Vintage Trouser Style Guide For Men

1940s mens vintage trousers

Shopping for the perfect pair of trousers can be a tedious and time-consuming task but is an essential part of building a comfortable and stylish wardrobe. With the amount of choice here at Revival Vintage, we have put together a trouser style guide to make this task as simple as possible and to give you the confidence that you are choosing the right trouser style for you. At the time of writing, the items mentioned in this blog post are currently available on our website. If what you were hoping to purchase has sold out check out our men's vintage style trousers for similar items.

A Brief History Of Men's Trousers
Before the 1940s, trousers were predominantly accompanied by their suit jacket counterpart however; in the 1940s this all changed when men began to wear their trousers as separates. These trousers were more colourful and comfortable than the suit trousers that people had become accustomed to. Trousers in the 1940s were made from lighter materials including lighter wool, cotton and flannel fabrics. These trousers were mainly produced in Grey, Brown and Beige and occasionally featured patterns, with Pinstripe and Plaid being the most popular. Key features on 1940s trousers included high waists, flat fronts and double pleats. In the 1940s there was also an emphasis on swing dancing which was reinforced by the exaggerated width of the most popular pants.

In the early 1950s, the wide-leg fit of trousers had been carried over to the new decade however, as the decade went on, the trousers became more slim fit, reminiscent of the trousers we wear today. In the 1950s there was an emphasis on textured fabrics with Corduroy being one of the more favoured textures for colder months and tweed and linen being favourites year-round.

For the duration of the 1960s, most trousers had a slim and tapered shape due to the mod subculture that opted for skinny trousers featuring patterns such as Plaid or Check. The trousers worn within the 60s featured creases down the leg which became the norm for men's trousers due to inspiration from characters such as James Bond. In the 1960s, pleats were folded inwards which is a stark contrast to the pleats we see on modern-day clothes. The turn-up feature on a trouser declined in the 1960s in comparison to the 1950s but was still present in 1960s fashion. Popular colours in the 1960s were similar to the 1940s with Grey, Blue and Beige being the most popular colours and with the rise of the Mods, patterns such as Checks and Stripes became the norm.

Bag Trousers
Bag trousers are a style of trousers worn by men between the 1920s and 1950s before slim-fit trousers took over. Bag trousers feature a wide leg and a high waistband and pushed the term wide leg to the extreme with some of the biggest bag trousers measuring up to 40 inches at the ankle. Bag trousers were initially popular amongst Oxford University students who used bag trousers as a way to wear knickers, which were banned from classrooms. Bag trousers began to narrow down from a standard 25-inch width to a more casual 18 and a half inches but are rarely worn at these measurements in the present day.

Our Granville Notch Back Revival Bag Trousers are period-accurate styled trousers with a high waistband and a range of other noteworthy features. The Granville Trousers feature an after-dinner split at the back to minimise restriction and maximise comfort for the wearer. The trousers also feature additional buttons where the wearer can attach braces to help to emulate an authentic 1930s or 1940s look. The trousers are double pleated at the front and are folded inwards to further push the period accuracy of these trousers. Many modern-day trousers have the pleats folded outwards however, in the 1930s and 1940s, tailors opted to fold their pleats inwards to create a more convex shape.

Our Granville Notch Back Revival Bag Trousers are currently available in Brown and Grey and can be paired with our Granville Waistcoat for a completed look.

Granville Notch Back Revival Bag TrousersFishtail Back Trousers
Fishtail back trousers are a style of trouser worn by men that have a v-shape cut at the rear centre of a trouser waistband. Trousers were once cinched in using lace but when lace died out and belts were introduced, the slit remained on the waistband without the eyelets. The term fishtail was first penned in the 1930s and was named fishtail as the shape and height of the v are reminiscent of a fishtail. Fishtail back trousers are still worn today and are regularly paired with braces.

Our Hugo Fishtail Back Revival 1940s Trousers were copied from an original pair of 1940s trousers, making them some of the most period-accurate trousers in our product catalogue. The Hugo Fishtail Back Trousers include side adjustments that make it even easier to find your perfect fit. The fishtail back trousers are a staple style that is perfect to wear when dancing – making these a go-to trouser style for festivals such as Goodwood and Twinwood. These trousers feature single and outward-facing pleats and additional buttons for braces to create a more authentic look. They also feature turn-up hems that polish off the trousers and create a flattering shape.

Our Hugo Fishtail Back 1940s Trousers are currently available in Cocoa, Mocha, Slate Grey and Navy.

We also offer our Hugo Trousers in a Beige Chino version called the Hank Fishtail Back 1940s Revival Trousers.

Hugo Fishtail Back Revival 1940s TrousersPeg Trousers
Peg Trousers are a style of trousers worn by both men and women that have an excessive amount of material at the hip and are narrowed down at the trouser legs using pleats and panels. Due to the cut and shape of peg trousers, these styles of trousers are notoriously flattering on the majority of body types which is why people still choose to wear them today. Peg trousers were initially popular in the 1930s and 40s within the factories and were revived once again in the 1980s. Peg trousers are still worn in casual settings today due to their versatility and flattering shape.

Our Chuck Peg Revival 1950s Trousers have been created using an original pair of vintage trousers. The combination of the pleats and the turn-up hems balance out the weight of the trousers to make for a flattering silhouette for all body types. The Chuck trousers also feature belt loops to house your favourite belt and due to the colour options available, can easily be paired with other 1950s pieces to easily create cohesive outfits.

Our Chuck Peg Revival 1950s Trousers are currently available in Olive and Blue.

Chuck Peg Revival 1950s TrousersHigh Waisted Trousers
High Waisted Trousers are a style of trousers worn by both men and women that sit substantially higher than typical trousers. Due to the shape of these trousers, they are known to elongate the legs and flatten the stomach area which is why people still opt to wear them today. High-waisted trousers were initially popular during the 1930s and are still worn by many daily due to their versatility and flattering shape.

Our Edwin High Waisted Revival Trousers are period-accurate trousers that were copied from a pair of true vintage trousers found in our archive. As the name indicates, these trousers sit high on the waist in comparison to modern-day trousers. The Edwin trousers also feature straight and vertical side seam pockets that are reminiscent of true vintage trousers as modern-day trousers typically have angled pockets. These trousers have a pair of pleats on each side which are stitched to give a flattering illusion to the stomach area. The final feature is the tab and buckle fixtures, these allow the wearer to adjust their pants and add a decorative touch at the same time.

Our Edwin High Waisted Revival Trousers are currently available in Navy, Caramac, Light Brown and Fossil Grey.

Edwin High Waisted Revival Trousers

We hope you have found this guide a useful tool for finding your perfect trouser style! If you decide to purchase any of the trousers mentioned in this blog post, don’t forget to comment below which ones you have purchased or tag us in your pictures on Instagram @revivalvintageuk for your chance to be featured on our page!


Wish you had larger sizes.

Gary May 20, 2024

Where can I find linen trousers from your summer season please? Is it possible here, or do you have a sale section?
Thsnk You in Zsdvsncr

Charles mc Eleney. November 24, 2022

Enjoyed reading about style and comfort and importanly the width of leg. Shall be looking to buy. Thank you. John.

John Cates August 15, 2022

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