PAS6: 40s means business

The 1940s were a turbulent time in American history considering that our nation was thrusted into the greatest international conflict in American history. Although the change in dress during this decade reflects that, it doesn’t quite do so in the way one would think. The 1940s can be characterized as a fairly plain era for fashion. During this era the United States was rationing material used to make clothing, making high end fabric and clothing in short supply. Therefore, at this time clothes had to be all purpose – which led to the emergence of the modern women’s skirt suit. Further this type of professional dress for women also became essential as women became much more involved in the work force due to second world war. Now when we see women dressed in these plain colors with fairly simple designs we think of them as businesswomen – they do all the talking and their clothes do not. It would be inferred due to this common knowledge that when women dress in this manner they are emphasizing that they would like to be taken seriously in their profession. Of course , however, they still can look good in the business world as you can see below!

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The development of the women’s suit is also a part of the revolution of two piece clothing as opposed to one piece. Prior to this era most clothing for women was found in the form of a one piece dress – but again due to the need to the need for versatility two piece clothing became essential for everyday functions.

Conversely, high fashion also began to develop in this time to accommodate for the closing gap in the manner of dress for the wealthy and lower class. Although the dress of this era is notably very plain, it is easy to discern the quality of the apparel from the model and the clean, well put together look that exudes her in the 3rd picture below. Another aspect of high fashion was the trend of famous women wearing slacks for fashion, which became socially acceptable for women to wear in a casual setting. All of the looks below are part of high fashion in the 1940s, which seems strange because of their simplicity – but the most important thing that can be said about this era is that it was all about quality not quantity. Further women being thrusted into the workplace and dressing in these plain outfits put more of an emphasis on their personality and ability than their taste in clothes.

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Due to the simplicity of the clothing and and the idea that the quality of these designs does enough resonates heavily into todays fashion. As of late many designer brand names have been less ardent about plastering their name and logo all over every piece of merchandise. Why? Because no one wants to be a billboard – everyone wants to let their own personality shine through their appearance, and thats something that designers of the 1940s embraced which is why these 1940s looks are so popular right now. Remember, sometimes less is more!


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