Women's fashions for wedding dresses in the 1930s

Written by jennifer elrod
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Women's fashions for wedding dresses in the 1930s
Vintage wedding dresses have their own unique charm. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The 1930s were a time of economic hardships for the majority of people. The Great Depression hit America hard. Many people lost their jobs, and some even lost their homes. Getting married during that time meant you had less money to spend on your wedding. People cut corners where they could. Wedding dresses were more simple compared to other decades. Some women even made their own handmade wedding dress. The 1930s were a very interesting fashion era for the wedding dress.

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Wedding Dress Skirt Styles

The wedding dress skirt style changed from the popular "mini-skirt" style of the 1920s. The length of the 1930s dresses were longer, and often hit at the knee or at the floor. It was also quite common to see a higher waist line on wedding dresses. The skirts were not full from petticoats. Instead, skirts were more fitted and clung to the bride. Some skirts had the "mermaid" effect where the fabric spreads out at the floor, but clings to the hips and legs.

Wedding Dress Necklines and Sleeves

The necklines of the 1930s were simple. They either came up to the collarbone and completely covered the chest, or they had a modest V-neck cut. There was not a lot of detail or ornate decoration to the necklines. Sleeves were also designed rather simply. If the dress had sleeves at all, they were either in a capped sleeve design, or a very long sleeve. Many dresses had sleeves that were gathered and tighter fitting at the elbow or wrist. This created a slight "puff" effect in the sleeves.

Types of Materials Used

The materials used to make wedding dresses during the 193's were simple. Silk and satin were readily available and often used to make wedding dresses. Man made synthetics, such as nylon, hadn't been invented yet, so natural materials were used. Silk fabrics were made from the protein extracts produced by silk worms. Satin fabrics were often created using silk. Brides wore pure white or ivory coloured wedding dresses, a tradition that is still common today.

Hair Pieces

Hair pieces were common in the 1930s. Often, brides wore chic hats instead of veils. Hats ranged from large to small brimmed white hats. The hats were simple with little to no ornate design. Jewelled bands, feather and flower headbands and lacy headdresses were a common substitute to hats. A band would wrap around the bride's head to add a special touch to the overall look of the bride.

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