The styles of the day were inspired by necessity, but they had their own elegance and charm.
Women wore patterned dresses, often floral or plaid, sometimes made from feed sack material, but any fabric was game for a new project. These could be any kind of print and often had some kind of trim or special buttons to make a day dress work for special occasions as well. Collars and sleeves were often the focus as additions that required significantly more fabric (like to the bodice) were often out of the question.
Buying brand new was often out of reach for families during the Depression, so the second-hand clothing market was doing a booming business during the ’30s.
Every scrap was re-used so clothing was sometimes patched with unusual fabric and a girl’s dress might be made from one her mother wore through and then sized down for her.
Since stockings were hard to get and keep mended many women wore socks, even with heels or in the dead of winter.
Hand-knitted items were particularly popular as they could be made at home from relatively cheap materials. In many families these items were worn until they were literally falling apart, having been mended again and again.
It wasn’t easy, but they made it work and even made fashionable clothing when the materials were available. For a woman determined to clothe her family, materials were the only obstacle. As long as you had the fabric, you could make it work. If you liked this then click here to read about Depression-era life hacks.