The 1940s were an interesting era for fashion. In one-decade clothing was dominated by uniforms and everyday fashion had to be practical and produced through rationed materials. Then, what felt like overnight was transformed, with modern silhouettes emerging, representing freedom and a celebration of life. This was because of WWII, which ended in 1945. After the war, the way one dressed was a representation of embracing a brighter future and new beginnings. At the Vintage Pattern Shop, we have a great selection of men’s sewing patterns from the late 1930s, 1940s and the 50s.

Although transformation in menswear is usually not as bold as women’s fashion, there was still a dramatic shift from smart, simple suits and hats to a more casual, sporty look influenced by American trends. During the war, men’s clothing mostly remained unchanged from the 1930s and was made using natural fibres and cheap man-made fabrics. It had to be practical and long-lasting. It was uncommon to see anyone dressed extravagantly, as it was largely viewed as unpatriotic. Despite this, fashion still produced a head-turning look or two, the most notable and controversial was the “zoot suit” which emerged from the African American jazz scene in the US. Inspired by the drape suit, it featured strong shoulders on an oversized jacket with wide lapels and high-waisted tapered trousers. The abundance of fabric needed to achieve the style meant they were viewed as unpatriotic and sometimes led to conflict for those who wore them by those who disapproved. However, they were comfortable and often favoured in the jitterbug dance scene, with their popularity growing throughout the decade. France and Italy prior to the war held the strongest fashion influence, post-war US casual fashion became popular while Europe recovered post-war.

In the early 1950s, a “youth culture” emerged that pinned young people as the instigators of new fashion trends. Young working-class men sported a more casual look, inspired by Hollywood stars and musicians like James Dean and Elvis. The Teddy Boys emerged, donning a new style of suit from Saville Row, and using grease to style their hair into quiffs. Over in the US, denim that was once viewed as workwear was embraced as a trendy new garment by the young generation. The fashion amongst the young signified an act of rebellion, distinguishing themselves from their dated parents’ dress sense.

To explore the exciting world of these trends, we hold a range of men’s vintage sewing patterns, including Vogue men’s sewing patterns. Whether you are looking to recreate an entire look from head to toe, or just would enjoy adding an authentic handmade vintage piece to your wardrobe. Our patterns provide endless possibilities.

For more information on our range of vintage men’s sewing patterns, contact us and our team will be glad to assist with any queries you may have for us.