By Preston Blackburn
Sometimes you can’t foresee when the walls that protect you will crumble. When depending on the one thing that you think remains constant suddenly fails, you’re expected to fix your face, wipe the soot from your clothes, and muster forward without shedding a tear. The people of the 1930s know resiliency all too well and slapping on an unaffected mask while watching your current lifestyle slip through your fingers became their familiar. What do you do when the economy has failed its citizens? The only thing you can do; March towards the light, wave your flag, and achieve greatness even if the cloud of depression becomes too great.
While America was experiencing financial insecurity, surprisingly, fashion, technology, and music flourished. The liveliness of jazz music began to transition into swanky swing as the short, flapper hemlines -made famous by Jean Patou- were lowered making streamline silhouettes more desirable. Elsa Schiaparelli was a trailblazer credited as the first to introduce zippers and synthetic fabrics to US fashion. Celebrating a more feminine shape, designers focused on wide shoulders and tiny waists. Concurrently, bias cut dresses became popular and Schiaparelli’s shocking pink became every girl’s dangerous pill. The times were dark and money was scarce but people wanted to feel expensive, so they would dress up in their finest silks and most luxurious cottons and attend a movie, a play, or simply meet up for dinner. Full color films were all the rage and the radio became more prominent (America in the 1930s). Art Deco began to hit its peak and literature had a bite so enthralling that many of our classic American stories, such as Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, were written during this decade (Heroes of the 1930s).
Hope is a fickle thing. Everyday, events happen that change your current perspective of the world and you either raise or lower your expectations to prepare for each blow. We, as Americans, put our faith in being indestructible; however, once we had to rely on our own strength, we advanced in ways we never knew were possible. The times of the 1930s may have been dark and tomorrows never promised to be fruitful, but the spirits of our fellow American citizens never burned brighter. It’s because of their sheer desire to press forward; we have 3D and IMAX movies, beautifully tailored bias-cut dresses, and satellite radio in every modern day vehicle. Now in 2013, as we climb out of our biggest recession since the 1930s, we are able to look towards the past to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Wipe your face honey; never let them see you cry.
America in the 1930s. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~1930s/front.html
Heroes of the 1930s. http://life.time.com/#index/0