The formal wear of…

… Adolf Hitler

Welcome to this, the first in a series of posts examining the formal wear (and especially morning wear obv) of famous individuals. It may seem a bit odd to start with Hitler of all people – a man renowned more for his facial hair than for his sartorial style, but seeing as he is always the elephant in the room, it is best to get him out the way first and make everyone feel more comfortable.

For Hitler, formal wear seems to have been a bit like Poland, or facts – somewhat of an inconvenience. Indeed, there are very few pictures of him wearing it. He appears to have much preferred the comfort of his ill fitting uniforms festooned with row upon row of military honors and decorations he’d made up for himself and his sorry band of like minded cronies. For this reason, among others, he is not to be liked. Nonetheless, we will take a grudging look at some of his outfits – just to see if he made a better job of them than he did of conquering the free world.

Morning Dress

Hitler virtually never wore morning dress. His marriage to Eva Braun took place in a concrete bunker just minutes after he had dictated his last will and testament, and mere days before he finally shot himself. Consequently, it was hardly a cause for much celebration. Likewise, one cannot imagine a man like Hitler enjoying himself at the races while there was still work to be done perfecting this or that invasion plan. However, his incomprehensible appointment as Chancellor by the senile Hindenburg in 1933 was one such occasion when nothing else would do.

Hitler Morning Dress

Looking a bit glum for a man about to become a dictator - p'raps he's left the lights on at home

All in all it’s a bit standard – black one button peaked lapel morning coat, black single breasted waistcoat, white shirt with turn down collar, basic four-in-hand tie, normal cashmere striped trousers. He is wearing a waistcoat slip though – which adds a little bit of excitement. Here’s what it looks like in profile:

Hitler Hindenburg

Adolf enquires as to where Paul Von Hindenburg got his hat from

It’s ok, but it lacks imagination for want of a better word. Even the rent a diplomat man in the back left is wearing a better outfit.

Evening Dress

Now, Hitler should excel at evening dress as it requires virtually no imagination, just an ability to follow instructions to get it right. It’s also the uniform of choice when watching exceptionally long german operas – one of Hitler’s favorite hobbies. Again though, pictures of him wearing it are as rare as hen’s teeth.  Let’s have a look at what we’ve got to play with:

Hitler Evening Dress

"Does my entire body look big in this?"

Apart from standing like a farmer, he doesn’t look too bad – at least his waistcoat doesn’t protrude beneath the jacket. He loses points, however, for being unable to resist the ample twin lures of enamel badges and self awarded medals.

Hitler Evening Coat

Adolf biting off the hand that feeds him while mincing down the steps at his Debutant ball

This is not too bad either. Although it is clearly the same coat as before it seems to fit him better and he even has a good half inch of shirt protruding at the cuff. It’s also nice to see something a bit different, such as wearing a black waistcoat instead of white – a truly rare occurrence. His trousers, however, are a bit baggy for my liking and reflect an unfortunate trend in the late 1930s and early 40s of widening formal trouser widths…

Edward VIII meets Hitler

Oops. How did this get in here?

All in all, Hitler is a bit of a disappointment in terms of formal wear. For a man in his position one would of thought the opportunities for wearing it must have been more than numerous. His continual plumping for boorish and inelegant military attire over the supreme elegance of men’s formal wear speaks of someone more interested in impressing people than looking good. For this reason, and others, Hitler won’t be winning any of our coveted ‘best dressed men in history’ awards any time soon!

Hitler Diplomat Reception

Hitler is turned away from his own party for being underdressed



Filed under Evening Dress, Morning Dress, Politics, Trousers, Waistcoats

4 responses to “The formal wear of…

  1. Allen

    Just what are people wearing in that last photo? Is it court dress or diplomatic uniform? If so, which country had those?

  2. Freedom

    All of the clothes he is wearing in these photos look as if they were rented by a novice from a disinterested shop assistant and altered by a harried, part-time tailor. Even the military uniform looks like a last-minute costume rental from that angle.

    The images I usually see of him are dynamic and eye-catching (if psychologically disturbing), but here, his seeming discomfort reminds me of adolescents who stand around awkwardly at a party unless they have some bit of stage business to focus on (drinking their beer, smoking a cigarette, etc.)

  3. GJ

    Hi, just stumbled upon this. Not unwitty, this, but hardly accurate. Hitler had many political reasons for not wanting to wear anything as bourgeois as formal attire, mornings or evenings. He only ever wore one medal, namely the Iron Cross. He had by no means bestowed that upon himself, but instead earned it in the Great War of which of course he was veteran, and a proud one.

  4. Randy

    His Medals where not self given but earned in ww1. Iron cross 1st class and a Black wound badge. He also wore his Gold NSDAP Party pin.

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