Rationing was the idea that cutting back on the consumption of certain goods and supplies would help provide as many materials (raw or otherwise) to the war effort as possible.Many factories that had been producing goods for public consumption had to switch to producing products supplies for the war.Due to these restrictions, rayon was the number one choice in fabric for women’s fashion during the forties, as it was readily available and inexpensive to produce.
Printed fabrics were very common in the handmade clothing of the era, with florals being highly favoured.In manufactured goods however, prints were not nearly as common.The silhouette was generally the same in the early forties, though emphasis on a strong shoulder became more prevalent.Shoulder pads were very common in garments from suits to dresses and blouses.Buttons were made from plastics such as bakelite, celluloid and lucite, as well as glass and metal.
Zippered and buttoned openings were still most often found in the sides of garments, though toward the latter end of the decade they were sometimes seen at the center back of certain items.
Basically, all fashion choices the general public made were based upon being patriotic and helping out wherever they could for their country.
(Examples of early 40s wartime fashion, both via Just Skirts and Dresses) Women’s suit jackets were snuggly tailored at the waist and broad at the shoulders.
The “look” of the early forties tended to be very military-inspired, as it was a direct reflection of the world events at that time.
The two-piece suit became very popular in women’s fashion during the war.
For the second instalment of our dating vintage clothing series, we will discuss the 1940s.