A Gentleman’s Guide to Vintage Shirt and Trousers Styles

Vintage Shirt and Trousers

There’s probably little else that defines a gentleman’s look than a crisp shirt and a well-fitted pair of trousers. Like other garments, we see numerous designs of vintage shirts and trousers for guys that have evolved over the years. By some accounts, shirts were originally designed to be worn under coats, where only the collar and front section were visible. Trousers, too, were originally worn only with a jacket. It was only around the mid-1900s that gentlemen began styling shirts and trousers together without a jacket. 

The best vintage shirt and trousers for guys are usually white shirts with trousers in a neutral shade. But you don’t have to be limited to this colour palette. There are loads of styles and cuts to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of the smartest ways to style vintage shirts and trousers. 

Why is vintage attire for guys popular?

Vintage clothes for guys are currently trending across the globe. These are mainly shirts and trousers from the 20th century, mostly between the 1920s and 1990s. Shirts have transitioned from loose, layered garments to the current stitched, panelled form. Trousers have evolved in many different ways. The waist height and style has changed, as has the way fabric was cut to tailor these trousers. Apart from the varied styling options presented, vintage clothing is also popular since it is a more sustainable choice as compared to shopping from regular retail brands.

Best vintage shirt and trousers for guys

Shirts with a spread collar are probably the most popular style of vintage attire for guys. These shirts are characterised by a wide collar with crisp, pointed tips that remain visible even if you’re wearing a jacket. This style is flattering for most people and hence holds universal appeal. For formal events, this shirt is best paired with pegged trousers from the 1930s and 40s. These trousers have more fabric around the waist and are tapered towards the ankles with the help of panels and pleats. 

Classic menswear styles for the office

A shirt and trousers combination is perfect as workwear and for formal occasions. Solid-toned shirts, subtle pin stripes or small self-patterned motifs are classic menswear styles. However, there are many different types of vintage shirts you can consider. The difference mostly lies with the collar. You could try a pointed collar with a minimal spread between the collar tips, button-down collars with a tiny button holding the tips down or even a spearpoint collar with exaggerated collar tips. 

These shirts pair well with high-waisted trousers from the early to mid 1900s. The high waist of these trousers is a favoured pick as it elongates the legs and creates a flattering silhouette. If you’re dressing up for a meeting, tucking your shirt into the trousers creates a polished look. 

Informal vintage clothing for men

While a shirt and trousers are considered formal, it isn’t always the case. Back in the 70s, at the height of the bohemian style era, shirts took on a playful mood flush with vibrant colours and prints. These shirts are often cut from soft fabrics like mul cotton or silk and are often oversized. If you want to stay true to the era, you could pair these shirts with stylish disco pants for a fun look. As the name suggests, disco trousers are dramatically flared at the ankle. If you want to really stand out, consider pairing a solid shirt with printed trousers rather than the usual printed shirt and solid trousers. You could also try layering an unbuttoned shirt over vintage tees for an edgy look.

Boardwalk styled vintage shirts and trousers

Back in the 1920s and 30s, a particular style of shirt dominated the gentleman’s wardrobe. These shirts had a spearpoint collar that was held in place by a collar clip. The clip connected the two tips to each other and ran through the tie knot. As a result, the tie knot was only partially visible. Men’s pants from this time were mostly cut from fabric in shades of brown and grey. Tweed, plaid and stripes were particularly popular fabrics. They usually had a high waist and flat front. The fit itself changed from being narrow in the early 1920s to wider towards the end of the decade. To complete your 1920s look, style your vintage shirt and trousers for guys with a pair of suspenders. 

Vintage co-ord sets for guys

Like the co-ord sets trending today, vintage shirts and trousers are also often available in a co-ordinated set. Here, the shirt and trousers for guys are cut from the same fabric. These are usually popular as informal outfits or party looks. You can experiment with bold prints or a subtler colour-blocked look. Given the playful nature of the outfit, the trousers fit is usually tapered and the shirt sleeves are cut off above the elbow. 

Styling an oversized vintage whirt with trousers

The oversized look is a popular way to style a vintage shirt and trousers for guys. First off, your shirt should ideally be just about 2 sizes larger than what you regularly wear. Any larger and it may look like an ill-fitted shirt. You could use a shirt from any period to style this casual look. To keep it simple, open up a few buttons at the top and roll up the sleeves. You can choose to partially tuck the front of the shirt into your pants or leave it untucked. That’s it, pull up your favourite vintage trousers, slip on a pair of loafers and your look is complete. You could style this look with a pair of vintage jeans too.

Shopping for vintage shirt and trousers for guys

Whether you’re looking for a shirt with a pin collar or trousers with a fishtail back, you don’t have to limit yourself to raiding your grandfather’s closet. There are a number of vintage clothing shops you can check out as well. Vintage clothing for him is most often pre-loved and hence, a lot of these shops take the form of thrift shops. You can find good deals on vintage shirts and trousers at flea markets too. 

If you aren’t up to walking through the markets, you can browse through online stores like Riaaj Vintage to find something you like. With a curated collection of shirts and trousers from every design decade, there’s something for everyone. Shopping online is definitely more convenient and with all the key measurements listed along the garment, you can get a fair idea of the fit before it gets delivered to you. 

To sum up

Whether it’s a sit down dinner or disco night on the weekend, you can’t go wrong with a shirt and trouser. Going vintage takes your look up a notch and makes you stand out in the crowd. All that matters is that you style it the right way. Solids in pastels and neutral shades are ideal for meetings and other such formal occasions while 70’s style vintage shirts with bold prints are perfect for a Friday sun downer. So, are you ready to rock the vintage look?

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