ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fashion History - Ladies' Spring Hats and Jackets in the 1930s

Updated on January 8, 2019
Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores's interest in fashion history dates from her teenage years when vintage apparel was widely available in thrift stores.

This 1932 issue of Ladies' Home Journal presented articles, stories, and opinion pieces for its middle class readers. Well into the Great Depression, women's fashion had become more conservative than in the past. The economic crisis introduced a new concern for a simplified life style that was reflected in the cut of clothing as well as in materials used to create clothing.

Women's fashions of the 1930s offered a more mature look than in past decades. The girls of the Roaring Twenties had grown up, married, and were having children.

Due to the Great Depression (a world wide economic crisis) most families were on a tight budget. In the United States, the unemployment rate was 24% and those who kept their jobs saw their earnings greatly reduced. The world of fashion followed the general trend of the day. Outfits, then referred to as costumes, were simplified and economy was a buzz word.

Quite a few of the fashion articles described sewing patterns. The articles that featured ladies' hats contained an address - you could send away for free instructions on how to make each hat.

Fashion Changes in the Early 1930s

The androgynous look of the 1920s was, by 1932, passe. Gone was the drop waist and tubular look of Jazz Age fashion. Waistlines rose, shoulders widened. and skirts narrowed. A tailored look was in vogue, a mannish style perhaps, but with feminine touches like scarves, fabric flowers, bows, and nipped-in waists. Molded hip lines added a feminine look. Scarves were tied like large bows for a softening effect.

Cotton was taken out of the kitchen and into the streets. Where cotton once appeared only in house-dresses, work clothes, and aprons, by 1932 cotton showed up in dresses, blouses, and hats. One fashion article proclaimed that "nothing is smarter than cotton."

In 1932 dresses were called "frocks." Something cheerful was referred to as "gay." And the word "furbelows" was often used to indicate ruffles or trim.

Ladies' Jackets in Spring 1932

Jackets made for a neat tailored look and could be worn with a skirt and blouse or a frock. Hems fell to mid-calf length. One could mix and match by adding scarves, gloves, and a variety of blouses to stretch the clothing budget.

Tailored jackets appeared in several styles and lengths including boxy, bellhop, short and flared at the waist, fitted and belted. A straight short jacket was said to add a youthful appearance. A longer jacket was (as it is today) slimming.

Jacket fabrics came in soft, draped woolens; rough silks, and cottons that came in ribbed, mesh, coarse, nubby, or fine weaves.

Of course all well dressed women wore gloves and a hat for a complete fashion statement.

Dress shoes sported a chunky heel and slightly rounded toes (unlike in the first illustration) in a pump or tied styles. Dancing shoes featured cut-outs and peep toes.

Color came with blouses which appeared in a rainbow of hues. Skirts and jackets came in muted colors so were easy to mix and match. The new form fitting look replaced the loose, straight look of the 1920s.

Tailored look of 1932
Tailored look of 1932 | Source

Magazine Illustration 1932

As you can see, magazine illustration has come a long way since the 1930s. In 1932, most of the images were sketches. Very few fashion models appeared in actual photographs. Color was limited due to the expense and most illustrations were in black and white. Color images appeared in only a few tones.

The illustration above features a very short jacket and a high waisted skirt.


The double-breasted jacket above is long for a slimming effect and features wide lapels.

A jaunty scarf adds a touch of femininity to the tailored look of the suit.

The hat is quite similar to the cloche hat of the 1920s but has a tiny brim turned up in the back and down in the front.


In this illustration, we see a jacket and hat made of a nubby fabric. The jacket is short with short sleeves for Spring. It is short waisted, double breasted and features a wide high waisted belt.

The hat is crowned with a pom-pom and more resembles today's winter hat than something you would wear in Spring.

Both hat and jacket are made of blue terry cloth.


Hats in 1932

Hats were similar to the cloche hats that were so popular in the 1920s. By 1932, small brims had been added. Some hats featured sharp brims. A few brimless hats were very small and perched high on top of the head.

The copy accompanying some of these hats suggested that you could make one of the hats in an hour! One had only to send a 2 cent stamp to Susan Ross at the LHJ and she would send you the simple instructions for free!


The jaunty beret and scarf feature a diagonal stripe. Diagonal stripes and patterns appeared in many of the fashion illustrations of the day.

The film below offers a glimpse into the design world of The Great Depression and includes images of buildings, hats, clothing, shoes, and jewelry. Hollywood stars depict the popular view of glamor.

For Further Reading

1930s Fashion:The Definitive Sourcebook by Charlotte Fell

Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in the Sears Catalog by Stella Blum

Fashions of the 1930s: 476 Authentic Copyright Free Illustrations by Carol Bellinger Grafton

Elegance in the Age of Crisis: Fashion of the 1930s by Patricia Mears

Fashion of a Decade: The 1930s by Maria Constantino


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)