Sophisticated Schoolgirls, 1930

Two schoolgirls wearing Butterick patterns 3117 and 3125, Delineator, March 1930.

These suits are for girls 8 to 15. Today the girls illustrated might be in middle-school — or starting high school — but their clothes could have been worn to the office in the late 1920’s. Yes, it is 1930, so they are actually a bit behind the fashion trend to longer skirts and natural waists. Nevertheless….

A closer view of Butterick 3117 and 3125. 1930.

Well, the button-on skirt would not be worn by a grown-up (very little boys did wear button-on pants.)

But the “tennis dress” frock with its diagonal closing is pretty sophisticated.

Alternate views of 3117 and 3125. Under their jackets, they are sleeveless.

More patterns for girls ages 8 to 15. Delineator, page 36, February 1930.

Coordinated coats and dresses — an ensemble — were chic womens’ wear.

Butterick 3083 and 3127, Delineator, March 1930.

Left, 3083 has the latest cape sleeve, and 3127 has the bound and scalloped front with buttons, also a 1930 adult fashion.

1929 and 1930 marked a fad for very suntanned faces.

It’s hard to imagine eight to thirteen-year old girls wearing these dresses and suits to school today, but the 1930’s were an era when children had to grow up fast.


Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Coats, Sportswear

8 responses to “Sophisticated Schoolgirls, 1930

  1. Schuluniformen sollten definitiv wieder eingeführt werden.

    • It did occur to me that the only 12 year old girls I see dressing in jackets and skirts now are wearing school uniforms. In 1959, my (Catholic) high school uniform was based on a 1930s-early 1940s woman’s suit with a boxy jacket and below-the-knee skirt. By 1962, we had to kneel on the floor if our skirts looked suspiciously short. If the hem did not touch the ground while we were kneeling, a seam ripper or scissors would be used to lower the hem on the spot. If that wasn’t enough, the girl would be sent home. Some girls “rolled their skirts” at the waist as soon as they got on the schoolbus to after school, which made their skirts look shorter, but their waists look ridiculously thick! Private schools do tend to pick a uniform and get stuck with it. One Catholic high school in my neighborhood apparently got stuck in the early 1970s — I am shocked every time I see those girls in mid-thigh plaid, pleated skirts, with V-necked cardigan sweaters and white blouses — to me they look like British prostitutes dressed to appeal to Public School “old boys” in a comedy film!

  2. Goodness. I’ve read about pattern companies doing this in the 1960-1970’s (probably here!) but didn’t realise they were doing it this early. As usual, you’re a fount of information. Thank you!

    • I’m not sure we’re on the same page…. I don’t understand your reference to “Pattern companies doing this in the 1960-1970s.” These girls’ patterns from 1930 are not costumes or “mother-daughter” outfits; they are just what the pattern company thought was appropriate for schoolgirls in late 1929. It does look like Butterick saw the rapid change in waists and hems that occurred in late 1929 and prioritized getting their new adult patterns to be up-to-date for the 1930 catalogs. I’ll be taking a look at girls’ patterns from later in 1930, thanks to your comment.

  3. Sorry for morphing your first par., “These suits are for girls… but their clothes could have been worn to the office…” I was remembering the mother-daughter and teen patterns of the mid-century that were so similar. 🥰

    • I’m glad I’m not alone in remembering that mid-century assumption that little girls all wanted to be like their mothers — I still remember a little stove someone gave me. Yuck! I still hate to cook! (Also, it was a much more modern stove than the 1930’s stove in our kitchen — which had a trash burning compartment and stood on long, slender legs!)

      • I never wanted to be like my mother either, but my dislike was opposite. I enjoy cooking & baking, and she didn’t! (But I like those slender legs… on my folding table. 😉)

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