Off to College, September 1930

A hat pattern for the well-dressed college girl; Delineator, Sept. 1930, p. 32. The hat, shown in three versions, is Butterick 3434.

What really caught my eye was the absolutely terrific blouse on the right.

This blouse was part of Butterick suit pattern 3415.

Except for its belt, this 1930 blouse looks very Nineteen Twenties. No wonder, because it is part of the transition to Nineteen Thirties’ styles; the cardigan sport suit that goes with it also looks like a Twenties’ outfit …

Butterick’s cardigan sport suit 3415, Sept. 1930. Delineator.

… until you see the length of the skirt:

A year after Patou introduced the longer skirt length and the natural waist, they were taken for granted in these styles for college-aged women. Delineator, Sept. 1930.

The dark leather belt is also worn at the natural waist.

Butterick 3415 and 3421, September 1930.

The frock beside the suit, Butterick 3421, simply bypasses the “low waist/natural waist” question by having a waistless princess line cut, seen often in 1930.

Back and alternate views of suit 3415 and frock 3421. The back of the jacket is shaped with tucks.

Additional fashion advice:

Seamless stockings that fit well were an innovation in 1930. Delineator, Sept. 1930, page 32.

This paragraph about hats appeared on the same page as Butterick hat pattern 3434. Sept. 1930.

Two versions of Butterick hat 3434. The turban at right was knitted.

Butterick 3434 is the “off the forehead” type of hat recommended in the article. These are made of fabric; thrifty women could use scraps from other sewing projects.


Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Hats, Hosiery, Hosiery, Vintage Accessories

25 responses to “Off to College, September 1930

  1. motorharp

    “Grecian drapery at the ankles” – that one made me giggle.

    • Baggy stockings were a problem even in the 1960’s. In college, somebody told my friend Mary that her stockings were wrinkled; she looked at her legs and said, “I’m not wearing stockings. Those are my ankles.” She’d been on her feet all day in the science lab!

      • Oh, that’s bad!! 😮 My mother had this mantra: “Better five wrinkles on the face than one wrinkle on the stockings!” But seeing how I was only 10-11 at the time, I wasn’t afraid of getting wrinkles on my face, and didn’t care either. Also didn’t care whether my socks/tights/knee highs were wrinkled or not. Too busy doing stuff!! 😀

  2. Interesting that college girl sizes go up to 44!

    • Yes, a 44 inch bust was the top of the normal pattern range in the 1920’s, so adults and big women could also wear these “college girl” clothes. I wonder how much of my negative youthful body image was caused by the fact that 1960’s Vogue and Butterick patterns stopped at a 38 inch bust? I felt so … large. [Once I learned to buy patterns that fit my “over-bust” measurement — 34 — and alter waists and hips if necessary, my homemade dresses fit much better!]

  3. Now I feel naked because I have no hats matching my dresses or coats! Only some scraps of left-over material… Hmmm… 🙂

    • Well, one doesn’t want to get too matchy-matchy — like that hat made out of the same material as the suit and blouse trim — but I can imagine a decorative flower made of matching fabric pinned to a solid color hat — or how about a big hatpin with a triangle of fabric as its head. Oh, wait — who needs a hatpin? Who wears a hat? Loved your comment!

  4. Thanks for the little article snip-its. Dull, sheer, bronze-toned non-seamed stockings for fall is a great detail. I have a friend who is a docent at a historical site. They do later 20s/early 30s, so those are just the kinds of little details she is looking for.

    I find it interesting that a college age woman would intentionally be dressing to look younger in a way that our modern sensibilities feels juvenile. Or maybe it’s just me (or my generation) that thinks things like peter pan collars, choir-boy collars, and similar look childish and immature, not youthful.

    • I was in college when Mary Quant used those white collars on dresses — sometimes with a necktie. They felt youthful to me, after those tightly fitted dresses from the fifties that made me look like a grown woman when I was 13! (I was a big girl….)

      • I didn’t think about it from that point on view. That would be quite a switch. I’m sure it was freeing. As a child my grandmother tried to put me frilly dresses with little white collars that were too young for me (I was small). I didn’t even like dresses. And my mother had been forced to wear little while collars, but would have been too old for more adult 50s dresses (she too was small), so I’m sure her dislike if the little white collar influenced mine.

        These days we do have things like Lolita fashions, so the youthful adult look is still with us. It just depends on your POV whether you think it’s extreme or not.

      • Lolita fashions… Doesn’t anyone remember that she was 13? I see it quite a lot too, and I think the people who wear it, don’t know the story behind it. Or possibly don’t even know that there is quite a story behind it. I would NEVER want to dress so as to resemble Lolita.

      • The Japanese have taken the”innocence” thing to a whole different level.

      • If they believe that Lolita was innocent, something got lost in translation!
        But actually could you point me at some pictures of the Japanese interpretation, please? I’m not sure what you mean.

      • It’s an association, not book interpretation. At least I think so. I don’t know what their history is.
        You can also look up Gothic Lolita:

      • I see, thank you. I think it’s just fashion, like you said – nothing to do with the book. Do they actually wear that in daily life? 😮 I hope not. 😉

      • That’s an excellent question. I’m sure some people do.

      • My husband is a big fan of Japanese movies, and has watched literally hundreds. He even blogs about them. Last night, when I said I was often repelled by their violence and misogyny, he said they’ve made him a #MeToo supporter.

      • Wow. And good for him Has he stopped watching them or is he being more particular now?

      • When you write about movie history, it’s not the same as looking for movies you will like. Part of his fascination is the observation of two cultures with a lot in common, but differences that surprise you. I love the International Film Festival for the same reason — I’ve been seeing American movies for 65 years and they’re often formulaic and predictable to me, but I can’t always predict where the plot of a movie from Asia is going. It’s like discovering the old thrill of movies again.

  5. If not for the length of the skirts, I would swear that those blouses and cardigan were from 1927!

  6. Irene Zhan

    Regarding Japanese Lolita fashion: it really doesn’t have anything to do with the book. It started out as a street fashion in the 90s derived from the Gunne Sax-inspired style that was popular in Japan in the 80s, and borrowed DIY elements from grunge, goth, and punk fashions. Through the 90s it became associated with the visual kei music scene (sort of glam rock) and eventually evolved into the style popular today that looks like a mix of 50s full skirted dresses with Victorian, Rococo, and Edwardian doll-like elements. People do wear it in daily life, often toned down to make it more appropriate for school and work.

    • Thanks for that explanation — I’ve only seen magazine photos in San Francisco’s Japantown bookstore, years ago — and I have to admit that “little girl” outfits often reminded me of prostitutes dressed to attract middle-aged men with “special” fantasies. I come from a generation when women like me struggled to make men see us as capable, intelligent professionals. Dressing as a child would never have occurred to me — even in the 1960’s, when I was in my twenties. “Cute” was never my ideal — equal pay, yes!

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