FASHION IN THE 1930s

In the 1930s, the straight chemise, so popular throughout the Twenties, was belted once again, and lengthened. It began to hug the body and ripple with its movements. Dresses were cut on the bias so that they clung to and moved with the body. These designs required very lightweight fabrics such as crepes and lighter satins–very elegant fabrics indeed.

Sport dressing became even more popular in the Thirties. A wonderful example of a wool jersey bathing suit survived in the shop from 1930. Patterned with contrasting yellow and green areas, the suit has a felt jacket and huge straw hat to match, with huge modern flowers in felt trimming both jacket and hat. These modern motifs in bright, sunfilled colors borrowed in color and scale from art South of the Border reflect the habits of the Tirocchi clients, who went off to their beach houses in the summer or to the Caribbean in the winter.

A group of evening dresses found in the shop brings to mind the same idea of woman in motion. A handful of long, wide-skirted, narrow-waisted, colorful gowns of chiffon and other lightweight materials fairly scream "tango," instantly bringing to mind the South American dances popular in the mid-thirties. Elaborately cut satin evening dresses, from another cache of gowns, epitomize the streamlined design of the era.

Reflecting Thirties’ streamlined design, as well as women’s new freedom to wear trousers, is a pair of "pajamas" purchased with its own white sweater and white jacket from a New York supplier. The bell-bottomed pants and sweater were found in the shop, but the jacket was no longer there, perhaps sold separately when the entire outfit did not move.

Despite the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Tirocchis’ business remained strong into the early 1930s. Customers continued to order sport dressing, evening gowns, afternoon dresses, and wool suits, but as the years went on they placed fewer orders, and many of them were forced by circumstance to quit the shop. At the end of the decade, there were half as many customers as at the beginning.

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