Our previous blog on 1920’s fashion ended with the straight up and down tube designs becoming less severe and belts and lines were being introduced to break up the minimalist concepts.
The early years of the ’30’s saw the move to prettiness continue. Women now were not only striving against the Great Depression of the time in terms of providing home comforts but were also becoming workers in their own right. It was natural therefore to display this fight against austerity in what they wore. In addition to mass produced garments women were increasingly producing their own clothes as much as a fashion statement as for economy. As a result knitting and crochet thrived in these hard times, producing a wealth of custom designs.
Sweaters continued where they had left off in the previous decade being the go to garment for all manner of activities whether the day to day mundanities of shopping and working or weekend pursuits such as golfing, sailing and tennis. Stars of the screen such as Mae West, Garbo and Dietrich became role models of the new pretty, feminine and curvy woman that drove fashion in this direction. The Garbo look promoted longer hair, no long hidden under a hat, a skirt fitted around the hips and knee length. But unlike the ’20’s, her knitted suits fell from neck to hem and accentuated the curve of the hips. The bland beige or white colours were replaced by pastel shades of peach, mauve and pale greens and blues. The strapping and minimising of the breasts was gone and a cowl neckline and blousing effect gave a natural looking bosom. Cardigans had deep V necklines fastened with a single button again maximising the feminine shape.
However, the 1930’s girl had to not only look good but also strong enough to hold down a job that would secure her financial freedom. So for the working woman the sweater had to be practical and smart rather than overtly sexy. To this end the working sweater was high necked, often with 3 or 4 buttons at the back, long sleeved and plain. But looking chic and elegant at the same time was also sort after. This led to a spin-off of brightly coloured two tone or striped sweaters accessorised with crocheted hats, belts and gloves.
The strive for health and fitness [see our previous blog here] was practiced where possible. But for those who didn’t have the time or funds to reach perfection, stripes and diagonals were incorporated in sweaters to look more slimming. Lapels or a cross over neck were used to focus the eye inward rather than to the extremities. A higher waistline gave an impression of longer legs and height.
Knitted wedding dresses also became fashionable.