As promised, here’s the follow-up to my post on How To Dress 1940s Style (for her). This time, we examine forties threads for the male persuasion.
Let me preface this post by doing a public service announcement for shy/geeky/artistically-inclined guys who are struggling to get a date.
Guys, I want to make it abundantly clear that dressing in a mildly vintage style can be a game-changer for you. Not every girl is hankering for a beefy quarterback. I’ve never dated a man who could bench press me – even my prepubescent self was far more attracted to personality and quirky humour (how else can I explain my early attractions to John Laroquette and Dana Carvey?). However, if you clothe your less-than-Schwartzeneggerian physique in a sloppy t-shirt and pleated jeans, what you’re conveying is that your personality is meek and you have no sex appeal.
Now, take that same beanpole bod/marshmallowy midsection and put it in an outfit that says “hey, I may not be an underwear model but dammit I’m confident enough to wear this unique style” and you will be a THOUSAND times more attractive to cool chicks who value personality.
Okay, enough of the pep talk. Let’s talk practicalities.
If you can find yourself a uniform, that would be a hit at a special event like the Vintage Picnic we’re hosting on Monday. But for casual threads guys are in luck because 1940s fashion is über-classic: dress pants and shirts.
As you can detect in the illustration above, menswear was boxier and fuller. You may have been jailed for indecent exposure had you attempted to wear skinny jeans in public. Pants tended to be pleated and were worn much higher on the waist than they are now.
On top, I’m a big fan of rolled-up sleeves and suspenders. Here’s Colin Firth as the cuckold in The English Patient, looking awfully dapper. If Kristin Scott Thomas is tossing him in the rubbish bin, I’ll take him! (Note: I also found Ralph Fiennes strangely attractive in this movie, so you may want to fire up Netflix and have a watch this weekend in the name of fashion research).
This is a shot of my own grandpa, just hanging out by a tree waiting to canoodle my grandma. Here, you can see that fitted sweaters were popular in the ’40s.
Or, if you really want to make a splash, try a sailor suit!
In this image, we see a) young men aggressively hitting on tennis players and schoolgirls; b) crystal-clear shoe and sock action.
Guys, to get a forties foot, it’s all about Oxfords. Two-toned, black or straight up brown – you can’t go wrong.
Here’s a shot I found in my grandma’s photo album of her friends goofing around in the ’40s. Suspenders and sweater vests are both represented here, along with a bit of casual domestic abuse.
Ties and bowties also complement the ’40s look. Check out this bold bow tie! Somebody might be getting a peck on the cheek tonight!
A lot of guys went clean-shaven in the ’40s, but you could always try a Walt Disney style moustache. Beards are okay – but only if you want to look like a wretched hobo (no tennis babes for you!).
As you’ve been able to see in all of the photos so far, 1940s hair was full of body on top and short on the sides and back. I touched on this in my recent post about Billy’s haircut. It’s a classic and easy cut for any barber to execute, but if you want to fake it then just get some hair goo and slick the sides back.
Good luck, handsome!