Sunday, 10 February 2013

Peacetime Fashions are Gay

A few weeks ago I came across this wonderful article about celebrating the end of World War 2 in fashion in Madame Weigel's Journal of Fashion for October 1945. You don't see headlines like this these days.

"Peacetime Fashions are Gay

Apart from personal reactions, the news of Peace has brought many outward signs of brighter days ahead. Shop windows have blossomed forth in a galaxy of Spring  fashions, color runs riot everywhere and women who have waited so long  for this moment feel that they are justified in letting their heads go by buying something really feminine and attractive.
Girls who will be getting out of the various services will be sure to choose something soft and silky as a change from the severity of uniforn, and the present fashions will be ideal for this purpose. Many of the shops are showing frocks of plain pastel crepes - beige, eggshell blue, dusty pink, salt-bush green, and all those other soft shades which can be worn either with light or dark accessories...
A special effort should be made by women who are expecting their prisoner of war menfolk home soon for these men will expect to find their mothers, wives and sweethearts looking just as they left them. They have carried a picture in their minds  during the long, weary years away, and although women have had a lot to bear it is up to them to see that that picture has not changed.
It will not be easy, for women have aged just as the men themselves will have done, but a new frock, hat and careful attention to skin and hair, and perhaps the few lines that have developed will not be revealed in the general fresh appearance. Since all men love blue, perhaps that should be the color to choose. However, whatever the frock is to be, choose somehting colorful and becoming - made on truly feminine lines, and something which will appeal to him..."

There is a lot of detailed description about the upcoming fashion trends for various garments, but it was the sentiment that interested me most. It makes me think of Dusty Springfield's lines in "Wishin' and Hopin'", "Show him that you care just for him, do the things he likes to do, wear your hair just for him..."

Do all men love blue?

These are the years when fashion says goodbye to the tailored, masculine, shoulder-padded look taken on during the war by women stepping up into men's jobs and roles, and hello to the frivolous, feminine look leading into the 50s, such as that epitomised by Christian Dior.

After the war, they had another problem I hadn't thought about. They had all sorts of army surplus gear. What should they do with it? Ever the thrifty generation who had survivied the Great Depression, they recycled. I love this idea from the English Women's Weekly.

Who knew these were real parachute cords? I wonder if they made necklaces from shrapnel fragments too.

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