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Softer Side

Nancy Willett [ February 2006 ]

With the Wall Street Crash, the Depression Era began and with it a complete change in how people dressed. No more reckless shopping for clothing; turning instead to the sewing machine to make what clothes were needed. Clothes were mended and patched until they had to be replaced.

The boyish look of the twenties was completely changed to a more feminine look. Hemlines were dropped to the ankle and waistlines were again at the natural waist. Necklines were lowered with wide scalloped edges or ruffled collars. Buttons were so expensive that zippers were now the preferred closure. Silk and rayon stockings replaced the woolen ones.

Paris styles were too expensive for all but the very wealthy and eveningwear was following the movie stars’ lead. Floating evening gowns, with empire-waist and ties at the back and large puffy sleeves. The most popular materials and patterns were cotton, wool, silk, acetate, rayon, velvet, georgett, crepe, organdy, satin, jacquards, tapestries, chamois, chiffon, and flecked tweed.

The most popular colors were powder blue, maize, gray, navy, and rose for teenage and young girls. Black was only used for evening gowns that were accented with white. Fur was much in demand for capes, stoles, wraps and accessories and trimmings for women and girls’ clothing.

The basic sportswear consists of sport suits, leather jackets, and middy slacks. Hats were worn at an angle, with the basic shoe styles,
slip-ons, pumps and flats.

Even a change in jewelry, with broaches becoming bigger, dress clips are fancier, rhinestones and glass stones were being put into many pieces.

Of all the fashion eras, this is my most favorite one. With the styles more genuinely feminine and softer. Thirties fashions are hard to come by, but if your handy with the sewing machine there are many patterns available for you to make a complete outfit.

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