1928 MEN'S MAJOR APPAREL

DRESS SUITS

Men had particular modes of dress for the occasion and/or for the time of day. Fashion rules of wear then were not as strict in some areas for men as they were for women. Men's fashion styles were also classified by age and figure, especially in the area of suits for business, casual or social wear.

There were in early 1928, two basic suit styles. The Lounge Sack and the Reefer Sack. These were worn for business or any informal daytime occasion.

The term "Sack" is a reference to the back of the coat, meaning with a straight back.

The Lounge suit was a single breasted coat with a two, three or four button front. The latter was rare and for the very young man. The Reefer suit was a double breasted coat, four or six button front.

Men's styles did not change as rapidly or as noticeably as women's. When a gentleman purchased a "good" suit it was purchased to last many years if it was to be his only suit. It would not be stretching it to say a man who did not wear a suit daily in his business may have only owned three or four suits in his lifetime.

Designers were well aware of this fact and mainly concentrated what could be termed as radical changes in the younger men’s styles. A complete style change took five to seven years. This change would come about very slowly over that period of time. For example, trouser cuffs might begin by being one inch wide on a young mans trouser, no cuff on the conservative mans style. After a year or so a one inch cuff is found on the conservative mans style and an even wider cuff may be found on the young mans trousers. Reasoning is very simple, a young man gets older and will better accept a trouser cuff he has been wearing for some time. This same subtle type of change can be found all through features of a suit, including lapels, addition of darts and suppression seams for a more fitted coat, wider waistband, wider trouser legs, etc.

For Business, the Lounge and Reefer Sack suits consisted of three pieces. The coat, vest and trousers. These pieces were most often matching in color and material.

Coat features could include lined canvas fronts of wool or haircloth, linings of serge, alpaca or Venetian, either half or whole lined. Sweat shields inside under arms. Sleeves lines with sateen or similar fabric. Plain finished sleeves with two or three buttons on the cuff. Blind button holes. Some backs with vents. Collars fitted close to the neck. Lapels notched, peaked or a combination of both. Collar top and bottom hand felled. Linings hand or machine felled. Thread often silk. Blind stitching found on coat bottom and edge tape, collar padding and lapels. Hand-stitched button holes. Two lower pickets with most often with flaps, breast pocket sewn with a welt.

Trouser features could include double stitched seams. Half, whole or no lining. Bottoms hand felled. Inside trim plain twill sateen, cuffed or plain bottoms. Six belt loops and inside suspender loops. Set on waistband with button closure. Covered fly with four or five button closure.

YOUNGER MAN

In age the younger man was considered to be those under thirty. Model types had many youthful names. Collegiate style was perhaps the most widely used, preppy style was another.

A rule of measurement for the length of the suit coat was ½ the total height, less 4 ¾" to 5". Casual coats were shorter. Full length back measurement for an average 5’9" man would be 29 ½" For each 2" in height, 1" would be added or subtracted from the coat.

Suit coats were broad across the shoulders in a squared line, hanging just slightly over the arm top. Top of sleeves were inset and stitched in a way that a raised or set-up effect showed at the shoulder/arm seam. Collars fit snug to the neck and the back of the collar measured 1 ¼". Lapels were broad and laid smooth. A notched lapel might measure 5 ½" from the crease to the edge of the lapel and 2 ½" at the notch to the edge. Lapels rolled soft to the second button on the coat. Suppression darts were found in the body of the coat. Depending upon model, one on each side front or in front and back. Front darts measured finished were ¼" to ½" wide and were located 1 ½" off from the center top of the lower picket, running up about 8". Back suppression darts if any, were ½" wide and ran from the middle of the underarm to pocket top line. A tapered look with a suggestion of a waistline and fit at the hips. Two or three button single or double breasted styles. Two button, 6" apart three button 4 ½" apart. Sleeves two or three buttons on cuffs with blind button holes, cuff measured 12" around. Two lower pockets were inset types with flaps. Pockets ran parallel to the coat bottom and were 6" wide. Welted breast pocket ran on a slant. Finished seams often found with canvas and haircloth stiffening. Rounded corners on a single breasted coat bottoms.

Trousers were with a set-on waistband about 1 ½" wide, with a two button closure, six belt loops and with or without suspender loops or buttons inside. Two side slit pockets, two hip pockets with buttons a watch/coin pocket on the right side front. Smooth, straight hanging at hips with width at the bottom of 18" - 19". All with cuffed bottoms, 2" wide.

Standard vest was commonly single breasted, though double breasted did exist. Five button without collar for business wear, the opening made to run on even lines with the crease of the lapel of the coat. Finished with four welted pockets.

Fabrics were wool or wool combinations with mixtures such as cotton, woven cassimere, twist, serge, Chevoit, etc.

Colors predominate were blues, grays and browns from medium to dark shades. Patterns were from sold, think stripes, diagonal stripes, Chevron stripes, diagonal or diamond weaves and plaids.

Linings of alpaca, twill or serge either half or whole lined.

More casual suits were worn for other than business were slightly shorter in length as little as ¼" to ½" difference from the business suit coat. Many were box in style, with no suppression darts in front or back. Backs were finished with a yoke and an open center seam or with an inverted seam with a dart at the top. Pockets were patch type with flaps.

Trousers were designed as business styles. Some may had had a watch/coin pocket on both sides and the two hip pockets might have buttoned flaps. These more casual suits could also have come with matching knickers for wear in sporting events such as golf.

Materials included wool in flannel worsted, serge, cassimere either all or in combination with rayon, cotton or corduroy.

Colors predominate were blue, gray, brown or sometimes black, plain or in combination with another. Patterns were stripes or weaves, plain or fancy.

CONSERVATIVE MAN

Business or social wear suit coats were ½ the total height less 4 ½ " to 4 ¾" in length. Unlike younger men types, these were not with noticeably squared or draped shoulder lines. Preferred lapel was notched. Suppression darts were found in front, backs were usually straight hanging. Two or three button closure on single breasted styles. Pockets and seams finished as for the younger men’s style.

Trousers were straight hanging style, usually plain. Bottoms measure 17" to 18" around and were cuff less unless special ordered with cuffs. Set on waistband measured no more than 2" wide, six belt loops and inside suspender buttons or loops. One button closure on the waistband and covered fly with button closure. Smooth, not pleat fronts, two side slip pockets, one watch/coin pocket on right side and two back buttoned hip pockets.

Colors and patterns were subdued, if not plain then with very fine pencil stripes in navy blue, Bankers gray, medium or dark browns or black.

Materials were all fine twilled in all-virgin wool, wool serge, wool worsted, twilled all-wool or wool suiting.

Vests were the regular five button style.

STOUT MAN

The stout man usually chose a single breasted, three button coat with a soft rolled, notched lapel and no suppression darts. Trousers were plain, cuff less bottoms and a regular five button vest. Navy blue, dark brown or gray stripes or black stripes chosen as color, material all-wool serge or fine twilled all-wool worsted.

TALL MAN

Single breasted, three button coat with longer sleeves, longer coat body and longer trouser legs. No suppression darts in the coat and trousers plain cuff less bottoms. Colors and patterns most widely chosen were all wool serge in navy blue or a wool worsted in a medium brown or blue checked pattern.

ALL-PURPOSE SUITS

This type of suit was for men not in an office or profession. Worn to trips to town by, for example, a farmer or mechanic, then the coat removed when back to the field or garage.

Coats, single breasted three button style with two lower patch pockets and one breast pocket, notched lapels. Regular five button vest. Cuffed and cuff less trouser bottoms, 17" wide.

This was considered heavy duty clothing, coat seams as well as trouser crotches, seams and seats were taped and double stitched. Pockets, belt loops and fly bottoms were bar-tacked. Fabrics and patterns included water proofed wool worsted in navy blue, double and twist worsted in a gray blue mix or a heavy weight (12 oz.) moleskin cloth in drab brown.

WORK TROUSERS

These separate trousers were with a wider set on waistband, about 2 ½" wide. One large or two smaller button closure. Six wider belt loops, some models showed the suspender buttons (6) on the outside of the waistband, others were inside. Trousers with or without cuffs, crotch and seams double stitched and usually taped. Fly, bar tacked. Some hip pockets had button down flaps. Fabrics and color/patterns included, khaki twill in olive drab, corduroy in dark or drab brown, medium weight cotton worsted in black and gray, black and blue or brown and black strip, Cassimere wool and cotton blend in black and gray stripe, Jean cloth (cotton with a small amount of wool) in oxford gray, moleskin in black and gray strip, olive or brown drab, brown army duck, all or part wool jersey in oxford fray or black and gray stripe. Other features that could be found included leather trimming on pockets of corduroy trousers, fleeced undersides in cotton worsted or moleskin trousers, inner waistbands of sheeting in khaki or like fabric trousers and metal suspender buttons on Jean cloth or like fabric trousers.

OVERALLS/ALLOVERS

This type of wear was for painters, paper hangers, carpenters, confectioners, bakers and dairymen.

The jacket is 30" in length and has four patch pockets, two top and two lower front. One top pocket may be a combination divided watch and pencil pocket. Four or five button front, cuffs may be one button closure or straight bottom. Pockets all bar-tacked and jacket made in a three-seam style. Unlined or lined with gray and black striped blanket cloth.

Overalls were in two styles. A continuous high-back style with one-piece suspenders or a low-back style with detachable double thickness suspenders with elastic inserts. The high-back style is with a bib which has two front pockets. Pants part has two front, two hip and one pliers pocket, some also had a watch pocket and a hammer loop on the left side. Pockets, belt loops and fly are bar-tacked. Triple stitched seams. Often the lower half of the hip and pliers pockets were of double thickness. Heavy weight white drill cloth or white backed blue denim were the fabric choices.

For construction, railroad, farm or factory workers, the style was basically the same as the previous descriptions. Differences might be in the jacket, having self-faced cuffs with shirt band collars with extension tabs.

The overall differences were heavier weight material, riveted on buttons, side gussets and a feature introduced in early 1927, copper rivets at the bottom of the fly, pockets and back strap instead of the usual thread bar-tacks. Another feature might include the use of orange color thread for stitching and a yoke back with strap and buckle. The most predominate fabrics were white back blue denim and drill cloth in a Wabash stripe (white stripe on a blue background).

Allovers had a fly front which extended from the neck to the bottom of the fly and covered all the front buttons. Shirt band collar with two button extension tab. Backs were a three-seam style, legs, two seam. All seams triple stitched. Combination watch and pencil pocket and a button down flap pocket on top. Two lower front pockets, two hip and one ruler or pliers pocket and hammer loop. All pockets were bar-tacked. Hickory stripe or drab khaki twill or white back blue denim.

SPORT SUITS

This type of wear was for the active sportsman. The "Sports Suit" ideally consisted of four pieces, Coat, vest, long trousers and plus fours or breeches. The latter choice depending upon the sport and season. Breeches were preferred for the more active and/or cool weather outdoor sports such as hiking, camping, fishing, riding and especially hunting.

The coat and trousers were worn for tips to town, breeches being only appropriate while participating in the sport itself.

Coats to these sets were lined, khaki twill most common, blanket cloth and sateen were others. "Norfolk" was the most popular style. Three button single breasted, notched lapels, two upper and two lower patch pockets with buttoned flaps. Backs may be finished with a yoke and open center seam and all around belt or an inverted seam with a dart at the top. Arm shields were found inside the coat. Sleeves plain or link style. Average length was 32". A three button double breasted style could also be found. Additional features may include two inside pockets for game or books.

Vests were the five button style with one or two breast pockets and two lower pockets and may be lined as the coat.

Breeches were in two different styles. Leg bottoms either buttoned or laced closed, this on outside of the leg. Set on waistband, one or two button closure. Two front and one watch pocket and on or two hip pockets, these were found with both having tabs and buttons or flaps and buttons on one or both or slip pockets. Crotch and seat seams double stitched and usually taped. Bottom of fly, front pockets, belt loops all bar-tacked. Most had double reinforced seat and double reinforced patches at the knees Suspender buttons inside. Trousers were straight hanging style with cuffed bottoms. Features the same as for breeches.

HUNTING BREECHES

This style was in "Army Style" worn by hunters, trappers or teamsters. Basically the same features as found in other breeches except for the leg bottoms which were laced bottoms up the middle in front of the leg. The breeches came in Army duck which was a "dead grass color" and were water proofed. The breeches had both belt loops and suspender buttons. Leather reinforcements were found at the crotch and where four seams met. The entire seat and front of the legs were reinforced inside with a rubberized twill.

OUTDOOR SUITS

These suits were worn by hunters, loggers or other outdoorsmen. A three-piece suit of 34 oz. All wool frieze. (Coarse shaggy cloth with an uncut nap) in dark gray. Stage shirt, regular coat style, give button front and one breast patch pocket. Trousers were straight hanging with no cuffs. The breeches had laced bottoms.

RAIN SUITS

Rain suits were often by dairymen or others who worked where there was water and wanted to be kept dry on the inside. These suits included a jacket and overalls. Jackets double or triple thickness of oiled slicker sheeting. Stand-up close to the neck collar and may be faced with corduroy. Storm fly front, five button or five buckle and slot fastener closure. Length 30". Overalls of matching material, apron style with large bib front, double thickness through out. Adjustable, attached suspenders. Patches may also be found reaching from above to below the knees and seat may also be doubled.

FOOTBALL

All-wool jerseys, hard twisted, worsted wool yarn of medium weight very tightly woven. These jerseys had oversize shoulders for wear over shoulder pads. The ribbed elastic collar was 1" deep. Full length, close fitted body, fit down snug over hips. Long sleeves were striped and fit tight at the wrist. Popular colors with white stripes were maroon or navy blue, also seen, purple with gold stripe or black with orange stripe.

Sweatshirts had ribbed bands around top and bottom. Long sleeves had ribbed cuffs. Colors included solid silver gray, royal or scarlet with top and bottom ribbing in white, orange with black ribbed top and bottoms.

BASKETBALL

Athletic shirts were with chest stripes, one wide stripe in the center and one narrow stripe above and below. Round neck style, cut low under arms. Long body fit well down into pants. Knit cotton or wool worsted. Colors with white stripes, navy blue, blue, maroon or Kelly green, the latter only in cotton, also seen in black with orange stripes or purple with gold stripes.

Shorts in a variety of materials, drill cloth with one inch felt stripes down sides, olive drab with no stripes, wool flannel with two color fiber silk stripes down sides and around the bottom and double faced suede cloth with one inch fiber silk stripes down the sides. Color matched to the athletic shirts. Features include loose hanging hip pads attached at the waist. Front fly with a reinforced bottom. Waist strap and buckles. Loose fitting leg openings.

Gym or running pants (shorts) had full shaped hips and roomy short legs. Durable reinforced seams, top and fly. Adjustable back lace or with belt loops. Muslin or twill in white or drill cloth in olive drab.

SLEEPWEAR

Pajamas were one or two pieces. One piece was made to look like two pieces. It had a drop seat in the trouser part with three sewn on buttons. Front was four button and hole closures.

Two-piece pajamas were with two coat styles. One style, collarless, round neck, the other a Military stand-up collar. Front closure with four buttons or four frogs, buttons usually of pearl. Patch pocket on Breast. Double to triple stitched, set in sleeves. Pants had a drawstring waist. Fabric, heavy weight flannelette or close woven percale, in assorted solid colors or stripes. Most predominate colors were light blue, tan or white.

Nightshirts were one piece round neck or Military collar styles. Length about 54". Most with breast pockets. Three buttons on the neck. Braid trim could be found on many collars, neck and breast pockets. Reinforced shoulders. White muslin or flannelette. Flannelette was also found in assorted light color stripes. A nightshirt for a large man was also seen, called "Hotel size". In extra long 58" length with a fuller cut chest.

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