How Suit Styles Have Changed Through the Decades

Men’s fashion has evolved over the past 50 years but one fashion piece that has always remained relevant is the suit. A timeless classic, every man has one ready to go for that last minute special occasion. As fashion trends come and go, the suit has been able to stand the test of time. CT Shirts takes a look at how the suit style has evolved over the past 50 years.

The 70’s

John Travolta dominated 70’s cinema but one look that has stood the test of time is his iconic Saturday Night Fever suit. The bright white single-breasted suit with matching waistcoat, flared trousers, and the black shirt with pointed collar is regarded as one of the most iconic looks in cinematic history.

The wide-legged suit trousers and wide lapels helped to create the leisure suit, which became a defining moment in 1970’s American fashion. First released by Lee Jeans, the leisure suit led the way in helping men break out from business attire into fashionable casual styles.

Saturday Night Fever Suit 70s Fashion

Saturday Night Fever Suit 70’s Fashion

The 80’s

The 80s took the leisure suit one step further. keeping with the crisp white suit, Don Johnson’s signature style on the streets of Miami gave a whole new meaning to casual workwear. With his linen shoulder-padded suits, colour block t-shirts, and rolled up sleeves Johnson created an iconic look that has since become a punchline in shows like Friends and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Yet it’s undisputed that Miami Vice perfectly capsulated men’s fashion in the 80s.

Don Johnson Miami Vice 80s Fashion

Don Johnson Miami Vice 80s Fashion

The 90’s

By the 90’s, the professional look was back at the centre of any man’s wardrobe with a stable power suit, asserting dominance in the boardroom. The style was welcomed by Gordon Gekko of Wall Street at the start of the decade. It then went on to be cemented in fashion by businessmen in movies like Pretty Woman staring Richard Gere or Batman staring George Clooney.
Key pieces to achieve this include a strong contrast collar or cuff shirt, statement braces, and, extravagant accessories to help flaunt your wealth. But make sure you are carrying your work phone! It may be heavy, but you’d hate to miss that important call you’ve been waiting on.

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko

The 00’s

In the early 00’s, Hedi Slimane changed the game by sending super-skinny, idealised versions of 1960s rocker style down the Paris runways, ushering in a new era of fitted clothing. A couple years later, Thom Browne doubled down on Hedi’s blueprint with cropped pants and jackets, driving home the idea that suits should fit slim by exaggerating it.

Towards the end of the 00’s, the Internet’s ever-growing crop of menswear blogs introduced Americans to soft-shouldered Italian suits, “sprezz,” and “Geezer style.”


Today, men are experimenting with their suits. This includes tying together different elements from over the past 50 years to create even bolder statements. Harry Styles has certainly used his statement suit style to break from his boyband past, cementing himself as a fashion icon with his mix of feminine, unapologetic styles. From bold colours to mixes of prints, Styles proves he can wear it all.

Harry Styles

Harry Styles

With more and more men changing the way with traditional masculine imagery, 007 has even taken a more modern step. Daniel Craig arrived at the London premiere of No Time to Die in a deep raspberry pink velvet dinner jacket. A great way to stand out while remaining chic and suave.

As trends and tastes change, never be afraid to stand out with a statement look. Even if it’s a casual daytime look, a big day at the office or even the party of the year, style throughout the decades has taught us, you know you can always turn to a suit.

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