Wide shoulders were appearing as early as September, 1933.
I had thought of mannish padded shoulders as typical of the late 1930s and early 1940s,…
Butterick Fashion News, Sept. 1943. Broad, padded shoulders for women.
… but the September 1933 issue of Delineator surprised me. The huge, ruffled shoulders of the Letty Lynton era (the movie was released in 1932) were an early symptom of a change in silhouette — and the ability of wide shoulders to make hips look smaller in comparison mustn’t be ignored.
Shoulders begin to square up as early as summer of 1933.
Delineator, July 1933, p. 53. Left, a yoke with sharp shoulder line; right, a Letty Lynton ruffled shoulder.
Fall and winter coats offered novelty shoulders, sometimes exaggerated by fur trim:
Tpo of page 61, Delineator, September 1933.
Bottom of page 61, Delineator, September 1933.
Lead paragraph of Delineator article, September 1933, p. 61. “These shoulders look broad, but not stoutish.”
Butterick 5276, a coat with enhanced shoulders, was recommended for a college wardrobe. Delineator, Sept. 1933, page 63.
Even without fur or padded shoulder rolls (reminiscent of Elizabethan fashions!) the shoulders are getting straight and squared off, as in this blouse.
College wardrobe, Sept. 1933.
Patterns for women not going off to college show the same exaggerated shoulder line:
Ladies’ dress patterns from Butterick, September 1933.
Ladies patterns, Delineator, Sept. 1933, page 66.
As hips become impossibly narrow, exaggerated shoulders widen the top of the body.
“Paris frocks” become Butterick patterns, Delineator, Sept. 1933, page 65.
“Coal-heavers’ shoulders” are a feature of this Butterick pattern. Delineator, September 1933, page 55.
Ladies’ dress patterns from Delineator, September 1933, page 55. Note that extended yoke at bottom right.
Butterick 5247, 5270, 5259, and 5365. September 1933.
Extended shoulders were also shown on coats for girls:
Even the little girl’s coat (top right) has wide shoulders, thanks to its yoke or collar.
Older women also benefited from broader shoulders in 1933:
Clothes for women no longer young or slender. Butterick patterns 1933.
Those shoulders, almost square, cannot be achieved without padding, but I have not found a 1933 pattern at CoPA that mentions shoulder pads — not even this exact pattern, No. 5307.
Coats for evening wear were even more exaggerated, evoking the sleeves of 1895:
Evening dress with jacket; Butterick pattern 5279, Sept. 1933.
Evening wrap and evening dress for a trousseau, Delineator, September 1933.
Four years later, in 1937, these patterns for young women were still “broad shouldered.” The “squarely fitted” cape shoulders were especially stylish.
Butterick patterns for young women; Delineator, Sept. 1937.
5 responses to “Broad Shoulders for September, 1933.”
And they came back in the 1980s! I remember buying a winter dress in wool here in Spain. Huge rounded shoulders that looked like I was wearing a football jersey. The sleeves were just that bit too short for my taste. After the first two or three wearings it occurred to me to check the shoulder pads. Huge, rounded, almost hard foam! I unpicked the moorings and voilá! as the French are so fond of remarking–the shoulders were of human shape and the sleeves were long enough. I was afraid the shoulders would sag but they didn’t; apparently someone had just shoved the huge pads in to follow the fashion.
Ah, yes… The 80s. I wish I had saved a news photo of Jackie Kennedy Onassis standing next to Arnold Schwarzenegger — her shoulders were bigger than his!
Those shoulder wings! I’m going to look for real life applications. Thanks for documenting every little shift in fashion.
I have a vague memory of them on science fiction characters in the movie serials I watched on TV as a child. I thought they were “old-fashioned” future, not realizing they were a current Thirties fashion. Or perhaps I’m remembering B-movie orientalism….
Apparently it was known in middle America, where I grew up, as “the boxy silhouette.” My mother was b. 1924, her sister 1920. They loved the fashions of the 30s. I can still hear my aunt Jeanne, “Ohhh, platform shoes and peplums!”