Left: Unknown Gentlemen by W.M. Inglis of Kalispell, MT, circa 1915 / Right: Currie Corbin & Eric Bandholz, 2015
Article By Max Bonem
Photos by Patrick Lipsker Photography
In 1915, things were different: the world was still getting over the Titanic, the idea of the Great Depression was completely ludicrous, and coattails were still commonly seen at fancy gatherings for the well-to-do and bourgeoisie. Also, describing people as “well-to-do” and as members of the “bourgeoisie” was still a thing. Although much has changed in the past century, there are certain elements of yesteryear that have laid dormant for decades, but have come roaring back, just like the 1920s themselves. In particular, the dandiest elements of men’s style.
They say that everything that was once old becomes new again and in no place is that truer than trends in fashion. Just look at men’s haircuts: the popularity of the buzz cut from a few years ago was replaced by a number of styles straight out of Pleasantville, which were then driven out by the undercut made popular by Macklemore and Brad Pitt in the WWII-drama Fury.
Of course, with the change in hair comes a change in wardrobe and over the past decade there has been a sharp rise in men wanting to dress well and look like they actually give a fuck, much like our forfathers from the beginning of last century. Lucky for us, there are number of clothiers only too happy to comply. Within that in mind, let’s look at some of your options for updating the dapper look of 1915 to today’s 2015 man, courtesy of Urban Beardsman Editor-In-Chief Currie Corbin and Beardbrand Founder Eric Bandholz (as seen in the above right photo).
Bow tie by General Knot & Co.
The Elusive Bow Tie
We here at Urban Beardsman know our ties and if you’re opting for this throwback look, the bow tie is an absolute requirement. The 1910s and 20s were marked by a number of distinct styles in men’s fashion, but besides the requisite top hat, the bow tie is what truly pulled the look together. Obviously formal wear calls for a black tie, but today’s dandy is looking for something a little more colorful, especially when paired with the darker tones of quality denim and a good jacket.
The Hartford Reversible Classic Bowtie from General Knot & Co – $68 – seen on Currie
The Fitted Shirt
If there is one aspect of men’s style that fell out of favor with consumers for much of the past century, it’s buying clothing that actually fits your body correctly. Although we all wish we could have our daily dress tailored to our liking, there’s a good chance you aren’t on the same level financially as some of today’s bearded senseis. Fear not though because as our taste for more form fitting shirts has grown, designers have responded in ways that allow for more of us to experience the sensation of both looking and feeling confident in the shirts we wear without spending a fortune. As a base layer, the right shirt makes all the difference in how your look comes together. Rather than thinking of a shirt as an afterthought covered up by top layers, focus on it being one of the first articles of clothing to go on and one of the last to come off each day.
The Naked & Famous Blue Chambray Shirt – $125 – seen on Eric
The Wallin & Bros. Workwear Trim Fit Chambray Shirt – $69.50 – seen on Currie
Jacket by Zara / Shirt by Naked & Famous / Tie by Pendleton Woolen Mills
The Right Jacket
Different styles of jackets look better on different people and with so many options, it can be hard to choose between double breasted, triple button, single vent or double. However, unless you’re in someone’s wedding or attending some kind of gala, we strongly support keeping things simple and finding a dependable blazer that’s both versatile and comfortable. Although black tie affairs were quite common in the era dominated by the Carnegies and Rockefellers, these days suit jackets vary from the formal tuxedo variety all the way to the more liberal arts professor look, leaving you lots of choices in between. Besides the fit, try to find a jacket that compliments the dark tones of your favorite pair of jeans with greys always being a good call in our opinion.
The Combined Tweed Jacket from Zara – $40 – seen on Eric
The Tailored Charcoal Knit Blazer from Banana Republic – $230 – seen on Currie
Jeans by Baldwin / Socks by Ace & Everett / Boots by Helm
There is a zero percent chance that any distinguished gentlemen of the 1910s even owned a pair of jeans, let alone wore them in public, but as with all things, times change and we now live in a culture where jeans are welcomed in almost any situation. Don’t let that fool you though, we’re not talking about your favorite pair of beat up Wranglers here, we’re talking about quality, heavy weight selvedge denim. Every man likes jeans and as with all facets of style, the more comfortable you feel, the better you’ll look so do yourself a favor and invest in a quality pair of jeans. If you take good care of them, they’ll last a decade and you’ll get to keep it casual even when the occasion calls for jacket and tie. Modern ingenuity at its finest.
Boots by Allen Edmonds
Of all the clothing items that have made their way into men’s closets from coast to coast in the past decade, none of them personify the modern day rugged dandy as much as leather boots. After years of sneakers being the official style of footwear for basically any man, boots have come roaring back and with both independent producers and well known designers producing boots in every style and color you can think of, the options are truly endless.
Some of you might find the idea of wearing boots with a tie strange, but really it make perfect sense. A century ago, and still today for more formal occasions, men wore dress shoes that most likely cut off right below the ankle. However, today’s man needs something that will hold up better and can withstand the elements to a higher degree, as most guys will wear their boots in a whole number of settings, rather than just formal occasions.