The year of 1938 was a transition year between the Great Depression and the coming World War II. In fashion, life was looking cheerful with richer colors, slightly bigger floral prints, smaller hats, and charming footwear. Hemlines were rising from ankle high in the early 30s towards the knee length of the 1940s. Skirts were no longer only bias cut but also A-line, pleated, and flared. Just as skirts loosened, up so did shoulders, into the iconic puff sleeve. Shoulder pads were also introduced to add more drama up top and the illusion of a slimmer natural waistline. Shop 1930s style dresses.
Women’s 1938 coats were equally as colorful as dresses, and not just in spring. Winter coats came in bright hues of blue, green, burgundy, and yellow. Some had large fur collars, while most featured wide lapels that could be folded up around the neck. Hemlines covered most of the leg, but left enough of a view of her fabulous shoes! Shop 1930s style coats.
1930s shoes are some of my favorites. Heels were modest with full coverage of the vamp, all while having a sturdy yet slim high heel. Comfort shoes came in the form of the walking Oxford which had a lower heel but never flat. Oxfords and heels had cutouts, thick straps, big buckles, and perforations (small holes) which gave them variety and breathability in summer. Warmer weather saw the white summer shoe and sandal dominate fashion. Brightly colored sandals were popular beach shoes. Shop 1930s style shoes.
Women never left the house without a hat and coordinating gloves and purse. 1938 hats were had low round crowns and wide brims that often folded into irregular shapes. Trim was minimal: a small band, a single flower, a crisp feather. They were made of straw in summer, and felt in winter.
1930s Casual Clothes
While most women’s clothing involved wearing dresses, there were casual clothes for the leisure time too. Wide leg pants and a knit shirt were comfortable for just about any activity. In summer, a playsuit (dress over shorts) was a bit cooler. For something simple, a short sleeve blouse over a skirt said casual without dressing too “young.”
More about 1930s Women’s Fashion:
- 1930s Fashion for Women – An introduction to 1930 clothing styles for women.
- 1930s House Dresses – History of the house dress.
- 1930s Day or Afternoon Dresses – History and shopping guide to day to day dresses.
- Wide Leg Pants and Beach Pajamas – Where casual 30s style began.
- 1930s Womens Shoes – Learn about 1930s style shoes.
- Sweaters – History of women’s sweaters 1910-1930s.
- Where to buy repro 1930s dresses – shopping guide online.
- 1930s Jewelry Styles – Popular styles of 1930s jewelry
- 1930s Makeup – The best authentic vintage makeup guide.
- 1930s Swimsuits – Swimsuit history in Pictures.
- 1930s Sewing Patterns – Women’s Reproduction Sewing Patterns.
- 1930s Fashion Colors and Fabrics – A guide to 1930s women’s color and clothing materials.
- 1930s Handbags Fashion – History of 1930s purses and handbags.
Debbie Sessions has been teaching fashion history and helping people dress for vintage themed events since 2009. She has turned a hobby into VintageDancer.com with hundreds of well researched articles and hand picked links to vintage inspired clothing online. She aims to make dressing accurately (or not) an affordable option for all. Oh, and she dances too.