1930's The Golden Age Of Glamour

    As a vintage garment collector and seller, I am always discovering and learning about clothing and history.  The fashion of the 1930's were simply devine. There's so much to learn, but here's some interesting stuff from the world wide web.
    Vintage 1930s Photograph, Great Depression Era Snapshot, Women's Fashion
    1930's fashion sparked the arrival of a new age in glamour influenced by the Great Depression, Hollywood films and romance.  It was about getting back to a feminine look that enhanced a women's waistline, hips, and bosom.  Women wanted to look like the women they were now seeing on the silver screen.

    1930's Seductive Bias-Cut Red Rhinestone Satin Hourglass Gown

    Hair was still kept short, but soft curls were added to give a more ladylike appearance.

    Simple blouses, wrap skirts, v-neck cardigans, long free-flowing dresses, and short stylish jackets were all reflected of the 1930's. Accessories such as fur caps, coats, wraps, trimmings and stoles were worn to add a touch of style and femininity.  Women wore shoes with rounded toes and thick heel, slip-ons, lace-ups, buckle-shoes, etc.  Gloves were a must and it was imperative that they matched the shoes and handbag.  And let's not forget...hats that were worn on an angle. (source)


    The first openly synthetic fibers were developed in the 1930s. Prior to this, manufactured fibers had been developed to emulate natural fibers.

    Dresses before the Depression were often made of fine silks and satins. Following the 1929 crash, materials like rayon were often used. Although not as beautiful or elegant as silk, rayon was notably cheaper, which was crucial in such lean times. It also allowed for more inventiveness in prints and dye, so that an inexpensive day or cocktail dress could suddenly have flair and verve. Rayon was easy to wear and care for, which was increasingly crucial throughout the decade and into the war years.


    Fashions of the 1930s woman also changed with the advent of the zipper. Now one was less reliant on a maid, sister, mother or husband to finish getting dressed - zippers were easier and faster than tiny buttons. The zipper was also used commonly in skirts and dresses for the first time in the '30s. This helped to save money as one zipper could replace many buttons. Many women of the Great Depression made their own clothing.  People often mended and patched their clothes before being replacing them.
    According to Fiell and Direx, "the 1930s working woman was an ‘all grown up’ version of the 1920s flapper.” A softer, more feminine style replaced the boyish, flapper look of the twenties. 


    Fashions of the 1930s woman were also characterized by the ensemble - matching dresses and coats or suits with blouses. A smart woman chose outfits in basic colors that were flattering, so that although the coat matched the dress, it could also be worn with everything else in her wardrobe.


    Fashion design moved toward cleaner, simpler lines to reflect the simpler lives of the public. Silhouettes were sleek with straight lines. The aim was to slenderize with clean, straight lines and a neat, tailored cut to dresses. Some designers approached a 'mannish' look to their clothing lines. Diagonal lines were popular with many of the top fashion designers.
    McCall 9945; ©1938; Misses' Blouse

    Necklines were lowered while torsos were sensuously molded beneath squared shoulders. Necklines received dramatic attention, often with wide scallop-edged or ruffled collars. Darts were replaced by soft gathers.

    Sweaters of the mid 1930s were often adorned with high necklines, jabots (ruffles or frilling) and bows.
    1934 Sweaters
    1930's Collars


    Dresses were often adorned with cape, flared, bell, or fluttered butterfly sleeves with puff shoulders.

    1930's jacket sleeve types


    Dress waists returned to the natural waistline, sometimes belted to appear narrow and accentuate the waist. Evening dresses had daring low-cut necklines and backs. Moderately full skirts accentuated a small waist and minimized the hips. Dress bodices were designed with inset pieces and yokes.


    At the beginning of the decade, hemlines dropped dramatically to the ankle and remained there until the end of the thirties.

    A common shape of the skirt was gore shaped, usually with a little extra "kick" at the bottom almost forming a bell shape. That meant that it hugged the woman's curves through the hips and thighs and swung out with a little flare around the calves. The pleats or gores allowed for maximum mobility. Another trend in ladies' skirts in the '30s was the kick pleat, a style that saw the back hem of skirts longer than the front by 3 or 4 inches.

    Skirts were also designed with great detail. Upper skirt yokes appeared for the first time, designed in a v-shape and extending from one hip to the center of the yoke and continuing to the opposite hip. Skirts were commonly worn with sweaters or blouses and a waist-length jacket, as ladies' suits came into vogue.


    The daywear of the 1920s had been distinguished by a sporty look, with the emphasis on lightness and fun. Suits and even trousers became more popular as more women entered the workforce and everyone had less time for frivolity.
    Vintage french magazine, La femme chez elle, august 15 1933 ($10)

    1930's photo of pretty fashionista gals in swimsuits on a cruise boat
    The 1930s truly represent the coming of age for women’s glamour. Figure hugging gowns and soft feminine silhouettes articulated what the decade stood for.  Floor grazing lengths, furs, and elaborate necklines embody the look of the 1930's. 

    My 1930's Wish List

    I rarely come across 1930's garments thrifting at Goodwill, probably because they sell online too. A great place to look are Estate Sales. There are some very divine pieces for sale online too.  

    Sheer Chiffon

    Modern Women Rocking the 1930's.

    Tea with Vintage Baroness. I just found this doll at her site Tea with the Vintage Baroness. Had to include her in this post. She really embodies the feminine style of the 30's. Check her site here.
    This Old Life or "Confessions of a Creative Dresser. Nabby is a fantastic sewer and recreates looks of the 30's using vintage patterns. She is bringing tons of style to Arkansas. Check her site here

    ETC. ETC.

    blog about 1930's makeup how tos here
    buy 1930s makeup guide here
    Shops for 1930s dresses here
    pinterest has great 1930's themes too!
    Deco Dames

    WANNA LEARN MORE? Buy this book. . . if it's still available.
    By Charlotte Fiell available online here



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