Well, what’s old is always new…again. Although the 1940s were about dropping dress lengths longer, practicality garments and military style, because of the war, there were many touches that have transcended the years and are born again in modern fashion. Here’s the rundown for the latest ‘40s trends that have been spotted, and the local shops to pick them up, for the vintage fashion forward Kansas City gal, of course.
Not only for cleaning and bedtime-the headscarf: This is one of the simplest, not to mention, cheapest ways to add ‘40s vintage style into your wardrobe. Scarves are found at almost any vintage shop you walk in, and are simply folded, and tied from the back of the head to a knot in the front. Hair with the scarf is usually worn in a loose bun, or a side swept up-do, and the knot can be large or small, when tied in the front. Though you may not be dressing to work on the assembly line, like the 1940s iconic picture of Rosie the Riveter, this trend is great with a whimsical, button down top or a vintage pencil skirt, alike.
Private eye style- knee length coats/trenches: Even if a maxi length coat made of wool or fur could be afforded in a 1940s female’s budget, at the time, the knee length coat came into spotlight because of fabric restrictions. Clothing companies were producing conservative coat styles with less fabric and little or no design or print. The women’s coats needed to be versatile, matching the rest of their wardrobe as well as timeless, to wear for seasons to come. Little did they know then, that the timeless trench would make an appearance now, and be in demand in 2012.
Your boyfriend’s tie-masculine style: Because fabric restrictions were in place, it made the most sense to design women’s suits based on the designs, cuts and fabrications of a man’s suit. Also, with the war, patriotism became a new “trend” of the time; garments were designed to resemble military styles which became a way for fashion to pay homage to wartime and hard work. Style and design was also discouraged from having decorative details like ruffles and lace, so American designers found inspiration in men’s clothing and utilitarian design. The 1940’s men’s style has carried through the decades, and has since made appearances in all types of design. The ‘40s masculine style is a huge trend for women now.
Lapels with a touch of feminine- the floral dresses: World War II began in 1939, soft pretty dresses began to be replaced with boxy and sharp stiff-edge cut dresses, masculine blazers and knee-length skirts. The feminine ‘30s took a backseat because of wartime style; practicality won, and sweet touches were not even considered. Though they were using what they had to, women were not feeling feminine, so the era compromised, and the trend of rayon floral print dresses with semi boxed sleeves and knee-length hems was born. Because embellishments were looked down upon, dresses still took on masculine qualities like lapels, box cut sleeves and skirts with slender pleats. Frill and lace was few and far between. Because the dress was such a statement, it has survived the test of time, and for a good, stylish reason.
Old faithful- the pencil skirt: In 1942, the War Production Board announced order ”L-85″ which stated; jackets could be no more than 25 inches in length, pants no more than 19 inches in circumference at the hem, belts no more than two inches wide and heels no more than an inch high. Thus, the pencil skirt was born. Again, because of fabric restrictions the hem rose just below the knee, and the skirt was cut slender and close to the body to conserve more fabric. But, who would have thought it would be such a long-lasting hit for over 70 years now?
Fashion is, and will always be, cyclical. From the looks of things, some of the ‘40s vintage may always stick around. Let your 1940s style show Kansas City Ladies. To look for your vintage pencil skirt, floral dresses, masculine style pieces, trenches, headscarves and more, search local stores and shops like:
Re-Runs at: 4041 Broadway Street
Donna’s Dress Shop at: 1410 W 39 St
And First Fridays at the Kansas City West Bottoms, of course. 750 Wyoming Street Kansas City