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1930s Fashion Guide

Guide to 1930s Fashions-
How to Get the Look

Got a 1930's Art Deco or Old Hollywood themed prom, dance, charity ball, garden party or wedding to attend? This guide will help you put together a period correct look for any 30’s vintage themed event. After the straight , angular silhouettes of the 1920s , that played down the curves of a woman’s figure, the clothing styles of the 30s once again celebrated the female form. Dresses were very feminine and romantic with a return to the natural waistline. Hemlines remained at around ankle or shin length and rose a bit higher toward the end of the decade

The depression influenced fashion in that clothing manufacturers began incorporating less expensive fabrics like rayon into their designs because only the more affluent could afford silk. The 30s is often remembered as the “Big Band Era” and the “Golden Age of Hollywood” and the glamorous fashions worn by entertainers and silver screen stars heavily influenced the styles of that era. Whether you decide to wear an authentic vintage or vintage inspired dress or gown, below are key fashion elements to look for when recreating a classic 1930s style of dress.


  • The bias cut, popularized by Madame Vionnet, defined the figure flattering silhouettes of the 30s.
  • The look for day was floaty and ladylike in silks or rayon or lightweight cottons in pretty small to medium florals or deco influenced geometric prints.
  • Iconic evening looks include elegant backless gowns in velvets and body clinging sensuous satin. A la Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard and Ginger Rogers.
  • Bodices were more fitted, with elaborate collars that were capelike or incorporated folds, ruffles or draping.
  • Flutter sleeves.
  • Thin belts worn at natural waistline.
  • Peplums, more popular toward the end of the decade.
  • Skirts with V shaped yokes below the waist that followed the line of the hips then flared out from the knee ending in tiers, folds, tiers or layers


  • Fabric flowers or bows decorated hats, collars, center bust area of bodices or the waist.
  • Hats worn at an angle, wide brims, cloches, turbans, berets.
  • Shoe styles in the 1930s were very similar to the 1920s. Cuban heels, Mary Janes, T Straps. Lace up oxfords for day.
  • Strappy sandals for evening, often in metallic shades and/or mesh. The peep toe was introduced.
  • Platform heels became popular at the end of the decade.

Hair and Makeup

  • Similar to the wavy 1920s bob, except a bit longer,curlier and softer. Worn with side or middle part.
  • Longer hair pulled back in a chignon at back of neck.
  • Makeup, including lips, foundation and nails were matte finish.
  • No shiny, frosted looks.
  • Thin, curved eyebrows.
  • Foundation and powder were pale for a flawless ivory complexion.
  • Pink or light coral hint of blush on cheeks..
  • Red, deep rose or raspberry toned lips.
  • Light eyeshadow below brow and on lid, darker neutral shade in crease.
  • Thin dark brown or black liner on upper lid. Lots of mascara or false eyelashes for evening.
  • Moon manicure on nails. Pink or lighter shades were popular.