Rationing and Fabric Shortages

Sep 6, 2016 | Fernie History, Fernie Museum

Rationing, making do, shortages – no matter who you were or where you lived in the early 1940s this was the stuff of daily life. Every effort was being made to win the war.fashion-65
Keeping spirits up also required a huge effort. Despite blackouts in the face of nightly bombings London was alive with basement bars and night clubs filled with service men and women looking for some relief. So having a nice outfit required ingenuity and creativity with the strict rationing of fabric

Cues of fashions of the day come from www.vintagedancer.com

With the start of the war dresses in the 1940s became shorter. Whereas the 1930s featured dresses down to mid calf, the 1940s brought them up to knee length. The war also affected the top of the dress.


Women’s clothes took on a masculine militant look with the invention of shoulder pads. Every dress, blouse or jacket was fitted with shoulder pads that extended just past the edge of the shoulder. This made for a boxy or square neckline and shoulder angle. Sleeves were often puffed up a bit with gathers at the top and extended down to just above the elbow.


The neckline of the 1940’s came in a variety of cut outs. They could be square, slit, sweetheart, keyhole, shirred, cross front (wrap), or V with shirtwaist (button down) tops. There was no cleavage! All dress top designs revealed very little skin, compared to today’s fashion.

Though it sounds frivolous, in light of the gravity of wartime, women were encouraged to look their best. It helped boost the morale of the country and bolstered spirits and optimism in troubled times. Rosie cheeks, red lips and perfect pin curls, accessorized with a cute veiled hat and flowers, would aid the country to victory!IMG_20160813_101820


I love this hat and thought it would work for my outfit for the Boogie Woogie Blitz Ball but it would seemed more appropriate to the 1920s era. Back to searching for the perfect 1940s hat.

Follow the link to learn more about the Fernie Museum’s fall fund raising event



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