The 1930s Party Outfits

By Beverley Lee

Hollywood glamor dominated in the 1930s. Fred and Ginger danced across the cinema screens and parties were common. Gangsters ruled and the Burlesque was introduced. If you want a 1930s theme for your party, you can buy vintage clothes or copies of them. Men will find it reasonably easy to rent the right clothes, as they are still available.

Glamorous clothes were common at 1930s parties.

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Dresses were cut on the bias (cut diagonally to the fabric's weave) to make them flow. These were generally tight fitting to the hips, with a waist and then looser to the ankle to allow movement. The dresses, made of satin, crepe and chiffon, showed off a woman's figure and often had low backs or halter necks. Women wore low heeled shoes to match. Fur stoles and long velvet gloves to the elbow added to the outfit. Short and wavy hairstyles were usual in the 1930s. These types of clothes can be rented or bought from vintage shops so you can replicate the look for a 1930s party.


Feathers and basques were worn at the Burlesque.

Burlesque was introduced to the theater in the 1930s. It contains comic skits and humor based on innuendo. Women stripped without their bodies actually being seen, using fans and other accessories. Wearing bright-colored basques with feathers on them and in their hair with stockings and suspenders, the women of Burlesque became very popular. It was banned in the late 1930s but has had a recent resurgence. These outfits would work for a 1930s party as they are especially colorful and vibrant and show off your figure.

Men's Clothes

The tuxedo was popular in the 1930s as were tailcoats and top hat. Tuxedos are still worn now for formal events so are easily obtained. Top hat and tails are generally worn at weddings nowadays and can be rented. White jackets were also popular in the 1930s with black trousers and a cummerbund. Men wore black ties and very shiny black shoes with these suits.

Gangster Outfit

Dress as a gangster for a 1930s party.

The 1930s had a plethora of now well-known gangsters such as Al Capone, John Dillinger and even Clyde Barrow. Their clothes were more ostentatious, with fitted double-breasted striped suits, wide ties, braces and black and white lace-up shoes. These suits would make attractive 1930s party outfits. Along with a Trilby hat you would look very smart and very 1930s. They can be rented or found in secondhand shops.