A Brief Overview of 1930s Fashion
In 1929, Jean Patou and Coco Chanel bring the waistline back to its natural position in their autumn collections, which sets the fashion tone for the 1930s. This shift created a softer, more feminine shape which helped close out the boyish silhouettes of the 1920s.
The most significant fashion trend of the 1930s was the attention to the shoulder. Many dresses featured puffed or butterfly sleeves as well as exaggerated shoulder pads to give the illusion of a smaller, more feminine waist. Fabrics are cut on the bias for figure hugging dresses with flowing full skirts to the ground. Hemlines, again fell, to mid-calf and evening gowns became floor length. Open or interesting backs were common. The look was clean and lean, with an alluring silhouette, essentially flattering to the figure. Evening dresses were often made of fine fabrics: tissue taffeta, silk chiffon, crepe, satin and silk velvet. Prints were the rage in the 30s and revival-style designs emerged including Grecian and medieval romantic styles. Overall, a much softer, feminine look emerged.
1930s hairstyles were much less polished as compared to the bobs and finger waves of the glitzy Jazz Age. Popular hairstyles remained short but were much more voluminous. Curls of this decade were much softer and slightly longer.
Capes, silk velvet and oriental robes as well as furs (carried for effect) were distinguishing accessories of the 30s. Although we don't carry fur, you can view our velvet robes here.
While many types of shoes were available during this era, the most popular were pumps, sling backs, and peep toes.
1930s Fashion Icons
It was during this period that popular Hollywood starlets became a major influence on fashion trends. What was worn by actresses like Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Jean Harlow on the silver screen became universally copied and worn by women the world over.
Born in 1911, Harlean "Jean" Carpenter (she changed her name to her mother's maiden name Harlow later) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1930, she was discovered by the famed Howard Hughes and was cast in Hell's Angels. With her captivating, platinum blonde hair she brought a new image of the Hollywood sex goddess to the entertainment industry. She made 36 movies and was best known for her sensual costumes and racy dialogue. By the time of her early death at age 26, she grew to be known as Hollywood's original "Blonde Bombshell."