Women’s Fashion of the 1930s: From Upper Class to Commons

Md Mahedi Hasan

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Women’s Fashion of the 1930s was full of sophistication, elegance, and classic refinement. Women’s fashion of that era covered the popular tailored suits, wide-brimmed hats, and silhouettes highlighting the feminine styles. Women’s fashion of the 1930s is said to be overlooked but the transition from the flapper style has continued for centuries.

Upper-Class Women’s Fashion of the 1930s

When it comes to portraying the fashion of women in the 1930s, the thing that comes up is elegance or glamor. Although women had less money to be interested in Fashion, womanly clothes took their place in women’s waists and bows.

Upper-Class 1930s Women's Fashion
Women’s Fashion Upper-Class in the 1930s

Upper-class 1930s fashion cannot be explained without mentioning the privilege of different attires of the time. That means the upper class could afford the following 1930s women’s fashion trend throughout the decade. They are:

Daytime Attire

For daytime attire, upper-class women used to choose tailored suits or dresses that came with a defined waistline. The 1930s decade had high-quality materials and fabric for garments to be sewn for.

Daytime Attire
Daytime Attire in the 1930s

For instance, silk, and wool, were the most common fabrics that upper-class women chose to showcase their social status. Among women’s fashionable dresses, the key features were puffy sleeves, mid-calf hemlines, buttoned dresses, ruffles, or frilly bows. In the case of afternoon attire, most women chose dresses that had a matching belt. 

Outfits for Formal Occasions

Long or flowy skirts adorned with embroidery or beading were quite popular for formal occasions. For evening programs, upper women used to choose gowns over anything else. Evening gowns with draping was one of the highlighted outfits for that decade. 

Outfits for Formal Occasions
Outfits for Formal Occasions in the 1930s

Upper class women’s fashion was well-committed towards maintaining the quality craftsmanship, the authentic fabric, and the sense of style.

1930s Women’s Fashion Dresses

Since we have covered the upper class women’s fashion of the 1930s, it is time to portray the fashion of common people. These were some of the trends at that time in cases of fashionable dresses:

Homemade Clothing

In the 1930s, women were not great at wearing sewed dresses.

Homemade Clothing
Homemade Clothing in the 1930s

There was a dress called ‘Hooverette’ which had features like a wrap-around waist or puffy sleeves. 

Pants in the 1930s

Although the 1920s decade is said to be for rebellious women to rise, the 1930s decade was for women’s fashion-covered pants. Pants were quite a regular attire to wear in outdoor activities, be it for hiking or playing sports.

Pants in the 1930s
Pants image in the 1930s

The style of the pants followed the slim silhouette. Apart from that, women chose to wear trousers for leisure time. Most of the trousers were wide-legged similar to sailor pants.

Common Accessories

Among the common accessories that women used to wear, were fur stoles, capes, and high-heeled shoes with intricate details. 

Common Accessories in the 1930s
Common Accessories in the 1930s

Women at Home

Women who were housewives in that decade were dressed in colorful cotton–printed fabrics. The common style was to wear blouses with skirts. 

Women at Home in the 1930s
Women at Home in the 1930s

Among popular fashion trends, women’s 1930s fashion witnessed the following trends based on the socio-economic context. For instance:

Feminine Silhouettes

The 1930s embraced the feminine-styled silhouettes that were form-setting in nature.

Feminine Silhouettes
Image of Feminine Silhouettes

As a result, dresses featured tailored waistlines made of natural fabrics.

Influence of Art on Fashion

There was the Art Deco movement which directly or indirectly shaped fashion by coming up with geometric patterns, bold colors, bold designs, and sleek lines.

Influence of Art on Fashion in the 1930s
Influence of Art on Fashion in the 1930s

Long Hemlines

Longer hemlines are used to cover the part from the knee to the ankle length. Even though the 1930s decade witnessed the great depression, this fashion style represented modest fashion for women.

Long Hemlines
Image of Long Hemlines

Suits and Printed Dresses

Women of the 1930s also embraced different colored suits- black, white, chocolate, and brown. Printed cotton dresses are easy to wash.

Suits and Printed Dresses in the 1930s
Suits and Printed Dresses in the 1930s

Also, skirts, knit tops, and blouses made their presence in women’s wardrobes with cotton-made fabrics and sported colors.

Fashion 1930 to 1940

One of the important events of the 1930s was the Great Depression. This one event comes up with new ideas to be included in women’s wardrobes. For instance, the long elegant suits, zig-zag seam sewn long skirts, large collars, cuffs, and puffed sleeves, were some noticeable changes. From the year 1930 to 1940, changes were vividly seen in the oat patterns, closures-zip and pers, buttons, and all the aesthetics that enhanced the design of women’s fashion. The focus was given to easy-to-care fabrics, tailored coats, layered and contrasting stitching, and pleated design. 

1930s Fashion Pictures

Women’s fashion of the 1930s will be better depicted when you see the fashion pictures that ruled the world that time.

People used to choose dresses depending on fashion sense, functionality, and creative aesthetic. Some of the pictures are:


Women’s fashion in the 1930s covered the rise of pants, wide-leg trousers paired up with blouses, or cloche hats. The decade saw the ‘Ready to wear’ theme flourish in cheaper and bulk production. To conclude, 1930s fashion revealed the shift towards the decade of elegant aesthetics where polished dressing or luxurious fabrics contributed to the fashion most for women.

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