweater vests also became layering garments, offering plain or herringbone styles.

Hats were an indispensable accessory for both men and women alike. Fedoras and pork pie hats could be worn casually or with formal attire; women typically favored more elegant options like beret hats or headbands that secured scarves or headpieces.


Men’s accessories in the 1940s reflected both old favorites and newly available options that embodied swing-era style. Belts were still popular but narrower than in earlier decades, while suspenders became fashionable when leather became scarce for belts; they often included button loops with covered metal buckles as an alternative option; plain or pebbled designs could even feature braided patterns or tooled designs with Western themes adorning them.

Cufflinks were also worn with dress shirts and were typically round gold-toned metal designs with vibrant glass or resin pops of color, often geometric Art Deco patterns or naval themes such as anchors or boats. A monogrammed initial was another popular design choice. ID bracelets remained widely popular as courtship tokens given as presents to young women.

Men’s footwear in the 1980s was relatively similar to past decades, featuring classic wingtips, cap-toe styles, and slippers as new casual and work attire trends. Shorter pleat leg knee-length shorts with T-shirts or polo shirts became fashionable sportswear during summer days, as were wider belts with curved ends.