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The 1940s were a pivotal decade for men’s fashion, influenced heavily by World War II and the subsequent post-war era. This period saw a blend of military-inspired practicality and a return to refined, elegant styles.

Key Takeaways

  • The 1940s men’s fashion was characterized by a blend of utility and elegance.
  • Key pieces included double-breasted suits, trench coats, and military-inspired attire.
  • The era highlighted both functional clothing during wartime and sophisticated styles post-war.

Essential Elements of 1940s Men’s Fashion


  • Double-Breasted Suits: These suits were a staple, featuring broad shoulders and a fitted waist, often in dark, conservative colors.
  • Single-Breasted Suits: Also popular, with a simpler, more streamlined silhouette suitable for both business and formal occasions.

Shirts and Ties

  • Dress Shirts: Stiff-collared dress shirts in white or pastel colors were common, often paired with patterned ties.
  • Ties: Bold, wide ties with geometric patterns or stripes became fashionable, reflecting a sense of optimism.


  • High-Waisted Trousers: These featured a high waist, wide legs, and often included pleats for added comfort and style.


  • Oxford Shoes: Continued to be the footwear of choice for formal and business attire.
  • Military Boots: Influenced by wartime, sturdy and functional boots were common.


  • Fedora Hats: Remained a key accessory, adding a touch of sophistication.
  • Pocket Squares: Used to add a dash of color and personality to suits.


  • Trench Coats: Gained popularity due to their military origins, offering both style and functionality.
  • Pea Coats: Another military-inspired piece, providing warmth and a rugged aesthetic.

Comparison: Wartime vs. Post-War Fashion

FeatureWartime FashionPost-War Fashion
MaterialsUtility fabrics like wool and cottonHigher quality fabrics as rationing ended
SilhouetteBroad shoulders, functional cutsSlimmer, more tailored fits
Color PaletteMuted, dark colorsIntroduction of more varied colors

Pros and Cons

Blends practicality with eleganceLimited by wartime rationing initially
Durable and high-quality materialsCan be less comfortable than modern styles
Versatile pieces suitable for many occasionsRequires careful maintenance

Tips for Embracing 1940s Style Today

  • Invest in Quality Suits: Look for well-fitted double-breasted or single-breasted suits in classic colors.
  • Incorporate Military Elements: Add trench coats or pea coats for a rugged, stylish look.
  • Use Bold Accessories: Pocket squares and patterned ties can add a touch of 1940s flair.

Recommended Brands for Vintage Styles

  • Brooks Brothers: Known for classic tailoring and high-quality suits.
  • Allen Edmonds: Offers stylish and durable footwear reminiscent of the era.
  • Goorin Bros.: Specializes in hats that capture the elegance of the 1940s.

Final Thoughts

The 1940s was a decade of significant change and adaptation in men’s fashion. By blending utility with elegance, this era created timeless styles that remain influential today. Embracing 1940s fashion allows modern men to capture the refined, sophisticated spirit of a bygone era while adding a unique and stylish twist to contemporary wardrobes.