Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dustbowl Dames

As the 1920's faded into the background, the 1930's brought a glamorous, sensuous sleek and streamlined look for both women and men. Suddenly more then ever the fashion industry was influenced by Hollywood and the movies, everybody wanted to wear the styles they had seen on screen and on actresses like Jean Harlow. As big bands, dancing and night life became all the rage so did the need for new impressing looks. New and improved fabrics like rayon gave clothing companies a material with several finishes to work with, resulting in tons of new styles as well as looks. Cotton became more popular then ever and was made ever so popular by Chanel in the 1930's. Cotton soon was more then just a cheap fabric for work clothes but a summer and wardrobe staple. Though nothing can compare to the cut and look of a gown made of pure silk. Silk was definitely the best fabric to capture the folds and drapes of thirties gowns and couture.

With the Depression and the Dust bowl making times extremely tough for so many people the bold new styles introduced by the wealthy were out of reach for most. Luckily the new fashions did not use a great deal of fabric. This made it easier for people to make their own clothes with less money because of the styles that could be made with less fabric. Inexpensive ready wear clothing became very popular and was available in a wide range of sizes as well as styles. Manufacturers began to copy the latest fashions coming out of Paris and produced cheap imitations. Those who could not afford ready wear or to buy fabric, looked to household items for make new outfits. Sheets and drapes could easily be turned into a new dress or blouse and was a mere fraction of the price to make using items laying around the house then buying a brand new dress.

1930's Sunflower Yellow Crocheted Dress 40"-28"-40" $115
1930's Tea Party Dress 33"-25"-33" $65
1930's Magenta Silk Chiffon Dress 34"-27"-38" $125
1930's Ivory Embroidered Dress and Bolero 37"-28"-46" $300
1930s Black Velvet hat with Feathers $24
"The merciless winds tore up the soil that once gave the Southern Great Plains life and hurled it in roaring black clouds across the nation. Hopelessly indebted farmers fed tumbleweed to their cattle, and, in the case of one Oklahoma town, to their children. By the 1930s, years of injudicious cultivation had devastated 100 million acres of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico."- Timothy Egan on the Dust bowl
"In other periods of depression, it has always been possible to see some things which were solid and upon which you could base hope, but as I look about, I now see nothing to give ground to hope—nothing of man."- Former President Calvin Coolidge on the Depression circa 1930's


  1. oh, I so adore the red/white striped dress! It's so cute! <3 <3

  2. That hat leaves me speechless...

    So coquetish.


  3. That yellow crocheted dress!

    This is an era that I love too. Depression glass too, so pretty.

  4. Ooh, the second dress.... Wow. Wish I had the money, i would definitely buy it.

  5. Lovely dresses. I like how you said they would even make dresses from curtains...

  6. Oh I adore the 30s, i wish I could afford to wear it :(

  7. Great photo's, love that hat. So sad what people had to go through with the depression. They were tough times indeed!

  8. I am totally in love with the yellow crocheted dress and the striped tea party dress. How do you find such wonderful things?

  9. The dresses in the very first photo are dreamy.


  10. The ivory dress is to die for! That quality is hard to find these days.
    That last photo blows my mind...

  11. luuv these.
    u have a great blog! x

  12. Thank you everyone so much for all of your comments and kind words Ill be making sure to stop by all of your blogs today! ♥

  13. Fantastic and touching post, Darla. Thank you for highlighting this important period of history through it's graceful, lovely fashions.

    Wishing you a deeply beautiful weekend,
    ♥ Jessica

  14. I am a huge fan of vintage fashion.!! Those dresses are so classy and elegant. That yellow one is my most favorite.


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