What Women Wore | 1940's Fashion

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by glamourdaze

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01.30.2024



Was 1940’s fashion really about to return to wasp waists?
Was tight lacing actually here? The bombers drowned the answer.
With Britain threatened from the skies, as well as on the ocean, utility clothes were introduced by government decree.
Cheap but well made. Simple and practical and styled by eminent designers such as Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell.
Their mass production, laid the foundation for the revolution in the making of ready to wear clothes in the post war years.
The make do and mend philosophy was followed by all social classes. The utility dress became a fashion symbol
of female stoicism.
1940’s fashion can be seen as two distinct silhouettes. In the war years, a military influenced boxy line.
Padded shoulders, puffed sleeves, narrow single pleated skirts and functional shoes like oxfords and pumps.
Hairstyles were long again, with a multitude of rolls, bangs, waves and pin curls dominating.
In 1947, for women, out of the gloom came the New Look. Paris designers like Christian Dior,
brought back an extreme feminine silhouette. Wasp waists were definitely back now. Padded hips and rounder skirts.
In many ways this silhouette echoed the fashions of the post Edwardian era. To achieve this new look, foundation wear
had to be controlled again, as it had once been before the 1920’s. Not as severe, but a seismic shift back to a more romantic style.
Hair could be safely cropped again by 1949, as a contrast to the fuller figure.
Read the concise illustrated history 1940’s fashion | 1940 to 1949

History of 1940s Fashion – 1940 to 1949

Created in 1960 by the Central Office of Information, sponsored by The Board of Trade.
Sixty Years of Fashion.
Directed by Simon Napier Bell and photographed by Larry Pizer.
Costumes by The Victoria Albert Museum. V&A
Corsets by R&W.H. Symington
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/
https://www.bl.uk/collection-guides/central-office-of-information-archive

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