Five outdated formal wear fashion trends for gents

Five outdated formal wear fashion trends for gents

Before we move onto other articles about suiting, shirting, style inspiration and fashion trends, let’s go back in history a bit, shall we? Why is this important you ask? Easy.
To know the present and future of style, one first of all needs to be informed about the style of the past (and what is not considered stylish anymore).
Fashion hasn’t just been around since yesterday, and time has changed. So has style. What was once in, has since been out – and in some cases it even made it back in style. Style and Fashion are rollercoasters that are not always easy to understand.
Are there any styles that are definitely out of fashion for good? You bet, or at least we hope so. This 5 formal wear fashions for men have once been smart and trendy – but are definitely a thing of the past.

Top hats

“Not the top hats! No! Those are in style!”, you may think, but no, not really. It could be that you’ll see a guy trying to give it a go, like a groom or best man, donning a hat at a wedding, but we think it is fair to say that top hats have vanished, for good. It’ll not become a new standard in a formal outfit again. They were once worn by all classes throughout the Victorian era, but have since come to be associated with wealth, the upper classes and magicians. The contemporary cousins of top hats – bowler hats – have faced a similarly swift decline.


Spats? Oh no! Not the spats! The what? Spats were originally designed to be buttoned up around the ankles and worn over the shoes, in order to protect them from rain and mud. They quickly became far more than a practical garment, however, evolving into a stylish accessory that was associated with the fashion of the late Victorian era. Spats also became associated with wealth. Today, you’ll only find spats at military parades with marching bands, so only gents with a present or past in that field are really aware of what Spats are. To most others, it was wasn’t even known till now, that there was even a thing called Spats.


Now, what are ruffs? Whilst it is very difficult to find a lace collar on men’s clothes today, chances are that centuries ago you couldn’t get away from finding lace in collars. Lace collars and cuffs were no longer enough – to be part of the sartorial and social elite from the mid 16th to mid 17th centuries. You needed to wear a ruff. These ruffles of fabric – worn around the neck – were favoured by men, women and children during the late Tudor and early Stuart periods. At their most extreme, ruffs were over a foot wide and had to be supported by a wire frame. Sure, they’d keep your neck warm, but we’re nevertheless glad that ruffs have been consigned to the history books.
Does this style need to come back, ever? We hope not.

Frock coats

Before you think: “Oh, but there are still frock coats. Those are still being used”, let’s stop you right there. The frock coat has undergone quite some surgery since their invention and are today commonly known as morning coats. Frock coats were a mainstay of men’s fashion from the 18th century through the beginning of the 20th century. They were seen as a basic part in military uniforms and were official court dress until the mid ‘30s. Frock coats were eventually usurped by morning coats – suits that had previously been seen as too informal to wear for formal occasions. George V signalled the end of the era of frock coats in 1926, when he wore a morning coat to the opening of a flower show. Goodbye frock coat. Thanks George V!


Last, but not least, let’s tell you about wigs. Wigs are definitely out of fashion. Periwigs were the ridiculous looking, funny-looking creations that was worn by the elite in society in the 16th and 17th centuries. Famously worn by Charles II, Samuel Pepys and pretty much every other upper class gent during this time period, these wigs were initially used for a practical purpose – to tackle head lice. Sounds charming, doesn’t it?
Wigs could be more easily deloused that natural hair, so other than being a fashion trend, it also had practical reasons. The aristocracy adopted this craze eagerly, wearing wigs to cover bald patches.

Do you think that any of the above trends makes it back into Fashion?

We sure hope not, as we can’t see any of these above trends to add to the look of the modern, style-concerning gentleman.

To read other articles in our series, please visit our blog section. If you are looking for a bespoke suit that is definitely in trend, then contact us here to get in touch, so we can arrange an appointment.