In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection


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Rayon Suit, ca. 1930
Rayon Suit, ca. 1930Maine Historical Society

The Great Depression changed the mood of the times, and of fashion and fabrics. The boyish, shapeless, twenties style disappeared, replaced by a more feminine silhouette and longer skirts. By the end of the 1920s, rayon had been improved and developed to make a wide range of pleasing and modest priced fabrics. Silk still held a place in fashion, but less expensive rayon, perceived as being "modern," came into its own in the 1930s.

Day dress with jacket, ca. 1930
Day dress with jacket, ca. 1930Maine Historical Society

Just how attractive and fashionable rayon could be is seen in the comfortable easy elegance of a white woven, medium weight fluid rayon day dress and jacket. The simple dress features a front closure with four large flat pearl buttons, waist level buckled belt, and a straight skirt with a single neat pleat falling below knee at one side. An easy fitting three-quarter sleeved unlined edge to edge jacket completes the ensemble. Perhaps worn with white wide-heeled shoes and a neat little hat, set at the side of the head, the suit ensemble resembles those seen in many 1930s photographs.

Other daytime ensembles in the collection include a plain yellow-beige, slim faile rayon mid-calf dress with brown polka-dot spotted fabric trimming, and a coordinating unlined jacket and scarf.