The 1940s: Merging of Beauty and Practicality
The first half of the 1940s was dominated by WWII and shaped much of how the textile, food, agriculture and educational industries operated. The Golden Era of Hollywood lingered on as a beacon of hope and grandeur in a politically torn time and women wanted to channel their favorite starlets.
Yet as teenage boys, fiancees, husbands and brothers were increasingly drafted in the war, women found themselves taking over the responsibilities that the men in their lives left behind. Riveting, engineering, factory assembling for wartime machinery and tools. This introduced an age of beauty that prioritized safety and practicality in the workplace above all. Dresses, tops, even hairstyles were adjusted to fit the new needs of the working class. Just check out this video of actress Veronica Lake modeling the more fashionable, and definitely more safe, hairstyles of the day!
The Changing Fashions
In addition to safety measures, fashion changed to meet the new social expectations and demands. Clothing started being made with more economical designs to save on materials, and also with silhouettes that reflected the merging of traditionally masculine and feminine traits. Women were no longer housewives and secretaries only, but working-women in industries previously dominated by men.
The fashion merged utility, beauty, femininity, and masculinity. Think narrow waists, but broad padded shoulders, skirts cut to the functional below-knee length, but in matching suits.
We love the 1940s fashion for its timelessly feminine silhouettes, sturdy construction and novel details like decorative buttons, fun piping, fun shaped pockets, etc.