Fashion in the 1940sDuring the war years people had to learn to do without a lot of things. These things included fabric, so hemlines became shorter!
Knitting books published during the war years made the following proclamation:
To quote Batterberry: "Shoulder-length hair and deep eyeshadow are pronounced 'demode'. Both would seem messy and unsuitable if worn with uniform. Factory labour makes long tapering nails impossible. A fur-lined coat is more 'fashionable' than a mink, and all show of wealth or dressiness is in poor taste". (p.330)So, everybody was doing their bit.
|Militaire - A Sun-glo pattern|
Fashions in the 40s were characterised by:
- Shorter hemlines
- Whimsical hats
- Military look was popular
- Trousers for women now popular
- Shoulder bags
- Mass produced "utility" clothes
- Shoulder pads
- Crocheted headgear replaced bonnets
- Wedge heeled shoes
- Gabardine replaced leather for shoes and handbags
- Felt handbags
- Synthetic fabrics replaced wool
- Square-shouldered suits in tweed
1940-1944"Silhouette: Square shoulders, short skirts, heavy shoes.
Bodice: FItted, with drapery, ruching or gathers; padded shoulders.
Neckline: High round, sweetheart, small collars.
Sleeves: Inset, short or long, puff.
Skirt: Knee-length, flared, straight, single pleats.
Fabric: Wool, cotton, linen, easy-care synthetics.
Trimmings: Limited buttons, contrast colour collar and cuffs, patch pockets.
Colour: Subdued, blue grey, bottle green, donkey brown.
Accessories: Tiny hats, large bags, shoes with high thick heels and some wooden soles.
|Gothic - 1940s|
1945-1949Silhouette: As previous period to 1946; then shapely rounded bust, small wist, rounded shoulderline; from 1947: long narrow or full skirts.
Bodice: As preivious period to 1946; from 1947: fitted small waist, sloping shoulders.
Neckline: High round, sweetheart; from 1947: grown-on collars.
Sleeves: As previous period to 1946; from 1947: dolman, raglan.
Skirt: Knee-length to 1946; from 1947: mid-calf and longer.
Fabric: As previous period to 1946; from 1947: silk taffeta, cotton, linen.
Trimmings: As previous period to 1946; from 1947: decorative buttons, piping, inset panels of contrast colour or fabric.
Colour: As previous period to 1946; from 1947: pale, pretty colours with white accessories.
Accessories: As previous period to 1946; from 1947: small hats, short gloves, small bags, costume jewellery, nylon stockings, shoes with high slender heels."
|Berry Stitch Bedjacket - 1940s|
Underwear and Sleepwear
- Brassieres with wired cups
- Flesh coloured nylon stockings
- Shoulder length, in a snood
- Long waved and curled with centre parting
- Worn in rolls on the top and in the nape.
- Trousers lost the cuffs
- Vests went out
- Suits no longer came with two pairs of pants
- Lost patch pockets, pleats, cloth belts to save fabric
- Most evening clothes went out of fashion
- Zoot suits were in
|Military look was patriotic during the war.|
- Ringlet curls
- Buster suits for small boys - the pants buttoned onto the shirt.
- Reference: "Fashion: The Mirror of History", by Michael and Ariane Batterberry, 1982, London, Columbus Books
- "20th Century Fashion: A Complete Sourcebook", by John Peacock; 1993; London; Thames and Hudson, p.228-229.