What Were the Major Fashion Trends of the 1930s?

People remember the 1930s as the era of the great depression and the stock market crash. It took a long time for people to come out of this tragedy and start life again with a new hope. At last, the economic boom was over, and it brought inspiring prolificacy to make life cheerful for people. 

They started making top-notch Hollywood movies featuring hopeful and luxury stories. People started following the fashion used in movies and dramas. The fashion industry was changing rapidly, and people were adopting the trends, and we can say the styles of the thirties were full of glamour and grace.

History of the 1930s Fashion

In the 1920s, women’s styling looked more boyish, and in the 1930s, stylists replaced it with a more modest style. The subtle and form-fitting style with high waist, fitted hips, high neckline, broader shoulders, floor-length hemline, and linger mid-calf were trendy in the 1930s women.

In the 1930s, the ideal woman was tall and slim with narrow shoulders and hips, but on average, women didn’t have skinny figures. At that time, stylists were introducing women to new trends to make their waists seem thinner by using the idea of puffed and butterfly sleeves, caplets, large collars, and ruffled cap sleeves.

The fashion industry underwent many changes in that era, and the enormous relief was ready-to-wear garments because it was producing more in less time than custom garments. Cotton became the most used fabric because it was inexpensive, while the garment industry started using zippers instead of buttons.

Like today’s era, women also intended to adopt the fashion, but sometimes the first hurdle to do things according to trend is budget. Women could easily buy unstitched fabrics and sew them according to trend for looking best among their circles.

That era’s rough and cheap material did not mean the women lacked any style. At that time, some women considered it the duty to look trendy even on a low budget and sew their own clothes. And we know, the 1930s wife was considered the steward of her husband’s money.

Here are some major fashion trends of the 1930s:

House Dresses of the 1930s

Women usually wore casual dresses at home or when they went to visit a neighboring lady. House dresses were made of cotton, followed the trends in silhouette, displayed with bold and bright prints. The most popular look for house dresses was Hooverette. It had a wrap-around waist, puffed sleeves and was easy to wear at home in a slim-fitting style.

Most women preferred to sew their clothing with new exciting designs. When the flour industry started making flour sacks with beautiful prints on them, the brilliant women of that era made them a dress to wear at home. But yes, they didn’t wear them in public places because these dresses were purely for home use.

Afternoon Dresses of the 1930s

In the 1930s, women didn’t wear house dresses outside the house; they would wear an afternoon dress to shop, run errands, attend a tea meeting or see a friend. The bright afternoon dresses were made of rayon crepe or silk, but cotton was a big no for these dresses.

They stuck with the trend of long silhouettes that fall near the ankle and puffy sleeves to slim the waist. These dresses were decorated with buttons, brooches, and embroidery, and a matching belt was a must-have for the dresses to look graceful. These dresses were known as city dresses of that time.

Night Dresses of the 1930s

Elite women of that era specially wore evening gowns or evening dresses. The fabric used for these dresses was silk that enhanced the beauty of the dress more. Hollywood stars like Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, and Ginger Rogers were styling with these beautiful nightgowns, and women were following them religiously.

The stylish look included long and slim silk flares that ended at the bottom, puff and caplet sleeves, and halter styles plunging backs were common in that days. The fashion of backless gown was also the part of the 1930s, and this style is majorly still worn by celebrities on red carpets nowadays. Therefore, the fashions and trends of the 30s were not that backward.

Women Pants in the 1930s


Before the 1930s, rebellious women started wearing pants on different occasions. For sports activities, sometimes they just came and saw the game, and for other times, they used to wear sportswear like sailor middy and overalls for hiking, picnic, ski, and tennis.

Pants were wide-legged trousers with a front crease with a high fitted waist that looked like a skirt when not walking. In winters, wool and twill were used to make these pants, and the most common pant was double button sailor with a side zipper. While in summers, beach pajamas were standard pants in the 1930s. Sleeveless tops with palazzo pants and bold patterns graced the beaches and pools.

Blouses and Sweaters

Blouses and sweaters were best combinations with skirts and pants, part of every woman’s wardrobe. These blouses had short puffed sleeves, a modest neckline with small collars, and decorative details such as shirring, buttons, ruffles, and pintucks that gave them a girly, delicate and aesthetic look.

A silk or light knit scarf tied around the neck or tucked under the blouse for lower neckline blouses gave a classy look. Button-down shirt blouse is one of the basic blouses paired with trousers and skirts for casual and formal dressing. The other popular patterns were polka dots, stripes, paisley, and plaids coordinating trousers and skirts.

Cardigans and pullover sweaters were some of the most following fashions. A variety of these cardigans and sweaters with beautiful and stylish designs gave an elite look to every woman.

Accessories 

Every woman loves to wear accessories, and we know our closet is nothing without these accessories. Like today’s women, the women of the 1930s were also admiring these accessories by wearing them and making them part of their fashion.

Hats

You may have seen royals; they wore hats that enhanced their beauty and made them look more stylish. In the 1930s, royals and every woman wore hats to look graceful. The most famous hats were slouch hats, straw hats, white-brimmed cartwheel hats, and fedora hats.

Bags

Small or flat clutches, large bags with large handles, and various handbags were used as accessories. Without a bag or clutch, or purse, no event was complete.

Gloves

Daytime gloves were mid-arm length, soft leather, crochet lace, or gauntlet style in fabrics. For evening elbow-length gloves still wore with every evening gown. The gloves were additional accessories that told the etiquettes.

Jewelry

Jewelry was an essential part of 1930s fashion. Flower brooches, neckless, rings, earrings, and bracelets with rhinestones were the perfect jewel of the evening’s events.

Conclusion

The fashion industry has been flourishing for ages. The 1930s looked simple, but it was full of grace and elegance. The styles used by the icons continue to make waves today, and despite the depression and the stock market crash, the 1930s were influential and stylish.