Hello dearies! Can you believe that Christmas is only 10 days away? I am so excited! Not only for the celebration of our dear Savior’s birth, but for this upcoming week! Starting today, we’re going to be encouraging you all to dress up a little for Christmas by taking a look at the vintage eras, and how girls dressed back then, not only for the Winter, but for the wonderful Holiday season that is upon us. Shall we start with the 1930’s? Let’s go!
All of these inspirational images are from a 1939 vintage Glamour magazine, and a mid 1930’s Sears & Roebuck’s catalog. Starting with the top two images from the Glamour magazine, we see that towards the end of the 1930’s we have a flared silhouette, with pleated or gored skirts, and slim fitting tops being popular. Smart little jackets had their heyday in this year, as you can see in the cute little bolero jackets and cropped sweaters above.
In the mid 1930’s (the images starting with the Sears & Roebuck’s catalog cover), you can see that the slim silhouette was all the rage. Cozy wool knit sets such as those seen in picture 4 with a blouson top and a snug fitting skirt were typical of the winter wear of the era. Broad shoulders with slim bottoms was the silhouette of the day, and warm wintery colors, such as Rust, Hunter Green, Royal Blue, and Wine were worn. Velveteen was another cozy material that was worn, and conjures to my mind images of Christmas garb from days gone by, velvet always being associated in my mind with the Christmas season and the lovely little Church dresses we would wear at that time.
Necklines were high, and the reverse of suit and jacket collars were wide. Skirts with offset buttons and closings were popular, and the hemline moved up and down between mid-calf and about 2 inches below the knee. Scarves were a good way to accessorize the necklines of this era, and would keep the wearer warm and fashionable.
Another wintery style from the 30’s is that of the ski slopes, which seemed to have been influencing winter fashion since around the 1920’s. Picture in your mind slacks such as those seen just above, with gathered cuffs, paired with a plaid flannel shirt, or a cute knitted sweater and you get the general idea. You can see more of this style of winter fashion on our How We Wear Vintage for the Holidays board.
So, to sum all of this up: In the mid 1930’s, the popular silhouette was a broad-shouldered, elongated look. Fabrics were wool, wool knit, and velveteen, among others. The fashions of the Ski slopes had some influence on what was worn in the winter time, specifically in sweater fashions. Plaid and stripes seem to be common patterns that were worn, and would be perfect for the Christmas season. In the later 30’s the broad-shouldered look still persevered, but the slim, long silhouette was traded out for a flared skirt, which would lead into the fashion silhouette of the 1940’s. Smart toppers such as boleros and cropped sweaters were popular, and a good way to broaden your wardrobe. Colors were Rust, Wine, Hunter Green, Royal Blue and Brown.
The outfit on the left was inspired by the ski fashions with it’s cute reindeer sweater. I added a skirt to make it more ladylike, though you could add wide legged pants and still get quite a cute look. Galoshes similar to the boots in the outfit were popular in the wintertime, so they seemed the perfect shoe to add to the outfit. If you wanted to make this outfit more dressy you could add the bakelite bangle and glass bead necklace from Chronically Vintage.
The outfit on the right is for a slightly more formal Christmas occasion such as a family dinner, or even a Christmas eve party. Cowl necks were one of the necklines worn in the 1930’s, so this white cowl-necked sweater seemed like a good top to start with. As I said before, velvet always brings Christmas to mind for me, so a wine colored velvet skirt was an absolute must. The shoes are nice and practical, while still being very fashionable, and have a silhouette similar to shoes worn in the 30’s and 40’s. I actually found a pair almost identical in one of the Sears & Roebucks catalog reprint books I have! To accessorize, I added this wonderful authentic 1930’s necklace from Hollie Point Vintage, and some earrings from Chronically Vintage. Although they aren’t quite authentic to the era, I thought the earrings would add a nice touch of completeness to the outfit.
My outfit, if you can’t tell, was inspired by the ski fashions of the era. The wide leg pants with the cable sweater give off the effect of the ski look, without me wearing full-on ski attire. The beret and scarf finish off the outdoor style, while the sweet little Bobby Pin from Lilla Rose adds a touch of Christmasy glimmer to the outfit.
Before I sign off, I thought I would tell you all a few fun facts about some Christmas traditions that were started in the 1930’s.
- The practice of buying Christmas trees at a farm, rather than going out in the woods and cutting one down yourself began in the 1930’s.
- The typical jolly old Saint Nick image that most of us grew up with (never allowed to believe in mind you) was created by artist Haddon Sundblom in 1931 for Coca Cola.
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was introduced as a marketing scheme by Robert L. May for Montgomery Ward.
- Leaving out cookies for Santa was started in the 1930’s as a way of parents encouraging their children to share with others.
- The Friday after Thanksgiving was finally grounded as the beginning of Holiday Sales campaigns in the 1930’s, becoming what we know today as Black Friday.