Fashion has changed over time for both men and women. As far as we know the history of fashion, we can understand that each era had its fashion ideas that are unique from the other eras. 1900 century began with king Edwards ruling and till now this era is called after his name, The Edwardian era. Edwardian fashion existed from the 1900s to 1910s. This decade brought some individuality in fashion for men. Of course, the 1900s or Edwardian men’s fashion is quite different from the 1910s men’s fashion, and of course, it had some influence of Victorian Men’s fashion as fashion cannot be consistent over 10 years. But the basic fashion senses were quite similar throughout the decade.
The progression of the fashion industries brought many positive changes in fashion during those days. The most influential fashion producers were London and Paris. The availability of new fashion designs and products increased. This inspired people to experiment with their clothes and thus, created new fashion ideas. Also, these changes increased the affordability of clothes. These factors had a strong influence on Men’s fashion 1900-1910. Let’s see if we take a peek in a typical 1900s men’s wardrobe, what could be found there!
Edwardian men’s fashion: Suits, coats and jackets
Coats were a must found fashion item in any typical Edwardian men’s wardrobe. The high society men owned a number of suits of different types and colors. Although Coats were the costumes for various occasions, many Edwardian men preferred wearing coats at different times of a day, in their regular life. For formal or semi-formal events, sack coats and lounge coats were commonly used.
In the evening, for dinner parties, tailcoats, tuxedos, or a dinner jacket was worn by the gentlemen. These jackets were paired with a single-breasted vest, white high collared shirt, and neckties with dark color. In the colder months, overcoats or knee-length topcoats were considered as warm and comfy wear. For shooting, hiking, sports, or other outdoor activities the Norfolk jacket was a common choice. These jackets had container holders over the chest and back, which was very comfortable for these outdoor activities. Also, they were made by thick tweeds which made these jackets strong and durable.
Three-piece suits were another common yet elegant addition in a men’s wardrobe. Three-piece suits contained a sack suit, a matching vest, and trousers. You can find more details about Edwardian men’s suits in this article.
Edwardian Men’s Fashion: Trousers
The trousers were used according to the suit. People ensured flexibility and comfort while choosing a cloth. That’s why they had different kinds of trousers as well. For regular wear with suits, plain one colored pants or striped pants were considered to be the most appropriate. These pants basically matched with the suit. 1900s trousers were shorter in length and tighter fitting than the previous Victorian era. This was the time when trousers were featured with cuffs. Trousers were made of linen, wool, or cotton and were used according to the season.
For outdoor activities, a Knickerbocker along with a Norfolk jacket made the best pair. In a word, the style of trousers in this era was very different from the previous one.
Edwardian Men’s Shirts
Shirts came in different colors and designs. White shirts gained the most popular both as formal and fashionable. Shirts had many styles like some of the shirts had separate collars and cuffs, some had attached collars and cuffs, others had separate collars with attached cuffs. The separate collars were known as men’s detachable collars. Edwardian men used shirt studs to hold the detachable collar and shirt together. The shirt cuffs were without any buttons. There used to be two buttonholes on the edge of each cuff. A cuff link was inserted into these holes and they closed the cuff. Apart from white or plain shirts, striped shirts also achieved popularity.
Neckties were an essential accessory for the 1900s fashion. They were styled with dress shirts. Neck wears depended on the occasions mostly. Normally for regular purposes, a “cravat” was used with four in hand knots. These ties looked like the ties that are used nowadays, but they were longer and thinner. Formal dresses got a complete look after wearing the ascot ties. These ties were somewhat between a contemporary necktie and a silk scarf. However, for less formal use, like regular outing or dinner parties, bow ties were used with evening dresses.
Edwardian men’s shoes and boots had some influences of Victorian men’s shoes, but with a little change. People of all classes used lace-up dress boots for regular use. For work, they preferred the heavy boots, and for business or other leisure purposes, they preferred the lighter ones. Black or brown boots were the most common, two-toned boots were also popular. If the boots didn’t have laces, they used to have elastic panels or buttons. These are known as Chelsea boots nowadays. In the evenings, for dance or entertainment, slippers were proper footwear. These were made from leather, were light in weight, and ensured the comfort of the wearer. In the late 1900s fashion, ankle-high lace-up short oxford shoes became trendy.
Edwardian men’s fashion: Hats
During the Edwardian era, hats were a must thing to complete a man’s wardrobe. Tops hats were worn by the upper-class people with their formal dresses. Also at the beginning of this era, some Victorian hats were still popular like bowler hats which are also known as derby hats, topper, western frontier, etc. With time new fashion started to take place and hats also acquired newer designs. This is the time when rolled beam homburg hats caught the light. These hats were made from fur felt or wool. The crown of the hat had a particular shape of dip and sometimes it had a feather that was attached to the crown.
There were also straw boater hats. They had flat tops and brims. Sometimes they had colorful ribbons tied around which added some color to the total costume. During the warm weather of summer, they were used to protect the wearer from the heat and sunlight.
Using hand gloves was as common as today during those days. Though today’s men maybe have one or two pairs of gloves which they use when it is cold weather, the Edwardian man had various types of gloves for different purposes.
They had day gloves to wear for regular works like visiting a club or conducting business deals. These were not only used to keep the hands warm. The purpose also included safety issues and hygiene. These were made from soft leather or the finest fabric as a man’s social status was judged at a glance by the gloves he used. A pair of black, grey, or brown gloves made the perfect match with black shoes and represented the elegance of the wearer.
There were evening gloves, which was an essential formal dress accessory. The evening was the time for entertainment, dance, and dinner. And when you are dancing with a lady, you can’t touch her with bare hands as it would be inappropriate. This is why whites gloves made with goatskin were used as evening gloves
There were also other types of gloves to conduct any kind of automobiles and they were called the driving gloves. They were necessary for drivers to keep their hands clean and warm. These gloves were long to ensure maximum protection of the hand and the raw material was leather which added a touch of class.
Walking canes were a symbol of status and dignity for both men and women. However, men were the most likely to use the walking canes. Walking canes were made by hard materials like wood, steel, or other tough metals. These canes came in numerous designs. Sometimes they had wooden works attached to the top of the canes. These works were a representation of the social status of a man.
Stockings, Drawers, and Garters
Stockings or socks were worn over the drawer by most Edwardian men. These drawers were generally machine knitted. The main material of these drawers was cotton. But woolen drawers were also used in colder months. One-piece underwear, which was the combination of undershirt and drawers, was also used by some men. The garter was another important accessory for them because they needed garters to hold their stockings up. Otherwise, the stockings would fall down.
These are the common things that could be found in any typical Edwardian men’s closet. Maybe they differed from person to person according to the class and social status. But men of each class tried their best to dress decent and appropriate according to the purpose. 1900s men’s fashion was all about class and style!