What Are the Different Types of Vintage 1930s Clothing?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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Vintage 1930s clothing consists of casual and dressy styles for men, women, girls, and boys. These garments may include mid-calf skirts for girls and women, and knickers for boys and men. Vintage clothing also consists of pinafore dresses for young girls, which were widely popular during the 1930s. While American schoolboys often wore knickers during the 1930s, short pants were worn by English boys. Fedora hats are popular vintage 1930s clothing accessories for both men and women.

Vintage 1930s clothing for women may include some comfortable and casual dresses. During the Depression of the 1930s, women wore practical dresses for both day and evening wear. Vintage 1930s dresses are simplistic in design, with a fitted waist and mid-calf length hemline. Some vintage 1930s women's dresses include shoulder pads as well. Various styles of women's hats are often worn with 1930s vintage dresses.

The vintage style house dress features ruffles, buttons, and bows. The feminine and flowing style is seen in various lightweight fabrics. Vintage 1930s house dresses can be found in many solid colors, patterns, or floral designs.

Men's vintage suits from the 1930s were made with double-breasted jackets with herringbone stripes. Generally seen in charcoal and navy, vintage 1930s suits were made to be durable. Vintage 1930s clothing also includes the gangster suit for men. Gangster suits closely resemble the styles worn by the infamous Al Capone during his reign as mob boss of the 1930s.


During the 1930s, knickers were a common clothing style for boys. Long trousers did not become the fashion trend until the next decade. Knickers can be best described as shin-length pants with a tight-fitting gathered hemline. Vintage 1930s clothing for boys also includes knickers and knee socks, often worn with a double-breasted jacket. Wool caps were another popular accessory for most boys during the 1930s.

Little girls' vintage 1930s clothing may include colorful jumpers and pinafores for everyday wear. Another popular 1930s style dress is the print calico, seen in various colors. Summertime apparel for young girls during the 1930s often included a lightweight sundress. Unlike calico dresses that are made with a smocked waistline, the sundress is seamless.

Vintage 1930s swimwear can be found in one-piece designs for men, women, and children. Vintage style swimsuits for women and girls are generally backless. Many vintage style bathing suits can be ordered through specialty stores or online auctions.


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Post 2

@Scrbblchick -- It seems like making your own clothes ought to be cheaper, doesn't it? Not these days unfortunately. Fabric is outrageously priced.

I always thought women's shoes in the 1930s were interesting, but it probably had something to do with the Depression. Women needed sturdy, long-wearing shoes since they couldn't afford to replace shoes too often. Galoshes were also still popular, since they helped preserve the shoes from rain and snow. A woman might have a pair of light colored shoes for warm weather, a dark pair for cold weather and if she was lucky, a pair she saved for Sundays or dressy occasions. That's just the way things were then. Men might have their weekday shoes and a Sunday pair.

Post 1

One of the hallmarks of 1930s dresses for women was that they were easy to make. This is because, during the Depression, most women didn't have enough money to buy ready-made dresses, so they made their own. Frequently, if they lived in rural areas, these were made of flour sacks. In those days, the sacks were just floral cotton print, without the name of the flour company, so the ladies were able to pull all the seams out of the sacks and use them as material. My mother recalls wearing a lot of dresses her mother made from flour sacks.

If you look in newspapers from that time, there are always numerous patterns for dresses that any woman of the time could make, since material was much cheaper than an off the rack dress.

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