Fashion of the 1930s was directly influenced by the great Wall Street Crash and the depression that the crash caused. The crash also directed the beginning of the decade saw women sewing more and clothing was mended and patched before being replaced which meant less ready-to-wear garments were purchased.
The entertainment industry continued to exert a strong influence over fashion. Movies were one of the few escapes from the harsh reality of the Depression. Movie star endorsements of styles and accessories became common, especially with evening wear. A popular formal look was the empire-waist gown, with ties at the back, and exaggerating the look with butterfly or large, puffy sleeves. Hemlines fell at the ankle and trains added a further formal touch. Bows were another popular accent.
Fur of all kinds was worn extensively during this era, both during the day and at night. Fur capes, coats, stoles wraps, accessories and trimmings adorned women’s dresses. Pelts in demand were sable, mink, chinchilla, Persian lamb and silver fox.
Women’s sportswear was influenced by a more masculine style. Sport suits, leather jackets and middy slacks became popular. The cloche hat was replaced by the beret which was worn at an angle. Pill boxes became popular along with brimmed hats.
Washable, easy-care fabrics were introduced during this decade. The first openly synthetic fibres were developed in the 1930s. In 1935 the DuPont de Nemours Company successfully synthesized nylon. Nylon was introduced in stockings during 1939 but its use in fashion was interrupted by World War II which meant the use of the synthetic fibre was not widespread until after the war.