n the 1940’s, because of the war , there was a general moving away from fabulous dressing. The government asked the designers not to be wasteful, including using unnecessary amounts of fabric, materials and trimming. The bias cut, 1930’s silhouette slowly disappeared and was replaced with a new simplistic style.
In the 40’s, attitudes about style and dress were becoming more and more casual. Dresses often had wide shoulder pads, a nipped in long waist and a full skirt that fell just below the knee. Common details often seen were peter pan collars, furs and patriotic colors of red, white and blue. Suits were common, in generic colors, with no nonsense shoulder pads and hemlines just below the knee.
1940’s shoes were often toeless, sling back, rounded toe, wedgies, alligator and cork platoforms.
Hair was usually pulled back, often with bandanas, scarves or barrettes. Turbans were popular also, especially with the glamorous Hollywood starlettes.
In the 1950’s two distinct styles emerged for women’s dresses:
Wiggle dress: Dresses with a normal waistline with narrow slim skirts ending mid calf (or shorter).
The New Look Dress: In 1947, Dior decreed skirts should rise only 12” or 15” off the ground with a nipped in waist and curved bust that he called the ”New Look”. . So the full skirt persisted in the 1950’s, just shorter this time, often at or above the knee. Bustlines were accentuated, waistlines were high and in evening dresses, strapless was preferred for both short and long ball gowns. Sheaths, capris, pencil skirts and cardigans were popluar, and so was the wide circle skirt, often stiffened. To view of 1940's and 1950's style dresses, CLICK HERE
Hats were very popular, in all shapes and sizes, whether it be the classic pillbox hat, modified cloche hat, veiled topper or a wide brimmed hat.
Fifties hairstyles were soft and curly. Straight hair was out and short hair was in. Young women often tied their hair back in a ponytail and circled it with a pretty chiffon scarf for day.
Accessories Revival of crinolines provided a more traditional style for evenings. Gloves were worn both long and short. Lucite purses were the rage. To view our 1940's and 1950's style accessories, CLICK HERE
50’s Fashion Icons
Fashion icon’s of the day included Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.The iconic black cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's fetched £410,000 at a recent Christie’s auction house in London.