Wartime austerity led to restrictions on the number of new clothes that could be bought and the amount of fabric that clothing manufacturers could use. This did not stop the fashionistas of the day of course. We are a persistent group...
Popular magazines and pattern companies of the day promoted remaking men's suits into smart outfits for Women, (since the men were in uniform and the cloth would otherwise sit unused). It certainly was a period of superb resourcefulness!
The ‘“nylon riots” took place due to the hosiery shortage. Having recently been introduced, the stocking, became immensely popular but quickly vanished from the shelves. The ‘nylon riots’ saw thousands upon thousand of ladies queueing outside department stores in the hope of snagging a pair. However during the period nylon was only permitted in the manufacture of parachutes, tire cords, ropes, and other materials to help the war effort. It was known at the time for some women to paint stockings on, including the back seam!
Eisenhower jackets became popular in this period. The combination of neat blouses and sensibly tailored suits became the distinctive attire of the working woman.
Of course, the 1940s are marked by iconic headwear. Hats were one of the few pieces of clothing that was not rationed during WWII, therefore there was a lot of attention paid to these headpieces. Styles ranged from turbans to straw hats.
The snood was an important accessory to a woman working in the factory. Snoods were fashionable and functional at the same time, they enabled factory women who were wearing pants and jumpsuits to still look feminine. With all the long hair hanging in the net, the front of the hair was left out and could be curled and styled to glamourize the factory uniforms. And of course we’re all familiar with the bandana Rosie the Riveter is pictured wearing in recruitment posters. An iconic look that inspired ladies of the day and continues to do so today!
It’s quite fascinating to look back on this period of fashion and so clearly see the effects the war effort took. It’s inspiring and humbling don’t you think..?