Trends were changing and spreading rapidly in a short period of time. However, most 1920’s men’s trousers appear to be very close from the classic suit trousers that we know today.

During the first half of the decade, trousers were very simple, straight and slightly narrow. The waistline dropped just below the belly button and would be worn with either a belt or suspenders. Creases down the front of the leg became popular for the first time, emphasising the silhouette. Cuffs were also added and could be seen a little bit shortened, drawing more attention to the shoe and sock coordination.

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The Yale University Whiffenpoofs of 1927. The cappella group embraces the fashions of the times with sharp, tailored three-piece suits.

As opposed to the previous decade, trousers were also worn as a separate from the suit jacket, creating a more individual and less conservative look.

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1924 Sydney Police Mugshot, Guiseppe Fiori  (found on  – mugshot that looks more like a catalogue picture!


1925 saw the arrival of Oxford Bags, broad, pleated trousers which were worn by undergraduates at the English University. These soon replaced the slim trousers worn by most most young men and the fashion for looser-fitting trousers would last until the advent of denim 30 years later. (1)

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Oxford Bags seen on the streets of Britain, 1920’s.

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1920’s Catalogue promoting the Oxford Bags to be worn by young students.

Oxford bags were not a new invention: for some time they had been worn by athletes as an alternative to golf trousers which had been banned in the classroom. The 28” wide bottoms of the Oxfords allowed the trousers to be pulled over the top of their illegal knickers. The original functional size of the hems soon became overlooked as Oxford Bags grew in size, sometimes up to 40” in diameter! Trend-setting Ivy League students brought the fashion home after their stays in Oxford and ordered more pairs from their tailors. (1)

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The comfortable functional aspect of the original 28-inch hems could be lost in grossly oversized versions as much as 40-inches in diameter. (1)

The dominance of loose trousers as city wear was, in fact, partly due to the rise in popularity of sport, in particular, golf. The fashionable golf trousers of the inter-war period were ‘plus-fours’, a version of the knickerbockers but with a fuller cut that allowed the fabric to fall 4” below the knees, thus giving them their name. Their success led the way for widely-worn suits that were ‘sporty’ though no longer worn exclusively for sport but also for strolls in the park on Sundays, for travelling and even by the young in town. (1)

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Two young men wearing knickerbockers, 1926.


(1) Men’s Fashion in the twentieth century. From frock coats to intelligent fibres, by Maria Costantino, 1997