Vintage 1930s suits: See 60+ old-fashioned menswear styles

Vintage 1930s suits

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Some of the most popular styles of vintage 1930s suits had double-breasted jackets with wide peak lapels and cushioned shoulders. They were typically paired with high-waisted trousers with wide cuffs — and often you’d see a snazzy vest.

You can see several of those suit styles below, along with other common variations on the theme, plus insight into the fashions of some of the biggest trendsetters of the time: Hollywood actors.

Without a doubt: Suits were big business — even in the post-Depression era. 

In 1937, some menswear industry leaders were predicting the need for each man to own five suits: “A plain suit for business, a dark suit for informal ‘dress up’ occasions, holiday tweeds for the country weekend, strictly formal attire, and a sports outfit for the man’s favorite outdoor sport.”

Vintage celebrities in suits: What the stars foretell in the world of fashion (1930s)

Top, left to right:

  • The triumvirate of fun. Charles Butterworth, Walter Abel, and Hugh Herbert, in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “We Went to College’
  • Clark Gable, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer star, in an informal pose.
  • Ida Lupine, George Haft and Dolores Costello, from Paramount’s “Yours for the Asking.”

Center, left to right:

  • Fred MacMurray, Paramount star
  • Charles Ruggles with his Afghan hound in the Paramount Picture, “Early to bed”
  • Tom Brown and Terry Walker practicing a routine on the Paramount set.

Bottom, left to right:

  • Sir Guy Standing, the distinguished star of Paramount Pictures.
  • A dramatic scene from Columbia’s “Counterfeit,” with George McKay, Margot Grahame and Chester Morris.

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Celebrity menswear - Actors in suits from the 1930s (2)

What the 1930s stars foretell, continued…

Top, left to right:

  • Robert Cummings, young leading man for Paramount Pictures
  • Robert Young who emotes for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer;
  • In this group we have three governors and a star… Honorable Edward Johnson, of Colorado; Hon. Roy Cochran, of Nebraska; George Raft, and Hon. H. Blood or Utah.

Center, left to right:

  • James Stewart, a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer satellite
  • Gertrude Michael and Sir Guy Standing stepping the “light fantastic” in Paramount’s, “Return of Sophie Lang”
  • Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine featured in the Guild’s current success “Idiot’s Delight.’

Bottom, left to right:

  • Walter Abel and Edith Atwater in a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production, “We Went to College”
  • The suave Ray Milland, who represents Paramount Pictures.

Celebrity menswear - Actors in suits from the 1930s (1)

Men’s clothes of distinction: Fashion Park suits (1936)

All ready? Let’s go… And don’t forget to go well-dressed, with confidence and without apologies.

The Fashion Park label in a suit means advanced styling, always fresh but never forward. It promises many exclusive fine points — of fabric, hand-tailoring and finish — points that add much value but nothing to price.

Look into this and look your best… Fashion Park, Rochester, New York.

1930s menswear - Men's clothes of distinction are tailored at Fashion Park

Men’s clothes of distinction are tailored at Fashion Park (1936)

Parktrend”, 1936 edition of the new, easy, athletic style. Becoming to all men. Single- and double-breasted. In special Parktown worsteds. Selected patterns… $40.

Sportswear” by Fashion Park is always advanced, always right. Note newest coat with plain back, gusset shoulders and side vents. In exclusive woolens only, bold and bright…. $40 up.

Park Fifty“, custom quality in cloth, cut and tailoring. Here sketched in the new Park Drape style, having broad shoulders, full chest and straight hips.

Spring suits and topcoats — $40 to $100… World’s largest maker of fine clothes for men

1930s Fashion Park suits for men (1)

Style begins at Fashion Park (1930s)

This label means leadership — in style, quality, and value.

Gilroy” — America’s most famous Raglan. In Pangong fabric loomed from a select blending of Guanaco and Angora yarns light in weight… soft as down… extremely serviceable. Plain shades and patterned effects.

Parktown Winstead” — An exclusive coat of unusual excellence and stamina… The most luxurious, practical, moderately priced suit produced in America. Ideal for business and professional men. Attractive stripes and herringbone.

Park Lounge” — A Fashion Park advance style. Broad shoulders, full chest, tailored waist, natural easy drape… Shown in the new exclusive two-tone “Chroma Stripes”… also in chalk and pinstripes.

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1930s Fashion Park suits for men (2)

Vintage menswear - Suit shapes from the 1930s (2)

Actor Charles Rogers in vintage 1930s suit

About all Paramount has done for our Buddy lately is give him a boiled-shirt first name. But here’s the lad, back from Europe, sitting on top of the world — or is it a wicker table?

We hope he gets down to some good work and that he gets some pictures with a dash of plot thrown in. No ”Hamlets,”‘ thank you, but a real part for a swell guy who’s there with the personality of a king.

Vintage actor Charles Rogers in a 1930s suit

Vintage wool suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog

Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (6)

Fine suits of the thirties

Double breasteds are going into their greatest season. They certainly are dressy. They give you that broad-shouldered, full-chested appearance.

And Oxford Gray is the ideal fabric for their stylish lines. Tailored in a fine medium heavyweight worsted. Earl-Glo Rayon body and sleeve linings. Wide 22-inch trouser bottoms.

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Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (1)

University suit styles (1933)

Double breasteds are campus kings! — Diamond weave fine pure virgin wool worsted — Fancy cassimere — Blue cheviot — Blue serge

Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (2)

Vintage 1930s suits: Young men’s favorite SWAGGER styles (1933)

Rich… Bright… Colorful

Fine quality All Wool Pure Worsted. — “Broadway” self weave. — Coat and sleeves lined with rich lustrous Earl-Glo Rayon. — Cushion shoulders.

Leave it to Hollywood to pick something different! The whole film capital is wearing these two bright shades. We’ve designed them with the latest flairs and fads . . . snappy peak lapels . . . fitted waistline . . . wide 22-inch trouser bottoms. Bright Blue Worsted, Burgundy Brown (Dark Rich Wine Shade)

New Oxford Gray

Durable All Wool Cassimere. — Latest treatment of peak lapels. — Coat half lined with the excellent wearing genuine Earl-Glo Rayon. — Carefully tailored throughout.

Follow the college man and you’ll be in style! He’s wearing Oxford Gray because it’s dressy and practical –it won’t soil easily. Here it is! Patterned in a snappy faint Herringbone weave. It’s a strong fabric, all wool — yet it’s the lowest price we offer on a young man’s suit. 

The Craze on Broadway!

Hollywood cushion shoulders. –Crescent-shaped pockets. –7-Button pleated Tattersall vest: –Wide overlapping waistband. –22-inch trouser bottoms.

Look at those lines. Sparkling with Broadway class! Cushion shoulders and crescent pockets that’ll make you the envy of the boulevard. Smartly styled with pleated vest and high overlapping waistband.

Cut in a dark navy blue All Wool and Worsted Cheviot with an indistinct Herringbone weave. Coat half lined with a fancy jacquard pattern (rayon and cotton) lining.

Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (3)

Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (4)

Vintage suits for men from the 1933 Sears Catalog (5)

Suit style leadership: Alert – confident – correct

Fine quality pure virgin wool all worsted fabric • One-button Peak Lapel model • Cushion shoulders • 22-inch trouser bottoms

Half-lined with rich lustrous Earl-Glo Rayon; sleeves lined with easy sliding silk-like Earl-Glo Rayon • Pure linen and hymo coat interlining.

Popularity just naturally seems to go with an Oxford Gray. But there’s more than a long-wearing fabric behind this suit. There’s STYLE.

It’s written all over it. It’s tailored into the cushion shoulders … the high peak lapels … the fitted waistline. Every line sparkles with the new effects snappy dressers are wearing.

ALSO SEE: Men: Clothes to flatter your body type (1916)

Vintage 1930s suits Old-fashioned menswear styles (1933)

FROM 50 YEARS LATER: See some styles of casual ’80s menswear

Vintage menswear – Suit shapes from the 1930s

Vintage menswear - Suit shapes from the 1930s (3)

Vintage suits from the 1930s

Vintage menswear and suits from 1932

Fifth Avenue selective styles (1930)

Spring and Summer 1930 — Fronts, lapels, cuff’s, sleeves, and pockets.

Vintage suits for men - fronts, lapesls, cuffs, sleeves and pocket designs

Screen stars acclaim “custom tailored” suits for spring and summer fashions (1937)

TOP, left to right:

  • Elissa Landi, charming star of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer productions
  • Randolph Scott, feature player, who emotes for Paramount Pictures
  • The inimitable George Arliss in a scene from the Gaumont- British picture, “Man of Affairs.”

CENTER, left to right:

  • Winsome Anita Louise, leading lady for Warner Bros. presentations
  • Robert Young, talented artist of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer flickers, in contrasting views of black and white which reveal both ends of his sartorial day — in morning and evening.

BOTTOM, left to right:

  • The dashing, handsome hero of the screen, Fred MacMurray, who represents Paramount Pictures
  • The suave, impeccable Ian Hunter and beautiful Kay Francis in a romantic close-up from one of Warner Bros.’ contributions to the cinema.

Vintage 1930s celebrities in suits (1937)

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Screen stars continued…

Top right to left:

  • Myrna Loy and William Powell in a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer offering, “After the Thin Man.”
  • Marsha Hunt appearing in Paramount’s portrayal of the street of broken hearts, “Hollywood Boulevard.”
  • The smiling personality of Frank Forest who casts his lot with Paramount.

Center, right to left:

  • George Raft, whose impersonations of the rough and ready roles in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer features have endeared him to the hearts of the younger movie fans
  • Robert Young in top hat and “tails” in an artistic pose of shadowy effects.

Bottom, right to left :

  • George Brent, virile, two-fisted screen favorite currently featured in Columbia’s contribution, “More Than a Secretary.”
  • Joan Crawford, comely standard bearer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s romantic escapade, “Love on the Run.”

Celebrity menswear - Actors in suits from 1937 (1)

Vintage menswear - Suit shapes from the 1930s (1)

Actor Gary Cooper in a thirties suit

Gary is off again to lands beyond the seas where there are neither ranchos nor bungalows. “His Woman” was completed in time for Gary to sail for Europe, thereby starting the great Gary-Lupe guessing contest — Will he meet her in Europe? The correct answer will entitle the gossip to a poke on the jaw if Gary has his way.

MORE: Gary Cooper’s mountain hideaway: How the Hollywood star adored Aspen (1949)

Gary Cooper

Stylish vintage actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr in a 1930s suit

Vintage actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr in a 1930s suit

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. I just found a 100% cashmere fashion park coat in mint condition. Like it was tailored yesterday.On the inside breast it says Dobbs at the Waldorf. I can’t believe I found this coat. I suspect that it was made around 1936. I will never par with it because I am a collector but how much do you think it is worth?

  2. It’s hard to imagine today, but back in the early 20th century, suits were simply the standard mode of dress for men. Men would wear suits puttering around the house as well as for formal occasions. With men’s clothes, there seems to be a trend in which outfits start out as casual and gradually become acceptable as formal wear; the tuxedo began that way, and in the 1920s the standard men’s business suit was criticized by some as being too casual for the office! Going forward to modern times, I think the last time I wore a suit was to a wedding nearly three years ago, before COVID. Recently, I attended a church event, and all the men were wearing t-shirts and shorts; the most “dressed up” guys there were wearing polo shirts.

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