1940's Fashion - Housewifes Daily Routine

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



A typical day of a 1940's housewife

The 1940's was great era for fashion and glamour, and during the war - it seemed to herald a new age for womens freedom, but from 1946  - women who were starting out as a housewife for the first time, discovered that there was a strict gender biased code which dictated that the model wife was expected to effortlessly fill the roles of glamourous mum, cook, laundress, cleaner, dishwasher, nurse and finally hostess.

Effectively - women were demoted from home manager to labourer . This nightmarish 'Pleasantville - Stepford wife scenario was to remain well into the 1960's.

6.00- Nurse baby
6.45- Fix breakfast for herself and John
7.15- John and Marjorie enjoy time alone before wakening kids

A typical 1940s breakfast - Life

7.45- Breakfast for all
8.00- Husband John to work
         - wash dishes -clean downstairs-call grocers
9.00- Bathe baby - make beds - clean upstairs

Making the beds -1946-Life

10.30- Nurse baby
11.00- Fix lunch


11.30- Lunch for Shaun and Rusty
12.00- John home - Lunch

1940's Lunch at home -image-Life

1.00 -  John back to work - naps for the boys - wash dishes - nap for Marjorie
2.30 - Nurse baby
2.45 - Clean living room

Housechores -1940's -Life

5.00- Fruit juice for baby - fix supper
5.30- Supper for Shawn, Rusty
6.00- John home - baths for Shawn and Rusty.
6.30- Shawn and Rusty in bed
7.00- Dress for dinner - yep - you dressed before cooking the meal.
7.15- Cocktail with John
7.30- Fix dinner
8.00- Dinner with John


9.00- Wash dishes
10.30- Nurse baby
10.45- Personal bath - luxury !


11.00- Bed
And just to put it all in perspective - here's an amazing picture - again courtesy of the fabulous Life archive.


Housewife Marjorie McWeeney stands amongst a symbolic display of a  full week's housework for a typical 1940's housewife. Labour includes 35 beds to be made, 750 items of glass & china, 400 pieces of silverware to wash, 174 lbs. of food to prepare, and 250 pieces of  laundry.
It's a wonder she has time to put on her makeup.
Images courtesy of Life Magazine

You can download beautiful original vintage 1940's make-up and beauty guides now.