The role of print media, especially prior to television, was highly influential in setting and calibrating standards and tastes in men's clothing. Much the way that some newspapers used to be considered newspapers of record, certain magazines played that role for men's clothing. Apparel Arts used to be such a magazine of record and standard bearer for men's dress.
Here is a link to an archive of Apparel Arts and GQ covers from the 1950s to present day, some 528 of them. It offers a fascinating lens to to the past and present. Of course, many would argue that the high water mark is found in the Apparel Arts of the 1930s, during which the printed reality most closely comported with the social and sartorial reality on the ground.
Update: For all of you vintage apparel magazine fans, I've found a Fedora Lounge thread with scans of the first Esquire issue - Autumn 1933.