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1940’s Frocks: Under Twenty Dresses

1940's Style

The 1940’s might have been a time of war and strife but it was still a brilliant style period. Women’s fashion changed completely and was as it is now an expression of a whole generation’s life experience. 40’s style dresses in particular were a huge feature in 1940’s fashion and featured heavily in films, modelling and other media. In this article we will take a little look at four dresses from the 1940’s era which perfectly encapsulated the time period and had their own cute matching dolls. But first we’ll take a look at what made 1940’s style dresses so popular and different in their day.

Fashion In The 1940’s

Fashion in the 1930’s was represented by glamour, Hollywood movie stars and a care free life. For most of the 1930’s fashion for used as a form of escapism for many men and women who were trying to escape their difficult daily lives and struggles. Men and women would look to the movies for fashion inspiration and would imagine a glamorous care free life and this was reflected in their fashion choices. The movies stars in the 30’s had their fashion choices on display as everyone rushed to emulate some stunning piece or other. White paste jewellery, rich fur and glamorous co-ordinated accessories were fashion staples for most people, and whilst the pieces looked fabulous, the fashion did not reflect real life in any way.

When the 1940’s arrived, that all changed completely. With World War Two starting in 1940 the tables turned and fashion took on a new, more functional role. Men’s fashion had stopped progressive completely with most men wearing uniforms and away fighting. As time went on women’s fashion began to echo the traditional styling choices made by men and many women began wearing coats and hats and man-made tailored dresses. The new look was certainly sombre and the fantasy fashion of the 30’s were firmly distant memories. The fashion was no longer about an idealised life but to do with responsibility and about supporting efforts made in the war through their fashion choices.  Women stayed at home and looked after household duties. They also took over the jobs that the men previously had. This wasn’t a glamorous time for women and their clothing reflected this conservative and practical era where clothing materials were limited.  The resulting look for women in the 40’s was a very uncluttered, slim look. Narrow hips, squared shoulders and skirts that fell just below the knee were the staple elements of women’s fashion.

1940’S Dresses And Matching Dolls

Miriam Franklin And The Matching Doll -Actress and dancer Miriam Franklin who danced in the musical show ‘Panama Hattie’ wore a buttoned bodice dress and black velvet halo-hat. Her costumes were so beautiful that they were copied on a miniature doll for vogue. The costume was replicated on Margit Nielson’s new flexible dolls at the time.

Eunace Healey Gets A Matching Doll – Tap dancer and actress Eunace Healey danced in the famous Al Jolsen show in 1936. In one photograph she is pictured in a beige and black Under Twenty wool dress that resembled a pinafore. She was also given a diminutive counterpart in the form of a little doll in a replica dress.

Edwina Blades And Her Doll – Edwina Blades was a magnificent ice skater and danced in the famous Centre Theatres new ice show at the time. She wore a suit with beige wool and embellished buttons, which was the perfect outfit for an afternoon tea. She also wore a beige felt hat which featured a rolled brim. A doll was made in the same suit and hat.

Nadine Gae Gets A Miniature Doll-  Nadine Gae was a talented acrobatic dancer who features in the Cole Porter show in that era. She and her own doll were dressed alike in a beige and black wool outfit with an eagle embroidered on chest and a black felt hat.

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