Bold Look

The Bold Look was a style in men's clothing and accessories that sought to answer the conservatism, or reserved nature, that had characterized men's dress during the Great Depression (1929–41) and World War II (1939–45). It was created by the editors of Esquire magazine, the most popular men's magazine of the period, in the spring of 1948, most likely as a male answer to the popular women's styles of the day, the New Look and the American Look.

The Bold Look encouraged men to make bold choices in the hats, shirts, shoes, and accessories that they wore with their suits. For example, Esquire urged men to wear shirts with the "command collar," which had a wider spread than normal collars. The magazine urged men to wear boldly striped neckties tied in a Windsor knot, a wider knot, heavy gold cuff links and wide tie clasps, and snap-brim hats, felt hats that tipped up in back and down in front, with a dented crown. They even urged men to be more daring in their choice of color for their suit.

The Bold Look enjoyed just two years of popularity, in 1948 and 1949, before it was ushered out of style by the tendency of men to make very conservative choices in their formal and business wear. The 1950s became the age of the gray flannel suit when most men simply wanted to fit in, not stick out with Esquire 's Bold Look.


Schoeffler, O. E., and William Gale. Esquire's Encyclopedia of 20th Century Men's Fashions. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973.

[ See also Volume 5, 1946–60: Gray Flannel Suit ]

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