Fashion in the 40s and 50s

1940’s vintage fashion

Following the gloomy depression era in the 30’s, fashion in the 40’s saw a time of hardship and lack of fabrics. Money was limited and women were encouraged to re-use items of clothing that they already owned.

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The 1940’s saw a lot of women getting creative and re-cycling many of their clothes, something I currently love to do – DIY vintage fashion and making my outfits even more unique with a bit of stitching and cutting.

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Colours in the 40’s were plain, characterised by deep maroons, gray and beige. Dresses and skirts became shorter and shoulder pads started to gain popularity as a way of enhancing the silhouette. Long hair and finger waves were the hairstyle of choice for many women.

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What I love about the 40’s is the boom of creativity and the skill shown by women in customising their clothes. It’s a great example of how being original doesn’t have to be costly.

1950’s vintage fashion

I am a big fan of the 50’s and on many occasions I have attempted to look as elegant and feminine as Audrey Hepburn.

Me (showing way too much leg) 😀

50s fashion consisted of a wide variety of styles. Small waists, pointed busts, below mid-calf dresses and skirts formed the most popular outfits.

40s dresses

The tailored feminine look with gloves and pearls, fitted jackets and pencil skirts was another popular choice.

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50s mad men

But most iconic were dresses with full skirts and low cut necklines or Peter Pan collars.

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Little known fact about myself: I currently own a dozen shirts and jumpers with peter pan collars. I think they are a very cute addition to any top and can turn a plain outfit into a sweet, girly one.

Women in the ’50s were focused on wearing practical but attractive dresses and often the phrase ‘dressing for your man’ was used to encourage the wearing of feminine, figure flattering dresses. The Glamorous Housewife is great at helping you find your inner Fifties goddess.

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This is also the controversial era of ‘pin-up girls’ – posters depicting women wearing waist-fitting and pointed busts clothing.

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The sexiest pin-up girl, in my opinion – Betty Boop!

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Fashion also saw a rise in ethnic influences such as Hawaiian summer dresses. Not to be confused with Hawaiian dad shirts, those came much later – in the 90s!

hawaii print dress

Iconic celebrities in the 50s include: Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.

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4 comments on “Fashion in the 40s and 50s

  1. Pingback: Fashion in the Sixties and Seventies |

  2. Pingback: 1920’s and 1930’s fashion |

  3. Pingback: Fashion in the Eighties |

  4. Pingback: Vintage vs. Retro |

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