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Make me a… 1930’s Satin Beauty September 25, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Vintage.
Tags: , , , , ,

The second in my series helping modern girls to wear the fashions of their ancestors, this week I address the exciting and tumultuous period of the 1930’s. These will contain clothes (both vintage, vintage inspired and direct repro), makeup and more, to help you achieve that distinctly vintage fashion style!

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This week  I tackle the satin and fur clad 1930’s, a period that is heading back into fashion at high speed.

The 1930’s evening wear produced some of the most iconic looks of the 20th century. The day clothes were wonderful too (just watch atonement if you need proof), but the 1930’s evening gowns are where us modern girls can have the most fun. Traditionally the style suits curveless girls (Keira Knightly looks stunning in anything 1930’s!), but I believe it can be adapted and converted to let any girls have a go.

The dress is always the obvious place to start. Evening gowns in 1930’s fashion often involved delicate lace (hard to find as vintage now due to the fragile nature of the fabric), satin and silk – luxury was high despite the economic difficulties of the time. If you do have the right slender form and the money to invest in a true vintage piece, there are some treasures out there – this incredible vintage beaded dresscould be yours for a depressing $625! If you don’t want to sell your soul for a dress, however, there a few things to remember. First off, traditional halter necks are a great look, as is bias cut. Anything in satin too will look great, and a long satin nightdress can happily be turned into a 1930’s evening gown!

Beaded 1930's fashion bias cut dress

Beaded 1930's fashion bias cut dress

Going reproduction is a more affordable way to buy, and means that you can find dresses in modern dimensions. Following our 1930’s SS Atlantica extravaganza, we have found that this Ghost dress is a great 1930’s look alike 🙂 This dress makes a frequent occurence on eBay, so if this one is sold try searching for another.

Ghost 1930's style Satin Dress

Ghost 1930's style Satin Dress

Elegant evening gown out of the way, we can start thinking about the accessories. As art deco was very much in fashion around this time, we can happily get either vintage or modern jewellery that will suit the angular stylized look. Generally silver toned looks best for this era, but you can branch out and go with a more modern version to update the 1930’s look. If you want to go all out then the era leans itself towards intricate diamond numbers, but otherwise French connection offer a modern art deco necklace that can jazz up your dress. This green drop necklace, too, is a beautiful satin friendly necklace that comes from the 1920’s but matches perfectly with 1930’s fashion.

French Connection Art Deco Necklace

French Connection Art Deco Necklace

Green 1920's vintage green glass necklace

Green 1920's vintage green glass necklace

Finally, you need a stole of some description, or a feather boa. I know that whilst I don’t have a problem with vintage fur, many people do, so I will stick with faux fur reproductions. If you do want a vintage one, however, you will have to be willing to wear the fur that they wore back then, as faux fur wasn’t available. This white stole will suit any number of dresses (add an art deco clasp), and give you that vintage vibe. 
1930's style vintage white faux fur stole

1930's style vintage white faux fur stole

 Finally, lets address 1930’s makeup. If you are going for a vintage look, the makeup is the one part that probably should be updated to the 21st Century, except for the modern brushes and suppliers that we will use. Keep it surprisingly simple, focussing in on the eyes and again on the bowed lips. Rouge came into fashion in this era (just a little!), whilst eye makeup stayed dark, and aimed for a deep set look. again, no eye liner was used, apart from to smudge under the eyes. To go all out wear this look with actually finger waved or pin curled hair (the internet is full of tutorials), or add a modern twist with a funky up-to-date hair style.

Real 1930's makeup

Real 1930's makeup



1. Diana - September 27, 2009

That era had some beautiful styles. I love the green necklace!

Lauren Cooke - September 28, 2009

It is so pretty isn’t it. I often think the 30’s get overlooked, which is a real shame!

2. makemeadiva - September 27, 2009

I have a 1930s bash to go to and am grateful to your blog for some helpful hints – given that I do not sport a 1930s chassis or jewelled purse!

Lauren Cooke - September 28, 2009

Hi Makemeadiva – glad it could help, as I found there wasn’t huge amount out there when I was doing the same. Let me know if you have any other questions, my freinds and I are experts now!

3. Rebecca - April 18, 2010

I’m getting married in September. Any advice on a source for 1930’s style bias cut gowns? Preferably budget friendly (under $1000)


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