Men’s Clothing in the Twenty-First Century


Men’s clothing brands often have a specific aesthetic. If you’re a discerning yet casual dresser, for instance, a luxury brand like Versace may not suit your style.

For something more understated, check out Asket. This Stockholm-based brand makes everything a man needs, from shirts to trousers and jeans. Their products are made to quality standards that belie their price tags.

The 18th Century

In this century the distinction between full dress worn at court and for formal occasions and undress for everyday wear was clearly defined. In addition, the styles of men’s and women’s clothing tended to become simpler as this period progressed.

A man’s outfit at the beginning of this century might include a full-skirted knee-length coat, a sleeveless waistcoat that either matched or contrasted with the coat, and a linen shirt. He might also wear a pair of satin knee breeches, long stockings held up with garters, shoes, and a powdered wig.

The frock coat with its high turned-down collar and wide lapels was still the dominant style of daytime clothing for men, but it lost some of its earlier embellishment. The standing collar that emerged in the 1760s and grew taller into the 1770s and 1780s was still popular, but with simpler embroidery such as floral sprays or bowknot motifs. In addition, the embroidered fabrics of this period tended to be lighter and more colorful.

The 19th Century

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the frock coat was introduced. It was shorter than a tailcoat and could be worn with trousers or a waistcoat underneath. Vests were still a common part of men’s wardrobes. They might match only the coat or pants or they might be a different color. Shoes were still light and low-heeled, although a shoe with lacing up the front came into use in the 1860s.

Sleeves grew wide from the shoulders and narrowed at the wrist, a style that would continue into the 1860s. Men’s shirts continued to be plain or embroidered and they wore high collars, either single or double.

Pantaloons had replaced breeches for everyday wear by the 1830s, but breeches survived for court dress or for riding. Waistcoats remained popular and tweed was a fashionable fabric. In the 1860s, men’s suits of matching coat, trousers, and waistcoat became very common. They were usually of somber colors such as black or gray but striped, checked, or plaid cloths were also used.

The 20th Century

As the twentieth century started, tailoring was still a big part of men’s clothing. However, sewing machines became more common so that clothing was made faster and cheaper. As a result, the style of men’s clothes shifted from being tailored to more casual clothing.

Jackets at this time were very slim and had a sloped shoulder line. They also had cuffs that narrowed from the elbow to the cuff. This was called a balloon sleeve. The sleeves could be long or short depending on the wearer’s preference.

Ties were also more casual at this time, and they were often tucked into the cuff of the shirt. This was a very popular look.

This was the era when the youth started to establish their own style of fashion. They rejected the extravagant styles of the previous decade and started to rely on casual clothing such as leather jackets, flannel shirts and baggy denim. The youth of this generation would often model their clothing after their favorite musical genres like rock or hip hop.

The 21st Century

Men’s fashion veered away from the formality of the thirties with the end of World War II. Fabric rationing and a need for practicality pushed fashion towards the casual. Short sleeve button-downs and khaki blazers were popular, and suits became slimmer. Accessories were less formal as well: aviator sunglasses, trucker hats, flip-flops, and white belts all became a part of the era’s style.

In the ’70s, platform shoes and bell bottom pants were trendy. Wide collar shirts in varying patterns were also popular. The look was often paired with leisure suits and chunky cable knit sweaters.

Today, the line between casual and stylish has become blurred with a trend toward “peacocking.” Men may wear multiple trends at once in an effort to stand out from the crowd. But good style is still dictated by tasteful and timeless pieces. It is important to remember that fads and styles, like all fashion, come and go. The most long-lived fashion items speak of their eras and the people who wore’s bamboo clothing


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