Dressing in 1940's Fashion: 1940's Clothing and Hairstyles

Learn Where You Can Find this Vintage Style Clothing

Woman in classic outfit, smoking

1940's fashion is such a classic look. It is a very flattering style, and you are sure to get many compliments. This style is something you can still use today. Here’s how to get that great 1940's look:

  1. Understand the 1940's clothing style. Clothing in this time period was greatly affected by World War II rationing. Extra fabric was unavailable for full skirts or other detailing, so skirts were straight, and blouses were simple, without ruffles or extra detailing. Many women kept their wardrobe to one color scheme, so that they could mix and match pieces and get more use out of each one. Colors were deep, rich, saturated hues. Outfits had more natural silhouettes because material was not available to support unnatural ones, although most clothing was still designed to be worn with a slip or other supportive undergarments. Late 1940s styles had fuller skirts, sometimes requiring a petticoat, and more feminine blouses. These styles tend towards what we would consider 1950s vintage style clothing.
  2. Purchase clothing. You can find real vintage 1940s clothing at vintage clothing stores or online. However, if you’re looking for a specific item or wear an unusual size, it may be easier to buy new items in the 1940s-style. There are many companies, both online and with storefronts, that specialize in this look. If you can sew, you may want to purchase sewing patterns to recreate the look in exactly the fabric and size that you want. Make sure that your clothing choices are well-tailored, but not too tight. You want to look subtle and ladylike.
  3. Purchase accessories. The accessories you buy should be understated. Small hats were popular, especially if they had netting to hang over the face. Shoes were close-toed pumps, with moderately high heels (not stilettos). Bakelite bangles, earrings, and pins are classic 1940s choices, as are purses with Bakelite or Lucite parts. Accessories are an important part of your look.
  4. Put the look together. To pull the look together, you’ll need to combine your clothing and accessories. Seamed stockings are a classic accessory. A matching purse and glove set can add a 1940s look to even a simple ensemble. Wear only one “statement piece” at a time so that they don’t compete with each other.
  5. Perfect your 1940's hairstyle and makeup. Red lipstick will complete the look, but the rest of your makeup should be natural and simple. Most women curled their eyelashes. True bombshells have an overall natural look, and are not excessively tan. To achieve the hairstyles, your hair should be shoulder-length or longer, with waves or curls. Wear it down, in a handkerchief or a scarf, or with a ribbon or flower.

If you want to get the sweet yet sophisticated style of 1940s-era fashion, you should carefully pick both new and old pieces that fit the style of the period. Don’t forget to complete your look with accessories and makeup.1940’s fashion is a classic style, and you are sure to turn heads wherever you go.


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