What It Costs To Be A Well-Dressed Clubman

Here’s a find from a 1926 issue of Motion Picture Classic, featuring the very-popular Ramon Novarro (who appears to be sporting a little mustache). 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:

How to well dressed man mot pic classic '26

$430? Let’s see, adjusted for inflation that would be…a mere $5682 today! Which means that the reasonable-sounding $10 top hat was actually around $130. Those fine leather “pumps”? Close to $200. Hmm, maybe you’ll just take the more reasonable $3 white silk handkerchief…and that’ll be $40, ya mug!

That’s all just a single outfit, too. Someone like Douglas Fairbanks, who was often on Top Ten Best Dressed lists, possessed something in the range of 70 suits, 50 pairs of shoes and 300 neckties…for starters.

These were all constructed from the finest materials, of course, and meant to last. Although it does make you realize that just the wardrobes of some of these stars probably equalled the annual salaries of a few dozen average Joes!

6 thoughts on “What It Costs To Be A Well-Dressed Clubman

  1. 1:1 comparisons of inflation can be tricky. For example, I can find 100% silk handkerchiefs online between 15 and 20 dollars, or less than half the straight inflation rate. That’s because automation and imports from countries with cheap labor and favorable exchange rates keeps the price down. In general, our clothes today are much cheaper than what people wore then, at all levels of the income scale.

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