Street style with a twist: How a war changed the way a nation dressed

My first love was history. My first official research paper was on WWII’s effects on women’s fashion in the U.S and the subsequent societal changes that “wearing the pants” inevitably inspired. As I was a junior in high school steeped in floridly-written historical romance novels, I am certain that it was riveting–Sorry, Mrs. Chabreck.

For better, or more likely worse, I was inspired to the topic by a collection of Life magazines from the period loaned to us by a British neighbor who had been a child evacuee from London in the early days of WWII. So, I can’t help but love this Guardian UK article on  the Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style exhibit at London’s Imperial War Museum.

From lingerie made of outdated silk maps (genius) to a virtual Capsule Collection of sleek, stylish clothing created by a consortium of government-directed fashion designers that has in its description the feel of modern catwalks, the article is a lively lesson in history and a study in the simple joy of looking smart.

Read the article here and see a few featured images below.

Lingerie made from outdated silk military maps.

Lingerie made from outdated silk military maps.

Utility clothing went on sale in spring 1943. The Utility scheme was developed by the Board of Trade and introduced a range of quality- and price-controlled clothes. Utility clothing came in a limited range of garments, styles and fabrics. The range was designed by some of the leading names in fashion, including Hardy Amies, Digby Morton and Norman Hartnell.

Utility clothing went on sale in spring 1943. The Utility scheme was developed by the Board of Trade and introduced a range of quality- and price-controlled clothes. Utility clothing came in a limited range of garments, styles and fabrics. The range was designed by some of the leading names in fashion, including Hardy Amies, Digby Morton and Norman Hartnell.

image

An official Ministry of Information Photo Division wartime photograph showing four fashionable young ladies enjoying a stroll in the spring sunshine Photo: Imperial War Museum

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