The unusual divergence between European and American clothes continued in the 1930s.
European boys wore shhort pants and keesocks as well as a variety of country specific styles
like kilts, lederhosen, sailor suits, and smocks. Most American boys, however, wore
knickers, although by the end of the decade, older American boys were wearing long pants.
The 1930s will be ever associatef with the Great Depression which forever changed the political and social fabric in Europe and America. The Depression meant broken dreams and failed for many. But it wasn't all "Gloomy Sundays" and meatless Fridays--entertainment encouraged everyone to look on the brighter side of life. While many lost the ability to
buy fashionable clothes, they did not lose their interest in fashionable clothes or fashionable live styles. Movies which were now the "talkies" were more popular than ever before. Often the popular movies show cased wealthy people and their problems rather than the problems of the unemployed and dispossed. This appears to have reflected what people
wanted to see at the moview. Songs like "We're In the Money" were far more popular than "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" Readers could ponder social ills in the thought-provoking novel Of Mice and Men or escaping into a sweeping historical epic like Gone With the Wind, to let them forget everyday cares for a while.
The 1930s is considered by many as one of the most elegant period for menswear, as men gravitated toward the English drape style and the sportswear industry exploded. Little folks' clothes also continued
to develop into comfottable and attractive styles. The clothes worn by children during the 1930s seem to many as quite perfect, tailored and so simple in line. Dresses were short and so were a young man's
pants. Girls of all ages wore the classic Chanel suit while boys had a choice of the older style business suit, the Norfolk with knickers and if he were inclined to be dressy, the English Eton suit of short
jacket, vest (when of self-fabric), trousers and a derby, if you please! Under the smart little coats girls wore party dresses of crepe georgette, voile or cre^pe de chine exquisitely handworked
with tiny tucks, smocking, piping and fine pleating yet retaining the over-all simple effect.
Youngsters now had quite a wardrobe of play or sports clothes ranging from basic rompers, sun suits to snow suits.
Boys still commonly wore suits. This was the last decade that American boys
commonly wore suits, although it continued to be common for British boys for
another decade. Of course the American boys wore knicker suits and the English boys
short pants suits. I'm less sure of European boys.
Sweaters were very commonly worn in America and Eurooe in the days before
central heating. Virtually all sweaters at the time were wool. Grey sweaters were
extremekly common in Engkand while more diverse colors were seen in other countries.
A wide variety of pants were worn in the 1930s. Anmerican boys mostly wore
knickers. Cord knickers were nost common for play and school. Many boys wore longs,
but shorts were mostly worn by younger boys or during the summer. British and
European boys commonly wore shorts all ydear round. Kniclers were not much worn in
England, but secondary school boys common wore them on the continent. Long pants
were commonly worn by German boys during the winter, but some boys wore shorts all
Kneesocks were comnonly worn by boys in England and Europe, especially boys wearing short pants. Solid color knnesocks were most common in Europe, although some boys did wear kneesocks with paterned tops. American boys also wore kneesocks, usually patterned ones, especially boys wearing knickers. Many American boys wearing short pants began wearing ankle socks.
Most boys bu the 1930s were wearing oxford-style shoes. Sandals were popular for school-age boys in Britain and to a lesser extent France. Many American boys wre tennis shoes which had appeared in the 1920s.
Many varied caps were worn by boys during the 1930s. American boys wore beanies, white sailor caps, and for dressier occasions, peakd caps. British boys mostly wore peaked caps. French boys might wear berets. German boys increasingly wore military-styled Hitler Youth after the NAZIs seized power in 1933.
A revolution in clothing materials was made possible in the late 1930s. The American Dupont Corporation in 1938 invented the first synthetic fiber from protelum--nylon. World War II (1939-45) intervened, however, before the new fiber could be used extensively for commercial production of clothes. The War blocked shipments of silk from Japan and China. As a result, much of the early production og nylon was made to make parachute shutes. Commercial development of nylon and many other synthetic fibers to come was not possible until after the War.
With the stock market crash of 1929, life changed drastically for many
consumers. The lifestyles of the most affluent, however, were little affected.
The popular Prince of Wales, a fashion leader for men, and his cousin started
wearing trousers with zipper fly closures, and the rest of the world soon followed.
Improvements in the technology for knitting fancy-patterned hosiery made it
possible for men to wear plaid, chevron, and argyle socks. Boys were
soon sorting flashy
argyle and other patterned knee socks with their knickers. Some knee socks were
solid color, but has a pattern at the top. More conservative moms
might stick to grey and navy or black. The removable stiff
Eton collar passed from the scene by the end of the decade.
We have begun to develop some pages on boys' clothing in individual countries during the 1930s.
American boys wore both single and
double breasted suits. The boys
mostly wore knickers as suit pants. Younger boys might wear short pants,
sometimes with middy blouses. By the time they were 8 or 9 years old, sometimes earlier, they wanted knickers or even long pants. Kneesocks had replaced the long stockings worn by previous generations. Many men of the era can remember to this day when they got
their first pair of
knickers and then long pants. A new style of knickers appeared in
America during the 1930s. Rather than knickers that buckled at the knee,
the new styled was elasticized. The boy then pulled his kneesocks up
over the elasticised knicker hem. He then put a garter under the turn-
over-top sock cuff to keep the sock up. Rural homemakers later recalled the importance of creativity during the lean years.
One reported, "During the hard years, my boys wore short pants made from the
legs of men's pants." Others spoke of the usefulness of feed sacks, some of which
were printed with colorful patterns. "We made everything from them. We made
shirts, dresses, men's shirts and all sorts of clothing from them." Not only clothing but household textiles were manufactured at home from these plain-weave, cotton sacks: "... four feed sacks would make the size of a tablecloth or sheet, and one pillow case could be made from each feed sack." Using feed sacks was not
without its perils: "The first things I had was bloomers and slips out of flour sacks that they bleached the names off. Mom was good at that. She didn't leave parts of the name. Some people had Pillsbury on their seat." In the 1930s, even though more household workers were available, only affluent families could afford to hire them. Outwardly men's clothing had changed only subtly by the end of the 1930s. Men and older boys wore suits with wider shoulders and more double-breasted suits. The real changes were underneath. By 1938 men were wearing boxer shorts or
knitted briefs with the registered trademark Jockey. The year 1939 provided the first hint of a new generation of textile fibers when DuPont introduced nylon at the New York World's Fair. Stockings and underwear made of nylon sold well until the entry of the U.S. into World War II in 1941 when this fiber was diverted to military use.
Quite old boys in Europe during the 1930s wore short pants or knikers.
Often the choice was made by the parents. School uniforms were not commonly required. Information available on French schools during the 1930s show that almost all of the younger boys and even many boys at 16 were still wearing short pants.
No information available yet.
No information available yet.
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