Fashion Magazine

Esquire 1930s

By Dieworkwear @dieworkwear
image

A friend of mine recently scanned these wonderful images from the early days of Esquire. These were originally published in 1934 and ‘35, just a year or two after the magazine’s first issue debuted. You might not be able to tell from the illustrations, but Esquire in those days was a bastion of chest thumping masculinity. They featured a mustachioed cartoon character named “Esky” on their covers, who was often drawn doing macho things such as sailing yachts or diving off cliffs. In the 1940s, they also published pin-ups by Alberto Vargas. Those illustrations were quite scandalous for their time – so scandalous, in fact, that the FDR administration took Esquire to court for distributing “lewd images.” (As you can probably guess, Esquire won on the grounds of free speech). 

What’s funny is that – while Esquire has always been a men’s fashion publication – they’ve also always tried to bill themselves as much more. Their initial subtitle was “The Magazine for Men,” and the editors reserved a third of each issue for big name fiction writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemmingway. As Esquire’s co-founder Arnold Gingrich put it, this was to “sugarcoat the fashion pill.” “Men,” he said, “would feel a bit sissyish carrying away from a store a magazine that had in it no content whatever than, let us say, a foppish devotion to the subject of clothes.”

Despite not wanting to seem like a sissy clothing magazine, Esquire for many decades was the last word on menswear. They told men what to wear and when to wear it through illustrations such as these. Covert coats with silk foulard mufflers, we’re told, are good for wear in the country, while dark navy double-breasted suits made from hard finished worsteds are perfect for drinking in town clubhouses. 

All this was written at a time when there was still such a thing as having proper clothes for certain environments. Outside of weddings and funerals, those norms have mostly disappeared now, but these illustrations remain great if you’re interested in classic men’s style. If you commission things from bespoke tailors, you can use them to drum up ideas for future projects (perhaps be inspired to put that flapped breast pocket on an overcoat). Or you can simply use them to get ideas for how to put things together. Some looks are a bit anachronistic, admittedly, but most are still very wearable. When I saw Will from A Suitable Wardrobe two months ago, he was wearing something similar to what’s seen in the first image below. His brown glen plaid suit had a faint blue overcheck, and it was paired with some brown suede loafers and a grey cashmere rollneck. The combination looked so good that I’ve been eyeing the (more affordable) Geelong version by William Lockie ever since.

The word classic is so abused these days, but it’s nice to see that some style advice from eighty years ago is still useful today. 

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • #HampsteadGardenSuburb – More Than A Village by @kpgtourguide

    #HampsteadGardenSuburb More Than Village @kpgtourguide

    DC Editor Adam writes… Karen's tour of little known Hampstead Garden Suburb goes this Sunday 29th April at 2.30pm from Golders Green tube. It, in a word, is... Read more

    11 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Lwblog
    DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL
  • It's Official - Polish Ice Warriors Will Return to K2 in 2019/2020

    It's Official Polish Warriors Will Return 2019/2020

    This past winter one of the expeditions that we followed closely was the attempt by the Polish Ice Warriors team to make the first winter ascent of K2. Read more

    12 hours, 44 minutes ago by   Kungfujedi
    OUTDOORS
  • Boho Chic Wedding in Santorini

    Boho Chic Wedding Santorini

    The boho chic wedding we are sharing today has mesmerized us! Taylor and Justin love exotic sunny destinations and during one of their trips they discovered... Read more

    14 hours ago by   Eleni Balkouli
    LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, WEDDING
  • The Xroadie Files

    Xroadie Files

    Lord of Pagathorn – Diamono Philia Sedit – Bass, Hellwind – Vocals/Drums, Corpselord – Guitar/Bass/Vocals Intro Nietzscherion strange guitar sounds... Read more

    14 hours, 15 minutes ago by   Ripplemusic
    ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
  • Marvelous Mother's Day Gifts!

    Marvelous Mother's Gifts!

    Mother's Day is in a few weeks and I'm sometimes still in awe that I've been a Mom for the last four years now. As a parent, the kids and Zach always try to... Read more

    14 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Cait
    LIFESTYLE
  • Black and Gold Hues Wedding Inspiration with a Modern Flair

    Black Gold Hues Wedding Inspiration with Modern Flair

    Today, we’re sharing with you a wedding inspirational shoot that took place in Santorini, an ideal summer destination. An impressive table with black and gold... Read more

    15 hours, 41 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
    LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL, WEDDING
  • A Fun Class

    Class

    Last night was the tenth and last meeting of my Wordplay class -- and what fun it's been! The students have written to prompts of taste, touch, smell, sound, an... Read more

    15 hours, 45 minutes ago by   Vickilane
    CREATIVITY, PHOTOGRAPHY

Magazines