Women’s Clothing
OK before I start with this bit I will put my hand up and say I have done no research into ladies clothing so will need a volunteer out there to help… please?

There are links to ladies fashions listed below

Also see the quick guide to using eBay to see what women’s wear is available there

Men’s Clothing Back to top menu
Overview of where to start and what to aim for
Obviously our IB and militia uniforms will not be suitable for this event so we all need to get ourselves kitted out in British 1930s civvy stuff.

In the long term for future Aid for Spain events we would be best trying to get clothed as follows:

A reproduction or original 1930s suit
Brogues or other suitable leather soled shoes.
Why such formal wear? Well it would appear most people, both working and middle class, in the 1930s wore what we would consider formal most of the time. If you look at photographs of Aid for Spain events people are dressed well, click picture see picture below for example:

In an ideal world we could all go to ‘Traders Row’ at an event and pick up all the items for a song and be done with it…. and pigs might fly.

As we know from getting ourselves kitted out for the military side of things this isn’t that easy; we are one of the few 1930s groups so clothing that is specifically pre-WWII (which is distinctive due to war time ‘austerity’ measures) is not readily available.

So to give members the chance to get the items they want we have decided to use examples of people who were at the Basque Niños camp at Stoneham in May 1937. Below are a few examples:

Two Engilish brothers and two senoriats at Stoneham
This is of two English brothers who helped at Stoneham with two Spanish women volunteers.

They are both wearing work wear: the chap on the left is wearing bib and braces overalls, a work shirt and a flat cap. His brother appears to have a collarless shirt on and a working jacket… dressed like that I don’t fancy their chances with the girls though!

This picture is a detail of the picture of the camp at Stoneham, it shows two people talking and one is distinctly wearing shorts (though he might be one of the older Niños not a British helper.)

This picture is of a group of people at the gate of Stoneham, it illustrates one man in shirt trousers and a sleeveless pullover and another in just trousers and shirt.
The organising committee at Stoneham
This picture shows the organising committee of Stoneham. They are smartly dressed in suits and ties (one is an MP)
OK so what does this mean? Well below is a list of looks you could go for:

‘Ideal look for Aid for Spain Events’ (I.e. what we should all be striving for)
Repro or original suit
Appropriate shirt
Appropriate tie
Leather soled Brogues
Click here to give you some ideas of how to find these items

‘Casual formal’ look
A pair of repro trousers from tailor or originals (if you can source them.)
An appropriate shirt
A tank top or waist coat
A pair of leather soled brogues
Click here to give you some ideas of how to find these items

‘Working man’ look
A set of Bib and Braces overalls
A working mans jacket
An appropriate shirt
Leather work boots
Click here to give you some ideas of how to find these items

Where to get Men’s Clothing

Basics for ideal Aid for Spain look:

Collarless shirts – including detached collars
Collared Shirts
Gents Suit
Tailor made
From eBay
Second hand clothing suppliers
From Rocacha tailors, England
Second hand or eBay
Flat caps
Working Man look

Bib and Braces overalls
Working Trousers
Working jackets
Working Men’s ‘work boots’
A Guide to looking for 1930s clothing on eBay

Links to clothing resources on the web

Essential item

Back to men’s clothing

Collarless ‘Granddad’ Shirts
Back to men’s clothing

These are quite easy to get a hold of from charity shops, second hand clothiers or eBay, they can be worn without a collar but to be dressed decently you would wear a collar and tie.

Vintage Shirt Company – Lewes, Sussex and online
Collarless white poplin tunic shirt

Can be worn with all stiff collars. Double cuffs. Curved shirt tails.

You need to click the ‘Shirts’ link on the main page to find these shirts.

Irish flannel grandfather shirt, blue, small
Dickinson’s Period House Shop – Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Warwick and Online
Irish flannel grandfather shirt, blue, small

This shop has a selection of collarless shirts to offer at a reasonable price

Steve in La Columna says:
“They sell the Le Labourier range of clothes, which have been the same since around 1900.
I bought my cord working trousers from them, and my collarless, pullover, shirt (£25). They also do jackets, waistcoats, shirts with collars, and braces. They come in a variety of colours (each different colour of cord was used by a different trade, e.g., plasterers and joiners). I think there are three or four shops”

Currently these items, except the shirts, are not available online only in store.

Collars for a collarless ‘granddad’ shirt

As with fashion today what collar you wear can be determined by your age:

The older gentlemen of the group might want to buy either a ‘double round collar’ or an ‘Albany collar’ as these were the fashion in the earlier part of the century. If you look at contemporary photographs older gents are often wearing such collars.

For ease of wear (I can say it is murder wearing a collar all day) perhaps the younger, or more fashionable older chaps, might consider a collared shirt instead?

Vintage Shirt Company – Lewes, Sussex and online
Washable Double Round Collar

Many detachable collars need specialist laundering but these “retain their crispness with normal washing and ironing. They are beautifully made and withstand considerable wear. 2 1/4″ deep at the front tapering to 2″ at the back. Not quite as stiff as the traditional starched collars, they are decidedly more comfortable.”

You need to click the ‘collars and ties’ link on the main page to find these collars

Vintage Shirt Company – Lewes, Sussex and online
Albany collar

A standard turndown cutaway collar. Worn predominantly in early C20th.

Be warned: Specialist laundering required.

You need to click the ‘collars and ties’ link on the main page to find these collars

Vintage Shirt Company – Lewes, Sussex and online
Butterfly wing

For that Hercule Poirot look perhaps you might want “A very elegant 2″ deep stand collar with curved wings. Much favoured in 1920’s to 30’s.”

Be warned: Specialist laundering required.

You need to click the ‘collars and ties’ link on the main page to find these collars

The Vintage Shirt Company also sells collar studs.

Collared shirts

These are definitely the easier option (to physically put on and wear), and a more modern thing to wear in the 1930s.

There are a number od shirt makers who will make you one of these:

Vintage Shirt Company – Lewes, Sussex and online
Spearpoint shirts

“These shirts are manufactured by one of England’s longest established shirt makers so the quality is superb.
The collar shape is absolutely typical of the early to middle C20th and the collars themselves are deliberately made up with very soft, non fused interfacing which gives an authentically gentle look but they can take separate collar stiffeners.

We do make coloured versions of these shirts but only in limited numbers so please contact us for stock availability on other shades.
Double cuffs and generous shirt tails.”

You need to click the ‘Shirts’ link on the main page to find these shirts.

Jake Gittes shirt
Magnoli Clothing – New Zealand and online
Jake Gittes Shirt

“Based on one of Jack Nicholson’s shirts in Chinatown, this classic 1930s style dress shirt features a long, pointed collar, box pleat pockets and can be made with convertible cuffs as shown or square French cuffs.”

Various colours and cuffs available

There are other period shirts availbale from Magnoli:


These are lovely shirts and the quality looks great but they are expensive. That said it is possible to pick up these kind of shirts elsewhere once you know what to look for. The Author picked up a double cuffed spearpoint collared shirt in a British supermarket for a mere £8 recently.. keep your eyes peeled and you might get lucky.

Gents Suits
Desirable item


Suit Jackets
These are probably the trickiest thing to source, and annoying one of the more commonly worn items of the period.

What 1930s suit Jackets were like:

The 1930s suit doesn’t differ a huge amount from the modern suit and could be either single or double breasted. It is important to be careful not to buy a distinct ‘austerity’ suit from war time: these were similar in style to 1930s suits put used less material in an effort to save material.

Tailor made

Not the cheapest way to buy a suit, put the best way to get one that fits, a member of La Columna has approached a tailor in Birmingham who still had 1930s patterns available, he quoted at least £500 for a suit (Jacket and Trousers) – ouch!

Barnett College Suit

Barnett Collge Suit
Magnoli Clothing – New Zealand and online
This supplier makes some lovely vintage style suits, at a price of course!

Magnoli suggested the following designs as being most appropriate for a 1930s impression:

New Yorker
Chinatown Suit
Chinatown Suit

Rocacha Tailors – Kensington, London and online

Specialises in 1930s, 40s and 50s tailoring, which will make a suit jacket for about £325-365


There are usually items suitable on eBay, but you have to be patient and careful. Firstly, to get a suit come up in your size is pure chance, secondly people can advertise an item as being 1930s when it isn’t.. if in doubt ask around the group before bidding.


Second hand shops
Back to men’s clothing menu

If you are lucky enough to be of a smaller frame this is probably easier to get hold of an original suit than if you are of a larger frame.

That said if you look long and hard enough you might be lucky… The author found a jacket and waistcoat and he’s 6’2″

Essential item

If you can’t afford the whole suit then maybe a pair of trousers is more realistic?
Back to men’s clothing menu

What 1930s trousers were like:

The 1930s men’s trouser tended to be quite high waisted and often, but not always, had a v shaped back (where the braces buttoned on). They were often very baggy (being as much as 22 inches wide at the bottom and would have been straight cut, i.e. not flared)

There are a number of avenues to follow to get hold of a pair of these:

Hollywood Pants

Hollywood Pants
Magnoli Clothing – New Zealand and online

These guys do a good range of trousers:

The ‘Hollywood Pants’ are very good, with button fly and cost around £70 for a wool blend fabric or £136 pure wool.

Rocacha Tailors – Kensington, London and online

The image on the left is of ‘Oxfords’ made from an original 1930s pattern.

Prices start at £130 for a pair of woolen ‘Oxfords’. One word of warning you will have to request a button fly or Rob will put in a zip as standard.

The author has a pair of these and they are very good indeed.

Second hand clothiers/ eBay


As stated earlier being over 6 foot tall and not having the shortest arms in the world, it is a real bind trying to find second had clothes that fit, but they are out there if you look hard enough. I managed to get hold of a pair of trousers from a second hand shop and if you watch on eBay long enough stuff does come up. It’s just a matter of regularly checking…

Click here for a quick guide to browsing eBay


Not essential but nice to look smart

Either a woolen or silk tie is what you need with an appropriate pattern on; psychedelic paisley kippers might stand out as a bit wrong. Again it is worth checking charity shops for them or if you would like a brand new one?

Ties2Pillows.com – Online (based in the USA)
Original vintage ties

A variety of original ties

The Costume Store – Lewes, Sussex and Online
Knitted ties

A variety of plain colour woolen knitted ties

Old Town Clothing – Holt, Norfolk and Online
Silk Ties

Various ties


Not essential

Flat caps

The mark of a working man: the flat cap.

Big bond flat cap available from Sutlers Store
Sutlers Stores Bournemouth, Dorset and Online
Flat cap

A suitable cap is available from Sutlers store called ‘The Big Bond Flat Cap’, it is only available in green.

Old Town Clothing – Holt, Norfolk and Online

Estuary English, Dutch influence. Cap with buttoning soft peak. Available in two shades of grey flannel, chocolate & navy serge and cream, grey & drab sage moleskin. Lined with check wool flannel. L, XL and XXXL.

Trilby/Homburg/Fedora Hats

A bit more upmarket than the flat cap, available at most old fashion milliners ranging in price from £35 to £80. They also appear on eBay quite a lot.

Trilby available from Costume store
The Costume Store – Lewes, Sussex and online
The Costume Store on line offers a number of different hats including trilbies, homburgs and fedoras

Hats on Line – Online
Hats on line offer a range of colours and style of hats

Tumi – Online
‘Trophy’ Hats

This fairtrade web site sells great quality hats from Ecuador at a reasonable price. These slightly wider brimmed fedoras are very 1930s.

Search for Trophy hats on site


Not essential but nice to keep your trousers up

The majority of 1930s braces were the old fashion button type rather than the clip-on modern type, though these were around you don’t see them in great number.

The Costume Store – Lewes, Sussex and Online

A variety of colours and styles

Old Town Clothing – Holt, Norfolk and Online

Beige braces with leather fobs

“Street” Shoes
Essential item


Street shoes
It is relatively easy to get hold of smart leather soled brogues from most high street shops, the author got a pair from Marks and Spencer for example.

Second hand clothiers/ eBay


Second hand shops and eBay is another place to get hold of some appropriate shoes


James in La Columna says:
“I bought these brown brogues on eBay for a good price. It took a while for the perfect pair to come up so I had a saved search that emailed me whenever brogues came up for sale”

Work Wear

For those that want that Work wear look.

Don’t forget to look at the Flat Caps in the hat section.

Bib and Braces overalls

A pair of bib and braces overalls would be fine for those who want to go for that worker look, these are available from:

Industrial Workwear.co.uk – Online
100% cotton drill Bib and Brace overalls, with concealed button fly, Bib pocket, rear patch pocket, two side pockets, rule pocket.


Corduroy Trousers

Old Town Clothing – Holt, Norfolk and Online
‘High Rise’ Trousers

Popular, loose cut trouser style worn mainly but not exclusively by men. High back with braces buttons. Side pockets, waist adjuster on back. Bottoms approx. 19”.

available in variety of materials and colours

“…handed in as lost property in 1936, the originals for our style know as ‘High Rise’ were then mislaid behind a radiator in the London Transport Lost Property Office until redecoration in the early nineteen eighties….”

Tails And The Unexpected’ – Cardiff, Wales
Fawn Cotton Corduroy

Also available in navy, olive, yellow and dark brown.


Working Men’s ‘work’ jackets


Industrial Workwear.co.uk – Online
Work Jacket Cotton Drill JK01

100% Cotton drill engineers jacket, Navy, Button front closure, Mitred outside breast pocket, 2 Lower mitred patch pockets.

Cheap price


Old Town Borough Jacket
Old Town Clothing – Holt, Norfolk and Online
They offer a couple of jackets that could be worn as workers jackets they are ‘The Overall’ and ‘The Borough’ (illustrated).

As with all of Old Town’s clothing it is not reproduction but inspired by clothing from the past and is not cheap.

Working Men’s ‘work boots’


William Lennon & Co Ltd UK – Online
78N Hob Nailed Boots

“Traditional Derby style hob nailed boots with 7 eyelet 6.5 inch upper made from mahogany brown waxy full grain leather. Brass screwed and stitched construction incorporating a leather insole, and a heavy duty double leather sole. Leather ring tip (horseshoe) stack heel. Manufactured here in our Derbyshire Peak District factory. Also available with plain leather sole without hob nails.”

William Lennon & Co Ltd UK – Online
268D Hill Boots

“Traditional British made outdoor country footwear. Fully sprung shepherds boots, hill boots or fell boots (depending on your geographical location) with short tab design for increased flexibility. Made from reverse tanned waxed kip butt leather which is ultra durable yet very giving and flexible when broken in. Manufactured using the brass screwed and stitched method which incorporates a vegetable tanned leather insole and throughsole for comfort and breathability. Heavy gauge double leather sole which is available either plain, flat nailed or hob nailed (tackets or tacketty boots). The heel is leather with a steel ring tip (horseshoe). ”

Get addicted to having to check it everyday!
A word of warning, you have to take the sellers word of what they are selling to you is the genuine article, if you are unsure use the Email to a friend link in the top of the screen and email it to some one who might (Please feel free to send it to James B who is no expert but is happy to give an opinion)
Also be careful of wartime austerity wear this is different to 1930s clothing, again if your not sure ask.