Sometimes an era has fashion details that just scream the date — Leg o’ Mutton sleeves for the 1890’s, bustles for the 1880’s and 1870’s, etc. One of the things that screams “Nineteen Thirties” is the great big bow. [Some of these are not technically “bows,” because they give the impression of a bow without actually tying the fabric — but it ‘s the impression that counts.]
Of course there are some bows that seem in proportion with the dress — and the human body — but there are also 1930’s bows that now look comic. Good if you’re designing a musical comedy…. Hard to carry off in realistic dramas.
Bows appeared on evening gowns — front or back.
Bows on day dresses could range from modest to very large.
Bows appealed to the mature woman:
Bows were not considered matronly — they appeared on clothes for teens, junior misses and even younger women.
This one is a grand version of the collar on the girl’s coat:
Did women really wear all these big bows?Truth to tell, I really like this 1930’s dress with a bow:
Although most of these “big bow” images are from 1934, it just reflects that I have a lot of Delineator photos from that year. Butterick’s Delineator magazine ceased publication in 1937, but not before arranging for Butterick patterns to be featured in Woman’s Home Companion: