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August 30, 2020

What It Costs to Be a Well-Dressed Clubman in 1926

Just about anyone loves to sigh over that elegant ’20s evening wear, from the silk top hats to the dresses dripping with pearls. Here’s a breakdown on how much it took for your average male movie star to look like the Toast of the Town:

The male of the species is prone to tear his hair, moan in a loud tone of voice and otherwise register grief in large quantities when his wife’s bills for millinery and evening gowns come rolling in about the first of the month.

Yet, when the masculine fashion plate steps forth correctly attired for an evening at the opera or other formal functions, the combined cost of the various parts of his costume will easily equal the price tag on a new flivver coupé.

Ramon Novarro is noted in Hollywood for being correctly garbed on every conceivable occasion. It costs the star about $430 (about $6,100 in today money) to be outfitted as he is here––and the end is far from reached. Studs and links remain to be secured to complete the costume. The exact cost of these is a matter of individual preference ranging from a possible minimum of $25 or $50 to well into the thousands.
• High silk hat, familiarly known as a “topper,” $10
• Custom-tailored suit of black broadcloth, including trousers and swallow-tailed coat, $175
• Vest, or waistcoat, of white silk material, $25
• Gloves, also of white silk, $5
• Patent leather pumps, $15
• Opera top coat, of black broadcloth, $75
• White silk tie and bat-wing collar, $2.50
• Stiff-bosom shirt, of linen, $5
• White silk handker-chief, $3
• Socks, plain black and of heavy silk, $2.50
• Walking stick, $12
Total cost of outfit, minus studs and links is $430
(The image is extracted from a 1926 issue of Motion Picture Classic, via Silent-ology)


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