May 23, 2024


World Conflict II impacted nearly each side of American life and style was no exception. In 1942, america imposed a rationing system much like the one Nice Britain had applied the earlier yr, limiting, amongst different issues, the quantity of cloth that might be utilized in a single garment. Supplies together with wool, silk, leather-based and a fledgling DuPont Corp. invention referred to as nylon have been diverted to be used in uniforms, parachutes, shoelaces and even bomber noses.

Jackets might be not more than 25 inches in size, pants not more than 19 inches in circumference on the hem, belts not more than two inches vast and heels not more than an inch in top. Hemlines rose to the knee in an effort to preserve cloth. Buttons, cuffs, pockets and ornamental particulars like ruffles and lace have been used sparingly. Ladies wore shorter, boxy jackets for a V-shaped silhouette paying homage to army uniforms. Even Hollywood traded elaborate costumes for simplified designs, a transfer many claimed lent films a brand new air of realism.


As quickly because it was launched in 1938, girls embraced artificial nylon as a substitute for silk stockings. Within the early Nineteen Forties, nevertheless, with silk already diverted to the battle effort, the federal government acknowledged comparable makes use of for nylon and commandeered it as properly. Ladies responded by coating their legs in tan make-up and drawing traces up the backs of their calves to imitate seams. By the point the battle ended and stockings returned to retailer cabinets, nylon had change into a generic time period for hosiery.

Swing skirts.

The swing skirt had a spherical minimize designed to look greatest in full jitterbug twirl. Swing skirts have been a typical sight on USO dance flooring as younger girls danced with uniformed males to the jazzy horns that characterised the Huge Band Period. Housewives have been recognized to put on a extra conservative model of the swing costume, typically in polka-dot or tiny floral prints.


Hats turned one of many few methods to specific particular person type with minimal assets. They have been worn in a variety of kinds and personalised with scraps of foil, sequins, netting, paper and string.

Hair and make-up:

Hairstyles turned extra elaborate as girls sought methods to distinction their boring wardrobes. Shoulder size or longer hair was rolled into complicated shapes and secured with bobby pins. Display sirens like Lauren Bacall, Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth popularized facet components and finger waves. Make-up was dramatic, characterised by matte basis, powder, heavy brows and vivid scarlet lips.

Platform pumps:

The wartime scarcity of leather-based and metal compelled shoe designers to get extra artistic and, because of this, footwear have been cobbled from supplies starting from crocodile conceal to cork. Footwear have been extra utilitarian than fashionable, with low heels and restricted shade selections. By the mid to late Nineteen Forties, platform pumps with excessive heels in T-straps, ankle straps or open toes had changed the dowdy wedgie with its flat form and thick cork soles.

Menswear as womens put on:

A variety of males could have spent the primary half of the Nineteen Forties in uniform, however their civilian garments got here in useful for the ladies who stuffed their home-front jobs. Ladies raided the closets of absent males and tailor-made the fits to suit themselves. McCalls even launched a sample aimed particularly at modifying a masculine go well with to suit female curves. Abruptly, the sexually ambivalent look pioneered within the late Nineteen Thirties by Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich was radical no extra. The emergence of the costume sample and electrical stitching machine led girls to make their very own fits from scratch, choosing gabardine because of the shortage of wool. Many with bodily demanding manufacturing unit jobs quickly started sporting sensible pants and Rosie the Riveter denims.


By the mid-Nineteen Forties, many ladies had deserted the single-piece corset in favor of panties and structured bras that lifted and accentuated the bust line. In 1946, a well-endowed Jane Russell appeared onscreen in a cantilever bra designed by Howard Hughes, prefiguring the bullet-bra Fifties and the reign of the sweater woman. Free-fitting cardigans have been additionally standard, notably on faculty campuses.


The digital disappearance of French style homes in the course of the battle led American designers to discover their very own creativity. Designers like Bonnie Cashin and Claire McCardell have been instrumental within the creation of sportswear, that singularly American look that includes coordinated separates that might be worn in layers or in varied mixtures. The development not solely gave girls elevated choices and made it seem as if they’d extra garments than they really did, but additionally blurred the road between couture and ready-to-wear by displaying girls they might be each stylish and comfy with out spending a fortune.

The New Look:

By the late Nineteen Forties, girls craved a return to glamor and designers obliged with swirling skirts and shimmering night robes impressed by movie stars like Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford.

In 1947, French couturier Christian Dior virtually single-handedly introduced an finish to wartime austerity with a style line observers christened the New Look. Extreme angles have been changed with curves, hemlines dropped again beneath the knee and skirts have been generously draped. Structured undergarments have been key to the New Look, which featured broad shoulders, cinched waists, emphasised bust traces and padded hips. The pencil skirt was a figure-hugging various to bouffant skirts. Males, too, longed for freedom from conservative tailoring in khaki and olive drab. They discovered aid in wide-legged trousers, full-length coats and fits in an array of colours. Each mens and womens trousers featured greater waists, extensively minimize legs and cuffs and got here in textured tweeds and jewel tones.

The New Look met with protest from girls who had grown accustomed to baring their legs and have been disinclined to cowl them again up. Furthermore, the opulent, fabric-rich designs appeared wasteful in distinction to wartime cloth restrictions. The need for change prevailed, nevertheless, and the look flourished all through a lot of the Fifties.