So most of you know the reason behind the naming of this site… If you don’t then it’s named after my great-grandmother who owned her very own dress making shop in the 1930s. Pretty fantastic achievement I think for a mother and wife in the 30s to be able to get the backing and have the business know how to set up her own shop. A real inspiration 🙂 I am trying to find out as much as I can about her and the shop, however things are a little slow in coming. However I am hoping that this half term I will get to see some pictures, provided by my lovely Grandma, of her beautiful designs. As soon as I get them I will post them up.
So what would Olive have been making for the ladies of Benfleet and Leigh on Sea, Essex in the 1930s?……….
The 1930s had two sides, there was the Hollywood Glamour with the likes of the beautiful Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis. The gorgeous elongated, figure skimming floor length gowns flashed across the newspapers and magazines of the time. The showing of the first bit of shoulder and even halter neck and backless numbers provided eye catching wear for the rich and famous.
Alternatively we must remember that this was an era between two world wars and one that followed the stock market crash of 1929! Women had to show some constraint!!
None the less fashion blossomed in the 1930s with its own distinctive styles, just like any other era. What sticks out most to me is the clarification between day wear and evening wear which came with the fashions of this era. Women became liberated from the constraints of corsets and were instead able to embrace the “sportier look.” Sporting activities became more becoming for the ladies as designs allowed for greater movement and freedom. The era became epitomised by Coco Channel’s wool jersey fabric two piece suits, again seen as a sign that fashion was relaxing its constraint on the ladies and becoming more wearable. Flared sleeves matched the beautifully long evening gowns which were copied by ladies up and down the country and I imagine a style that Olive may have made. Geometric prints and art deco patterns continued into the 1930s appearing on blouses, scarves and dresses.
I imagine Olive embraced all the trends, just as we do today when trying to pick out or design ourselves a new outfit. Her outlook I’m sure within her designs though would have been highly practical designing day wear for the every day lady, meeting her busy needs. Skirts with wedge cut pleats was a must have and one that I am sure Olive designed for many ladies at the time.
For more information in on the 1930s pick up any good vintage fashion book they are sure to include a chapter on eras. I found lots of my information from the Vintage Fashion Sourcebook. It’s a really easy read and great for creating key looks but it also shows you where to find clothes to suit that look.
I look forward to sharing with you original photos of Olive’s designs as soon as Grandma lays her hands on them 🙂
Happy Vintage Hunting… and let me know about your 1930s finds your fashions inspired by this era…