Party Dress Styles of the 30s

Written by tiffany bennett
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Party Dress Styles of the 30s
(General Photographic Agency/Valueline/Getty Images)

As the late 1920s gave way to the Great Depression, women's dress styles shifted from luxurious to simple, more affordable styles. However, the women of the day still dressed up for parties and special events.

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While the 1920s emphasised short haircuts and boyish figures, the dresses of the 1930s were notably more feminine. Most dresses featured snug waistlines with gathers or pleats around the hips and darts to emphasise the chest. While many dresses reached mid-calf, formal dresses often had hemlines that touched the floor or formed a short train behind the dress.


The cut of party dresses from the 1930s also brought attention to the female physique. Low V-necks revealed more cleavage than previous decades considered acceptable, and many dresses were backless. Sleeveless dresses were fashionable, as were puffed or flowing sleeves.

Colours and Patterns

Popular dress colours of the decade included black, red, white and navy blue. Other party dresses showed off bold fabric patterns. More expensive dresses were often accented with bows or flowers placed at the waist, hip, back or neckline.

Famous Styles

Famous styles included the Trousseau, a popular V-neck dress. The 1930s fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet is credited with popularising the crosscut, bias style, which was popular among many actresses of the day.

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