A 1930s Womans Wardobe Plan – by Elsa Schiaparelli

How to be chic on a low income.Schiaparelli extolls the virtue of one suit for all seasons.


Acutely aware and empathetic of women on lower incomes, the famous fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli gave her cents worth of advice to Photoplay magazine in 1936.

A woman can dress within her income and be chic almost no matter how small that income might be. Most women can be foolish in the matter of clothes; they buy too many things, thinking they have to have them! On limited income she will buy too many so called cheap items. Wrong !
Good taste is supremely important if you wish to be well dressed, with tasteful hair and up to date 1930s makeup, and wish to make a good impression. It doesn’t matter whether you are a famous Hollywood star, or an unknown stenographer. When I last visited New York I was shocked to see women in mink coats buying pork chops. You must have a sense of the fitness of things, and you must give some intelligent consideration of the matter of where you’re going to wear these clothes.


Being a business woman myself, and a busy one [ as well as a movie fan] I myself was faced with a problem that I’m sure is a common one with girls and women in America who ” go to business”; that problem being what to put on in the morning and look smart all day long in, even if it means a late dinner after office hours.I found that a good suit solves most problems. Whether it’s the Ritz for luncheon, work or interviews, it eliminates the time-consuming change of costume during the business day.

Ontario Archives -Eatons 1930s Department store display

Actually I wear a suit most all of the time. I happen to like them, they are practical in every way, and my advice to a business girl who wishes to dress smartly at all times and whose income is limited is this: buy a good suit and live in it, rather than a lot of cheap clothes. Let it be a good tailored outfit and made with beautiful material and above all don’t be afraid to be seen in it too often. good clothes, simply made, never ” date,” no matter what anyone tells you. of course, they must not be made with eccentric or exaggerated lines.

1930s suit and stole-Image:Putting on the Ritz

Wear your suit to business; wear it to dinners; to the theater; wear it twenty-four hours a day, every day in the year, if you must, and if it’s a good suit, you will always look attractive and chic. What follows is my advice for a typical girl who is starting out for work, maybe as an actress in Hollywood, or trying to make a smart impression on her sweetheart, or who wishes to be chic at all times.This is what I believe is the minimum wardrobe for an woman’s fashion dress in the 1930’s.

THATS-ALL -Glamourdaze

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