What are some beneficial forms of escapism

New femininity & escapism. Fashion retrospective of the 1930s.

Jan 22, 2021

Updated March 18, 2021

“The boyish look is out. Try to be the essence of romance in the evening. "
Vogue, March 1938.


The 30s were a turbulent decade: in 1929, the Golden Twenties came to an abrupt end with the stock market crash on Wall Street. The time of the wild flappers was over. The global economic crisis could no longer be averted. Mass unemployment, high levels of dissatisfaction and political uncertainty finally paved the way for the National Socialists to come to power, who were heading Germany towards World War II by 1939.

Fashion as a mirror of the times: New image of women - elegant femininity, feminine silhouettes.

These political and social upheavals also changed fashion. At first it was surprisingly creative until it came to a complete standstill in the war years. Art Deco and Cubism were among the strong currents of the decade. In the course of the global economic crisis, “less is more” inevitably applied. This was particularly evident in haute couture. Collections were reduced, instead of noble embellishments, emphasis was placed on silhouettes and high-quality fabrics. Paris continued to set the tone. Hollywood also had an influence on the styles - it is not for nothing that the 30ies are referred to as "the golden age of Hollywood". People loved the cinema, which at least made it possible to escape the bitter everyday life for a short time, and they styled the glamorous robes of the stars. The great style icons of the time were Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Jean Harlow.

The androgynous image of women in the Roaring Twenties was a thing of the past. And with it the straight cuts. D.he elegant lady became the desired style ideal. A renewed emphasis on femininity found its way into the looks. Although the body ideal was still slim and, above all, tall, fashion became more figure-hugging. The focus was on the waist, which was freely accentuated and thus visually conjured up long legs. An elongated, narrow silhouette is typical of the early 30s. This impression was underlined by the typical diagonal cut in the glamorous evening dresses made of soft, flowing fabrics with a deep back neckline. During the night out, with the sound of the big bands that played Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, they just wanted to forget all the problems. Starting from Paris were finally since the middle of the decade the shoulders are more pronounced, little by little the line became a little stricter. Little changed for the men compared to the 20ies. Suits suitable for everyday use were still “in”, but they became a bit more casual overall: the trend-conscious man complemented wide trousers with a tight jacket plus a cylinder or a felt hat.

The typical looks - glamor and simple elegance.

► Godet rock

The well-known skirt shape of the 30s first reached below the knee, later to the middle of the calf. At the bottom, the godet skirt falls like a bell, whereas it sits extremely figure-hugging on the hips. This creates very feminine silhouettes. In order to emphasize the waist additionally, the skirt was complemented with a belt. The high waist and the narrow cut conjured up long legs and thus served the common ideal of beauty.

► Rock-blouse duo

The combination of skirt and high-necked blouse with tight-fitting sleeves was one of the most popular everyday trends. Despite the regained femininity, the necklines remained hidden.

► costume

A tight-fitting godet skirt with a tailored jacket became elegant and sophisticated everyday clothing.

► Bolero

The Bolero was brand new on the catwalks. The short, round-cut jacket was particularly popular in combination with wide Marlene trousers. The godet skirt was also often worn with a bolero.

► Princess dress

The most popular form of dress in the 1930s was the princess dress. This long, narrow dress with the typical longitudinal seam on the front and back emphasized the silhouette.

► Evening dresses

Pure elegance - the elegant robes mostly reached to the floor and had a high empire waist. The looks were made from soft, flowing fabrics such as silk or tulle. The cutouts were overall subtle and were mostly covered with lace inserts.

► Emphasis on the shoulders

The shoulders as a statement - in the course of the 30s it was en vogue to give the soft silhouettes a little more edge. Shoulder pads emphasized the shoulder area, which the designers also adorned with accessories, making them even more pretentious.

► Not to forget: the dirndl

Who would have known? Around 1930 the dirndl experienced a real hype. The dirndl became popular through the operetta "Im Weißen Rössl" and not least through the townspeople who went to the mountains to relax. They were enthusiastic about the traditional costume looks and accordingly bought dresses with traditional costume elements or very elegant dirndls. The dirndl trend also caused a sensation in the USA.

Must-haves: the accessories

► Fur / fur stole

The "fox" around the shoulders was part of typical street style - and not just in winter. Fur effectively completed every outfit - in the evening as a stole - and from the perspective of that time exuded a touch of luxury in an economically difficult time.

► Pearl necklace

The pearl necklace could not be missing for the finishing touches of an elegant overall ensemble. It also symbolized prosperity and noble chic.

► hat

Strikingly designed hats with feathers and brooches - that's how people liked to be seen. Narrow plate hats with or without a lace veil were equally popular.

► Nylon / Perlon tights

With the invention of nylon, pantyhose experienced a hype. Transparent hosiery made ankles, ankles and the whole leg an eye-catcher.

► Style & make-up

The hair was worn longer again and styled into elaborate wavy hairstyles, preferably in trendy blonde. The focus of makeup was on emphasizing the eyes. Heavily washed eyelashes and eyeshadows intensified the look. The particularly narrow eyebrows are particularly characteristic. Many women shaved off their natural brows completely and then traced them as a narrow crescent moon.

Your 30ies style - Do's & Don'ts.


• Princess dress, Marlene trousers plus blouse, godet skirt plus bolero
• Nylon, Perlon tights
• Also emphasize the waist with a belt
• Add on: hat with veil, small bag
• Porcelain complexion, eyeshadow up to the brow, false eyelashes & a full kissable mouth


• No straight cuts, no A-lines
• No wide maxi skirts
• No deep necklines
• Do not visually shorten the legs

Is that your style Then have fun putting together your 30ies outfit.