‘Keep young and beautiful…’ Al Dubin, 1933
Throughout the 1930s, the fashionable imagery shown in the popular press and the movies began to be reflected in the styles offered by Kays.
For women’s wear, the emphasis moved from ‘durable’ to ‘chic’. New fabrics such as rayon (marketed as ‘artificial silk’) meant that fancy clothes cost less and were easier to clean.
In 1928, Kays introduced their first artificial silk wedding dress. By 1930, the range also included dresses for the bridesmaids.
To enhance the femininity of the wearer, heels were higher and Kays began to offer a wider range of shoes rather than boots for women. Underwear was more decorative and lighter weight, whilst sheer rather than lisle stockings could be produced, emphasising the daintiness of the form.
At the same time, women were encouraged to be more active. The influence of Chanel can be seen in the introduction of pleated skirts and the sporty two-piece for tennis or golf.
For men, the technical clothing available for sport was more diverse. The 1930s saw the introduction of sports shirts and jackets, as well as specialist clothing for hiking, cricket and tennis. These sports clothes were often made of lighter weight fabrics or less formally tailored, allowing greater freedom of movement.
The first range of swimwear was introduced in 1930.
Click here for a poem about the fashions of the 1930s, created by Brendan Hawthorne and members of Worcestershire Association of Carers.
Film of a 1930s fashion show produced by Second Hand Rose for our Heritage Open Day event at the Commandery, Worcester, on 10 September 2011