By Bob Hensz

Formal Wear

ladies wear

Happy New Year! and, what better time than to look at days gone by and the attire for welcoming in the New Year at a formal ball - or maybe a special formal dinner and dance. Men's fashions for the ball would be a single-breasted tuxedo made for any black tie event. The lapels would be notched of a satin with a cummerbund of the same fabric. The trousers would probably have had a braid or trim of satin along the outer seam. Another man may be wearing full dress tails, also known as swallow-tail. The lapels would be the same as the single-breasted tuxedo being made of satin with a similar trim down the seam of the pants. This attire may also have had a vest underneath of a white material. Both formal wear styles may have also included a top hat, white gloves, a shirt with studs and cufflinks, and possibly a snake coil keychain. The picture on the top if the next page shows a typical single-breasted tuxedo. The hat is a homburg style not typically worn with formal attire.

Ladies would be in a long formal wear gowns, probably with uneven hemlines. The hem may have pointed panels trailing past the main hem, be scalloped, or longer on the sides than the front or back. Waistlines would be lower in the early Model A era but near normal by the later period. The dress could be beaded, have a cape yoke neckline, or a V neckline, or a deep oval neckline. By 1931 most evening gowns were sleeveless, with light-weight matching capes or jackets. Grecian-style evening wear was also seen during the mid-1930s. The pictures that follow display some of the gowns that were seen during this era. Note that neither of these gowns display the longer hemlines, but both show the uneven hemlines. He lady on the right has a fur and the dress is beaded/rhinestoned giving the glittering look. Also note the longer black gloves and shoes adorned with silvery, decorative buckles.

All they needed with this attire is a sensational New Year's Even ball, with dinner and dancing. Since prohibition lasted until 1933, they may not have celebrated the New Year with some bubbly beverages, unless they could find some special location which had it. Still I'm sure the celebration was wonderful and very special to all.

Bob Hensz is a member of the Brazos Valley A's Model A club in Texas.