July 1935


If you're wanting to delve into vintage fashion or lifestyle, I can't recommend authentic period publications enough. There are many lovely books out there about vintage, but they can so often unintentionally date themselves. For instance I'm usually not a fan of books and t.v. shows from the 80s that portray vintage, because the quality, presentation, and hair and eyebrows (yes eyebrows) are a distraction that the particular publication or entertainment was obviously made in the 80s. In 10/15 years the same will be said about the way we portray vintage. So rather than look to people like me, or books and films written now, I suggest you find some fashion inspiration from the period(s) you are interested in. Just because that dress on Etsy is listed as 1940s doesn't necessarily mean it is. If you want to be knowledgeable about vintage, and be able to easily tell if that blouse is from the mid 30s, not late 30s, find magazines, catalogues, and dated photographs. They really are helpful! 

(Of course I do have favorite period specific books and t.v. shows, but I'll share those a different day)

I found this magazine today, and while I don't wear much 30s, I think it was one of the most underrated and prettiest eras of fashion. To my delight there were not only images, but a description of the changing fashions of 1935. It's something I hope you enjoy, and may be especially helpful to those of you who sell vintage, as the 30s can sometimes be a little tricky to date. 


"We thought we ought to warn you-fashions are changing and we want to be sure our readers aren't taken unawares. There's no great mystery about this fashion business, you know. New fashions don't spring full blown out of the heads of designers. Nor are they created suddenly out of boredom or spite. They evolve gradually. They change slowly just as you do, as the seasons do. And with just cause.

The first thing to know is that there are just to basic silhouettes. One fits into an inverted triangle, that is, one with its apex down. That is the one that we have had for the last four years. Our skirts are narrow, with little of interest about them. The interest is centered above the waistline. Big sleeves, high necklines, collars and scarves and bows and big buttons keep it there. The second silhouette fits into a triangle standing on its base. Skits are wide with lots of pleats and gathers and gores and borders, bodices are simple with low necklines, often collarless. 

Now we are in a transition period, tending toward the silhouette wide at the bottom. How do we know? Because-and this is the second thing to remember-changes occur first in evening fashions, and our evening fashions indicate this change, plainly, to the open-eyed. 

If you've been watching you've noticed that many evening necklines are lower. There are even decolletages cut into deep squares and V's back and front. And necklines that are cut straight across, camisole fashion, and held up by straps. You've also noticed the width of evening skirts. They swoop out into great circles with ruffles and pleatings at the hemline and, most significant of all, some are uneven and curve up in front. 

We've now gotten to the point where even daytime skirts are coming under influence. The ones that are straight and slim have slits at the sides or scalloped edges or borders of shirring, cording, pleating, fringing, tucking. But these newest ones of all are the wide ones. 

We need not view with alarm this coming change in fashions. It will not go to ungainly extremes. Knees will not come out in the open. Waistlines are very, very, slightly below normal. This is a young silhouette, and free  and gay and comfortable one. With it, we will want to have a clean, freshly scrubbed look. Cut off your tight little curls and wear your hair free and short with a natural (or near natural as possible) wave."

{Ruth Seder}

 Delineator, July 1935




Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Lovely, Solanah, thanks for sharing this. I love the mention of a mullet skirt!

Vic A. Lee said...

I concur wholeheartedly! I often find that many things that are labeled as "vintage" are very misleading: they turn out to be something completely different to what I was seeking. Thank you for this post; I learned a lot!

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Anonymous said...

What a lovely post & a great find! I love the bit about the hair style at the end..."cut off your tight little curls & wear your hair free and short with a natural (or near natural as possible) wave." All of the drawings are so wonderful. I always feel that 1930's style is more suited for a taller gal than myself, although I haven't tried.


Think Twice Style said...

I love the line, "Knees will not come out in the open." Magazines today just don't write things this beautiful!

J. MacIsaac Studios said...

Where do you find such articles? So fun!

Witchcrafted Life said...

Excellent post and point. I too believe that there is nothing quite like studying magazines, books, photos and films from a particular era to truly gain the deepest of knowledge about it. The longer (and more often) one does so, the more they develop that innate ability to look at a vintage piece (be it a garment or whatever type of item interests them) and confidently know when (at least approximately) it dates from, and also how to combine it (if so desired) with other pieces that it would have once partnered with back in the day.

♥ Jessica

Mid Century Pink said...

Great post! As a "newbie" to vintage this is a great reminder to seek out authentic articles and photographs for much of my inspiration.

Solanah said...

Vintagelovinggal Same here, sometimes I just look a little shorter than usual in 30s!

Frocks and Frivolities, Anywhere from antique stores, or online.

Shelly said...

Excellent post making a valid point on how to date vintage. Such information can be hard to find. I particularly like the last paragraph. Thanks for sharing.

Sabrina said...

"It will not go to ungainly extremes. Knees will not come out in the open."
Ha!, I say. Ha! Love it.
I love '30s so much, and these pictures are brilliant!

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I love vintage magazines and books that show old magazine ads and articles because they are the real deal. Not only do you see what the real trends and fashions were like but they often told you how they were created and what the people of the time had at their disposal and what was just Hollywood representation of what they had...the movies of today don't really represnet real peoples lives, clothes, bodies and hair. Thanks for sharing these pickies with us. xx Shauna

Alli said...

Happy new year Solanah!
I love 30s fashion....so sleek and gorgeous. I love looking at pictures of my Non in this era (she was in her 20s back then)....she looked gorgeous in these styles. Great article....I loved reading it :)

vintagevisions27 said...

I love the 1930s and agree they are often underrated. This is a great post, nothing beats period resources! Thanks for sharing.

Nomad said...

Beautiful pictures - very interesting reading :) x

RetroJetGirl said...

I love that one of the models is Asian (in the red & white dress)

I never used to like 30's, but it's growing on me as an era. The first striped dress reminds me of peppermint candy.

Erika said...

Totally agrees, nothing like looking at period images for getting the "feel" of a period and learn to recognize general traits.

Sometimes it can very hard to track down originals though, maybe not in the glorious land of vintage, aka USA =), but in Sweden period magazines are a bit rare and often expensive. I bought a couple of books with a zillion images from the Sears catalogs, which combined with the internet and the few period magazines I've invested in, has served me quite well. After all, it's still period images, just reprinted and more easily available!

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to get my hands on a publication like this for the early 40s! What a great find. I definitely agree that the best way to be authentic is buy things like this! Thanks for sharing :)

Sarah Dee said...

That was so fun to read :)

x missdottidee.blogspot.com

Paronomazje said...

The red&white dresses sketch - so sexy and chique!

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Wow, what a great article and piece of history. Thanks for sharing, especially all the lovely pictures too!