Hey there! I'm just about bursting with excitement to show you the beautiful 1930s dresses I've gathered together for this post. This decade is one of my absolute favorites in fashion: long, slim lines combined with dramatic details? Yes, please. Beginning with longer, more feminine silhouettes after the androgynous 1920s, the 1930s remains, in my opinion, one of the most flattering and elegant periods in fashion history. It introduced simple, smart outfits to reflect the somber tone of the Great Depression, and yet encompasses the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Vionnet's groundbreaking use of the bias cut, and runs the design gamut from easy-to-wear dresses to outlandish gowns.
So without further ado, the seven (count 'em, seven!) flowing, beaded, print-ed, and/or clinging pieces I've chosen to reflect the variety of the 1930s.
This office-ready checkered number is a terrific example of the quintessential '30s silhouette. Hemlines dropped after the 1920s, and more figure-flattering lines came back in vogue.
The wide-set collar lies flat against the dress, which, combined with the strong vertical lines of the orange string tie, make for a really great neckline for someone with a shorter neck, like myself. The O-shaped belt buckle contrasts nicely against the square print fabric, and I love the slight flares at the hem and the wrist.
|Pleat detail at the front for added movement|
From what I can tell, this black floral chiffon piece shows the transition from 1920s to 1930s fashion. Though the front gather detail is present in late 1920s dresses (like the orange piece from my last post), this one sits a little higher, at the natural waist. (Or it would, if I were the right size for it!)
Similarly, I think this gorgeous beaded blue number demonstrates some of the lessons designers may have learned from the '20s-- namely, that drop waists are really hard to pull off.
The beads create the illusion of a lower waistline, but the fabric cinches in wonderfully at the natural waist. I adore the shape this dress creates, thanks to the slightly padded shoulders that balance out the bead detailing, and the long line created by the length.
|Seriously. The '30s are where it's at.|
The beautiful print and great swing of this dress and duster set made it absolutely agonizing to take off. I love this shape. It's in terrific condition-- so terrific, it's been used as a costume more than once.
|This flower print is to die for, and the tags, as well as the quick-rigging snaps, are evidence of its use as a costume.|
|This is the cutest thing I've worn in a long time.|
|Please don't make me take this off!|
Now this set, I'm less thrilled with. I think it's due to the combination of the bigger shoulders and the two-toned print, but this dress actually gave me much more of a '90s grunge vibe. '30s tea dresses made a comeback around that time, and this piece seems like the kind of thing a '90s alt-rocker might have worn.
I like the basic structure of the dress, though, and I'll admit, I like it more in photographs than in person.
The cut of this slinky, colorful v-neck dress shows how truly wonderful the 1930s were, in my opinion, for a girl with a less-than-hourglass figure. Thanks to the cut, the fabric clings to the body, and really flatters a more athletic figure. Don't get me wrong-- this would be killer on just about any shape, any body. But as a woman with what's rather dishearteningly referred to as a "boy shape," I really, really love anything that can play up what curves I do have.
I've saved the most outlandish for last. This dress is bonkers, and I love every inch of it.
I'm not even sure how to describe this chiffon dress, but to me, it looks like something out of a Joan Crawford film.
The velvet bows, the bright floral print, the bust gathers, the giant sleeves-- it's just pure fun.
I don't want to say too much here, but-- you just might catch this dress in a future post. (!) Until then, though, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the glam 1930s. I've loved getting a chance to wear these dresses, and to try out the '30s silhouette. I've definitely gotten some ideas for future sewing projects!
Next up: the 1940s!