Bring back some good or bad memories


March 11, 2024

Cotton Fashions by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1939

Wool, silk, cotton, and rayon were the most popular fabrics for women’s fashion in the 1930s. Many coats, capes, and stoles were made from fur, as was the trimming on many evening dresses. Popular furs included sable, mink, Persian lamb, and silver fox. For swimwear, Lastex was often used. Lastex consisted of a thread of rubber wrapped with a fiber such as cotton or rayon.

Before the 1930s, most synthetics were made to appear like natural fibers. In the 1930s, synthetics which were openly so began to be widely used. In the beginning of the decade, rayon was the most frequently used. But, by the mid-1930s, nylon had been developed, and by the end of the decade, it was being used to replace silk, most significantly for stockings.

Women’s fashion in the late 1930s saw the introduction of nylon, and growing change due to the growing influence of Hollywood movies. The prolonged duration of the Great Depression also took its toll. The care-free Jazz Age in the 1920s had given way to the more serious, financially conscious Swing era. But, throughout the decade, the styles had remained fairly consistent.

On September 3, 1939, England and France declared war on Germany for invading Poland — the beginning of World War II. Not only would this event change history and culture of the world there after, but it would have a huge effect on women’s fashion everywhere. The pressures created by the war would bring an end to many of the 1930s women’s fashion trends, causing 1940s women’s fashion to have a look of its own.

Here, some vintage photos of beautiful cotton fashions taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1939:


Post a Comment



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10