1940s Womens Fashion

The World War II had a great impact on the 1940s womens fashion. It is considered to be an era which successfully merged both femininity and practicality. Basically convenience is the term which pops up when talking about the 40s fashion in womens fashion history.

Pickering World War 2 Weekend 2010 (259)


According to the fashion historians, during the 1940s women's fashion began to lose it softness. The 1940s womens fashion was a time of great restrictions on design, fabric, and trim materials. There was a great transformation in the women's lifestyles since they were expected to keep up their homes and support their own families since the men had been at a distance serving their countries.

Since lot of women was required to work throughout wartime, they didn't have a great deal of time or use for sophisticated clothing and 1940s hairstyles. The concept of how useful the clothing could possibly be was more important in comparison to the elegance and beauty of the outfit. Basically the women were expected to be prepared to step into men's shoes immediately and their clothing had a reflection of this. The women generally wore clothes which were much easier to clean and obtain.

Lot of emphasis was on the hour glass figure and majority of the ladies typically had a buckle or band around their waists, in order to create hourglass shape. Their skirts were typically tea length or hit the leg just beneath the knee. The shoulder pads imitating the military uniform were common, making the feminine form bolder.

The hats, especially made from fabrics recycled from older pieces become popular. During the 1940s there was some change in women's footwear which turned from simple low heeled Mary Jane's to sexy pin up style peep toe pumps. In general the style of shoe worn depended on rest of the outfit.

Make-up was a rare thing among them and homemade accessories and elaborate curls allowed women to show their flair without expense or wasting money. The dresses and suits became slimmer and shorter, thanks to wartime rationing. In fact the skirts were only as wide as was needed to walk and sit, and hem lengths rose to the knee. In 1940s the night dresses for women were generally frilly short skirts.

But after the World War II, during the mid 40s women left the work world and returned home to their busy lives as house wives. And this was the time when some change came with a renewed enthusiasm for fashion. The cloth manufacturing became cheaper and clothes were more affordable.

The colours in use were comparatively brighter than those used during the war years. But still they continued to be well tailored and frugal with material till the late 1940's when Dior "new look” was launched with its full, flouncy skirts.

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