The Bay to Birdwood is the largest continually-held motoring event for veteran, vintage and classic vehicles anywhere in the world. This iconic Australian event has a history spanning back to 1980, and is one of the very few events of it’s type to incorporate a fashions element in the vehicle judging, as well as including a fashions parade as a part of the public entertainment program on the day.
Long-time fashions partner, Cassablanca once again presents “Fashions in the Field” at this year’s event, and this is the second article in a series intended to guide entrants on how to create the authentic look, that the judges will be looking out for.
In this article, we take a look at the 1930’s, a period when the world was recovering from one World War, and heading for a second.
It was a time of change, particularly with women’s fashion, where styles took on a more figure flattering form, and casual clothing started to become popular, reflecting a trend to a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Men’s fashion continued to evolve slowly, and the styles of the 1920’s carried forward to the 1930’s, but as with women’s fashion, more casual styles started to be featured.
The 1930’s also saw the birth and rise of ready to wear clothing and the production of cheaper, man-made fabrics. Fashion was now available to most not just the privileged few and it was beautifully designed, cut and made.
The 30s was and is still seen by many as the ‘Decade of design’ and saw many technological advances and changes in attitude towards design as a profession. This clearly had an influence on fashion during this time – as clothes for all classes became an outward expression
Creating The “Look”
As with earlier periods, 1930’s clothing is not easy to find, but thankfully, for women at least, a number of boutique brands like “Stop Staring!“, are now producing authentic reproductions from the era, that when accessorised correctly, can be used to create that period-correct look.
For women, there are many scenarios that can be re-created. We must remember that this was a period that saw women entering the workforce in great numbers, and they wanted practical fashion that was still stylish and feminine. As such, it is fairly easy to use more modern items like silk or chiffon blouses, calf-length pleated skirts, puff sleeved tea dresses and so on, to recreate the styles of the era. Don’t forget to add accessories like hats, scarves, gloves and low heeled shoes to get the look just right.
The growing focus on leisure activities saw the rise of the lounge pant and wide leg trouser into women’s wardrobes, and again, there are some very good reproductions available.
Of course, this was also the era of “Hollywood Glamour”, and the styles would be a great fit for a Duesenberg, Cadillac or Rolls-Royce entered in the Bay to Birdwood Concours.
For the gents, again, casual wear is appropriate alongside more formal suits with waistcoats, hats and ties, but if you’re matching the outfits to a vehicle, make sure the clothing matches the “class” of vehicle. Essentially, the higher the standard of the vehicle, the higher the standard of clothing and fashion styling.
Luckily, men’s fashion keeps cycling through the decades, so it’s actually quite easy to recreate a 1930’s look using more readily available 1990’s fashion.
Look out for pin-striped suits with pleated pants, make sure they’re at least one-size larger than you would wear, put cuffs on them, add a waistcoat, braces, a white shirt, tie, Fedora hat and a pair of brown or black brogues and that’s it.
If you need more information and ideas, we can highly recommend the website called the Vintage Dancer where you’ll find loads of information on re-creating both women’s and men’s outfits for any occasion.
As a final thought, avoid the temptation to purchase “fancy dress” costumes, as these are cheaply made, ill-fitting and most importantly, the judges will know it and adjust their scores accordingly.
Our next article will explore 1940’s fashions, and again, we’ll share hint’s and tips, as well as other resources to help you along!