1930s Costume Ideas


In the 1930s, the world was in the throes of a Great Depression, but people sought solace at the movies, where relatively new talking pictures offered glamor and escape. Aviators such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart also captured the public's imagination. For 1930s costume ideas, turn to the picture shows and the newsreels -- and maybe even the funny papers -- for inspiration.

Soaring to New Heights: Lindbergh and Earhart

Celebrate Charles Lindbergh's 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, as well as his later accomplishments, or Amelia Earhart's own 1932 solo flight, by dressing as a 1930s aviator. Male or female costumes can include a flight suit, leather jacket, leather flight helmet and goggles. Accessorize with boots, mail bag and a dashing scarf.

Dancing With the Stars: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

America's most famous dancing couple made 10 movie musicals together, including Top Hat, Swing Time and Shall We Dance? Put on your dancing shoes and dress like the debonair Astaire and the graceful Rogers: dapper suit, bow tie and slicked-back hair for him, bias-cut, sequin-accented floor-length gown for her.

Glamor Queens

1927's "The Jazz Singer" paved the way for more talking pictures, and audiences were captivated by glamor queens including Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard and Bette Davis. After the 1920s' boyish looks, women turned to more figure-fitting dresses and gowns. For Hollywood glamor, wear a bias-cut, low-backed gown in slinky satin and drape yourself in (faux) fur. Put your hair in a wavy bob or chignon, and pluck your brows to a thin, high arch. For a touch of '30s authenticity, do your manicure just on the centers of your nails, leaving a half moon at both the bottom and the tip.

At the Movies: Not in Kansas Anymore

Two 1930s movies instantly recognizable in any era are [The Wizard of Oz](http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4171082752/tt0032138?ref=tt_ovi) and Gone With the Wind, both from 1939. Dress as Dorothy in blue pinafore and hair bow -- and of course the ruby red slippers -- or as the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow or even the Good Witch or the Wicked Witch. Be a Southern belle in Scarlett O'Hara's bottle green gown made from Miss Ellen's curtains for a "Gone With the Wind" tribute. For a child's costume, channel Shirley Temple; with her blond ringlets, petticoats and pinafores, the Good Ship Lollipop star won hearts and became a part of the pop culture of the time.

See You in the Funny Papers

Another child star was in the movies a couple of times in the 1930s and more recently, but is most recognizable in the newspaper comics where she began as Little Orphan Annie. Dress as Annie in red shirtwaist dress with white cuffs and collar -- add a red beret if you like for a 1930s touch -- and of course, wear a curly red wig.

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