Welcome in the 30s! This was the time of the great depression, hunger, breadlines, mass employment, the rise of fascism,... Not an easy time to live your life, but a very elegant and glamorous time in fashion! People wanted to escape from reality by example by going to the movies. So (Old) Hollywood became a major influencer.
The rich got wealthier and the majority got poorer. But being on a tight budget was no excuse for sloppy fashion. It was a woman's duty to be a good steward of her husband's money. She was considered to shop and dress smart by wearing the latest fashions in fabrics they could afford.
note: At some point, seed sacks were sold in floral fabrics, so women could make clothes out of these sacks for their poor family.
The ideal '3Os woman was tall and slender with an accentuated natural high waist. Women wore feminine dresses with a mid-calf or floor length hemline. Accessories like hats and gloves were obligatory, and fur if you could afford it. The look was softly tailored with gentle prints, but also playful like polkadots. Hollywood movies like King Kong and Tarzan influenced fashion with leopard or cheeta prints.
Evening gowns were very sexy, with shimmery or satin fabrics and flared elegantly to the floor. The backless dress was very new and became a signature of the 30s evening wear.
Style icons like Greta Barbo, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich were enormous fashion influencers.
A great fashion designer of that time was Elsa Schiaparelli.
Suntan became fashionable, because it meant one had time for leisure and not to work in the sun. Resorts, like the French Riviera became a real fashion parade. Even women who lived much further from these hot spots, copied those fashion trends.
It also became social acceptable for women te wear pants! Beach pajamas - jumpers with very wide leg pants, belted or with a fitted high waist - became popular for a day at the beach, sportswear or a restful day at home.
Have a look at Margo's beautiful drawings and get to know more about their beauty trends or makeup!
Book : fashion design 1800-1940 (The Pepin Press)
Book : Fashion - Volume II (Taschen)