Culture Fashion & Style

History of Fashion: The 1940s

Fashion of the 1940s reflected the huge impact that the Second World War had on humanity. The world needed strong and powerful women, who started to wear pants on a daily basis, uniforms as they joined the army and volunteered in war zones and, nonetheless, overalls, as they took men jobs in factories. Fashion was going through some rough times, as buying new clothes became a thing of the past as the clothing started to be rationed and even the manufactures had to give all the important fabrics as silk or Nylon to the army for the use of parachutes and other military use.

fashion 40s

People had to become creative with their clothing and campaigns like “Make-Do and Mend” were launched, telling people to fix their old clothing and reuse some of the old pieces and turn them into new pieces. Creativity was at its highest peak!

Make-Do and Mend

But the rules were very strict and hemlines of the skirts were being measured, as one should save fabric and even high heels or not allowed. In the USA, cuffs or hoods were banned as they seemed like not useful and throwing away fabric for just some sort of style. Even swimsuits changed into two pieces during that time. That was certainly a progress!

The trends of the 1940s were: 

* Large padded shoulders

* Fitted waists

* Peplums

* Statement hats

People definitely needed some extravagance in their styes, so when the war ended, fashion rediscovered itself in a renaissance of women’s style in the second half of the decade that celebrated the romantic style of the past but also was ready for a new, modern and powerful woman! It was then when Christian Dior appeared with his famous signature “New Look”.

Dior New Look

“I have designed flower women.” 

– Christian Dior 

Find out more about the designers of the decade in our video and a bonus fun fact at the end on how inventive were women when they didn’t have a certain item of clothing. Click the link below to see our full episode on History of Fashion: The 1940s!

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