Coming between two world wars and the stock market crash of 1929, the thirties was a tough time. Clothes had to become more affordable and made with cheaper fabrics.
Sky Atlantic’s new imported drama Mildred Peirce starring Kate Winslet, is set in Depression-era California, following a single mother’s journey to support her family and gain the respect of her daughter. The show combines the glamour and hardship of the 1930s in its costumes, represented by it’s upper-class and working class characters.
Designers began to focus on the female form rather than embellishment, and clothes were cut to follow the lines of the body, showing off the female figure in a more provocative way than ever before.
Young women idolised the Hollywood superstars that graced the silver screen, and dreamed of wearing the halter-neck and backless designer dresses they wore on screen. Instead they compensated with costume jewellery and accessories to add an air of glamour to their outfits, at a cheaper price.
Perhaps the most iconic films of the decade starred Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in their many dance-based films. They projected an air of glamour and high life, that many could only dream of during the depression. Citizens flocked to the cinema to for the escapism they provided.
Fur became popular among women and was worn day and night, becoming popular luxury items, using pelts of ermine, fox, mink and chinchilla for coats, capes and wraps.
As women lead busier and more productive lives, daywear reflected this, and clothes became less restrictive. Designers embraced the hourglass silhouette, and returned waistlines to the natural waist, sometimes higher.
Detailed blouses became popular, with scalloped edges and ruffled collars, but the real success story was the pussy-bow neckline, which added an air of elegance to more practical daywear.
Coco Chanel believed that comfort was key to her designs, and the wool jersey suit became one of her most famous innovations, still iconic today. She wanted to free women for corsets and introduce them to a freer, more casual elegance.
But with the end of the 1930s, came the start of the Second World War and with that came change…
Suits: Hour glass and pear shape figures
Good for: Fur, detailed blouses, wool jersey suits, backless gowns
Invest in: A fur jacket
Who wears it well: Kate Winslet, Gwen Stefani, Amy Adams, Rachel Evan Wood