Since Fall / Winter catwalks have been heavily influenced with the 1940s style, it’s a good idea to find out what the key trends in 40s were like. The thing about fashion repeating itself is so as not to copy the entire look the way it was, but to keep up with the leading trends. Imagine yourself wearing your grandma’s frock or suit.
1940s style tips
- emphasise the hourglass shape: focus is on the waist while making your shoulders and hips look wider (Victoria Beckham)
- exaggerate: make use of the vivid colours (Dolce & Gabbana), full skirts, big shoulder pads (Narciso Rodriguez) and gloves (Elie Saab)
- use your girl power: frills, ruffles (Moschino), sheer fabrics (Givenchy), high neckline and beautifully draped sleeves
- buy a hat: either small (L’Wren Scott) large (Alexander McQueen), if you dare go for a one with veil
- if you’re fed up with a feminine style, choose oversized men’s shirts (Dries Van Noten), “sloppy joe” sweaters, rolled up jeans or a suit
- get a sexy finger waves hairstyle and make your lips red like Gwen Stefani
- look up for the 1940s stars like Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, Shirley Temple
1940s fashion was characterized by several distinctive styles that reflected the social, political, and economic conditions of the time. Here are some of the key features of 1940s fashion:
Utility clothing: Due to the rationing of fabrics and materials during World War II, clothing had to be practical and functional. Utility clothing was designed to be simple, durable, and long-lasting, with minimal embellishments and frills.
A-line skirts: A-line skirts were a popular style in the 1940s, with a narrow waist and a flared hem that fell below the knee. These skirts were often paired with blouses or sweaters, creating a simple but elegant silhouette.
Wide shoulders: As women entered the workforce in large numbers during World War II, their clothing styles became more masculine, with broad shoulders and boxy shapes.
Pencil skirts: Pencil skirts, which were narrow and fitted from the waist to the knee, were also a popular style in the 1940s. These skirts were often worn with tailored jackets or blouses, creating a sleek and sophisticated look.
Platform shoes: Platform shoes became popular in the 1940s, with high heels and thick soles that provided extra height and support.
Bold prints: While clothing was generally simple and functional, bold prints and patterns were also popular in the 1940s. These included floral prints, polka dots, and geometric designs.
Overall, 1940s fashion was characterized by practicality and simplicity, with an emphasis on function over form. The clothing styles of the era reflected the social and economic conditions of the time, with an emphasis on durability, utility, and simplicity.
1940s fashion inspiration
There were many iconic actresses and models in the 1940s whose style has continued to inspire fashion trends even today. Here are a few examples: Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Betty Grable, Marlene Dietrich.
Rita Hayworth was a Hollywood actress known for her glamourous style. She often wore form-fitting gowns with plunging necklines, paired with long gloves and statement jewellery. Katharine Hepburn was known for her androgynous style, often wearing tailored trousers and blouses. Her look was practical and functional, reflecting the changing role of women in society at the time. Betty Grable was a pin-up model and actress known for her playful, feminine style. She often wore bright colours, playful prints, and flared skirts, paired with high heels and bold accessories. Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress known for her sultry, androgynous style. She often wore tailored suits and tuxedos, and her signature look included a slicked-back hairstyle and bold makeup.
These actresses embodied the style and glamour of the 1940s, each with their own unique take on the fashion of the era. Their iconic looks continue to inspire fashion trends and serve as a source of inspiration for those seeking to recreate the timeless style of the 1940s.