1940's Fashion - Womens Dress Style after the War

Monday, February 1, 2010
A look at Women's Dress Codes in the late 1940's
up to and including Christian Diors New Look.

This is a follow up to Women's Dress Code of the 1940's - the War Years.

You can also download a beautiful illustrated 1940's make-up and beauty guide from Vintage Make-up Guides.



The image of the Land Girl / Factory Girl was replaced very quickly by a return
to a more skirty fashion.


Like all style trends, design covers four main components of fashion ....

The Silhouette | The Detail | The Colour | and the Fabric

The Silhouette -

In the 1947, womens dress code changed dramatically from the trim waist and hips ,broad chest and shoulder pads with shoulder-length curled or rolled hair to the New Look !




The New Look debuted via Christian Dior in 1947, sloping shoulders, cinched waists ,and wider than wide hips !!
With Longer lengths and drastically fuller skirts. Woman’s fashion now changed to a soft, feminine and decidedly romantic image.As a result, ironically, womens emancipation was stalled somewhat with women being shooed back into the kitchen once more.

The Detail -

Womens Daywear of the late 1940's.

1.The fitted jacket-and-skirt suit, with a peplum to the hip
2. One- and two-fabric day dresses with squarish curved necklines,
3. The bust shaped by soft flowing gathers , swags or drapery on the skirt.


Eveningwear Dress styles of the late 1940's.

1. Lace and taffeta with asymmetric, bouffant styling were all the rage.
2. Cap sleeved cotton blouses [ and rayon too for a while until polyester arrived ]
3. Wide-leg pants and matching tap-style shorts for recreation .


Women's Underwear in the late 1940's.

By the end of the forties,corsets had been finally replaced by the all in one girdle and
the increasingly popular two piece - bra and the girdle.



Nylon Stockings began to adorn womens legs once more, having been used in chiefly for parachutes during the war years.
This time the sale of fully fashioned stockings took off on a global scale.
There wasnt a fashionable woman alive who couldn't wait to jump into the latest pair.


Women's Shoes in the late 1940's.

Wedge heels were still worn but now with shallower wedges.
Shoes became more delicate,high-heeled court shoes, or shoes finely strapped round the ankles, worn with beige nylons were the rage for a time as part of the " New Look".
Plain high heeled black leather or suede court shoes were the main shoe style.



Women's Hats and Gloves in the 1940's

Hat design for women went completely mad during the 1940's - every shape and size was in.
Recycling your old hat into something unique was also very popular.


A becoming hat was designed to enhance your good features
and to counteract ones less attractive features.

For example -glasses were not considered a nice feature for a girl in the 1940's.


Oh dear - we can't have that, can we ? !
-so a hat with a brim worn just above glasses would make them less conspicuous.etc.


Headscarves -having been used extensively in the factories during the war were also incorporated by designers.

Rouched Chiffon Gloves were popular in the 1940's and Opera Gloves continued
to be worn right into the 1950's for evening wear.




1940's Fashion Colours

The color of fashion in the early 1940's went to war aswell,with patriotic nautical themes and dark greens and khakis dominating the color palates,though some morning dresses had bright floral shades.
After the war, colour became a feature once more,with shocking feminine primary
colors becoming the rage, as exemplified by the glossy Vogue Covers.
Clothing Dye like DYLON went on to thrive in 'make-do & mend' post war Britain making fabric dyes to brighten up the homes, wardrobes and spirits of women across the country.



The Color Helm, produced by Ostwald Color Standards in the 1940’s was the standard
color guide.


The Womens Wearing Apparel version was hugely popular for obvious reasons.
It suggested color combinations [ for home dressmaking or dyeing ] in the degree of contrast
wanted !

Clothing Fabric in the 1940's

Natural fibers such as linen, cotton, wool, and silk.
Rayon [ artificial silk ] originally patented in 1926 for dress making was the big thing for those women who were handy with a singer sewing machine.


and finally a snapshot of typical fashion accesories for women in the 1940's



 Vintage 1940's make-up Guide for Instant download.




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