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The Way We Wore: The 1940's.

World War II dominated the decade of the Forties. As the conflict spread, all resources were conserved and given defense priority. Fashion excesses were out; rationing in. Two-pants suits, vests, trouser cuffs, and long skirts were deemed wasteful. New synthetic fibers were developed that would soon enter the world of fashion. The broad-shouldered "drape" suit continued in style but gradually became less fitted in the waist and hips. Military dress again influenced fashion styling for both men and women. As in World War I, women entered the work force in large numbers. Women's clothes took on a crisp, businesslike look. Shoulders broadened, defined waists returned, and skirts were shortened until they just covered the knees.

231 Pins

Beaded red wool crepe evening dress, 1940s.

Beige wool ensemble, by Vera Maxwell, American, 1945. Maxwell states that her first "real" design job was with Adler & Adler, where she worked from 1936-1937 and afterwards, found contract work to be very advantageous. Her classic, comfortable and timeless designs continued to garner praise and in 1947 she opened a business under her own name, Vera Maxwell Originals. Her career outlasted that of her contemporaries, as she did not stop designing until 1985.

Beige riding-wear-inspired ensemble (wool tweed jacket, wool pants, wool blouse, printed silk handkerchief, leather gloves), by Vera Maxwell, American, 1948.

Silk velvet evening dress with embroidered illusion neckline, by Sophie Gimbel for Saks Fifth Avenue, American, 1942.

Black wool suit with hot pink silk blouse (without jacket), by Norman Norell, American, 1941.

Norman Norell | Suit | American | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

metmuseum.org

Black wool suit with hot pink silk blouse (with jacket), by Norman Norell, American, 1941.

Norman Norell | Suit | American | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

metmuseum.org

Multi-colored sequined dress, by Normal Norell, American, early 1940s. Part of the "Subway Costume" with black wool coat with velvet collar.

Black wool coat with velvet collar, by Normal Norell, American, early 1940s. Part of the "Subway Costume" with multi-colored sequined dress.

Sequined wool evening dress, attributed to Norman Norell for Hattie Carnegie, Inc., American, 1940-45.

Red silk evening dress with pussycat bow tie, by Norman Norell, American, 1942.

Black wool "Subway" cocktail dress with faux gem embellishment, by Norman Norell, American, 1942.

Sequined black silk evening dress, by Norman Norell, American, 1949.

Ensemble (black wool sweater, sequined skirt, and black leather belt), by Norman Norell, American, 1942.

Two-tone wool coat, by Marguerite Zorach, American, ca. 1940.

Plaid wool suit, by Lucien Lelong, French, 1946.

Lucien Lelong | Suit | French | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

metmuseum.org

Black and red sheer cotton mull dress, Hungarian, 1940s.

IMM gyűjtemények | gyujtemeny.imm.hu

collections.imm.hu

Black wool and silk tuxedo, by Brooks Brothers, American, 1948.

Man's evening suit, by Brooks Brothers, American, 1947.This set of evening coordinates is unusual in its completeness. Made by Brooks Brothers, a well-known high-quality American menswear maker, it features an unusual piqué pattern on vest. The mock-front and real center-back-button closure of the shirts makes for cleaner, smoother look.

Red silk dinner dress (with matching sandal), by Jessie Franklin Turner, American, 1942.

Pale smoke blue chiffon evening dress with embroidered "feather" appliqués (detail), probably European, ca. 1948. Tirelli Trappetti Foundation.

Authentics Collection - Tirelli Trappetti Foundation

tirelli-costumi.com

Pale smoke blue chiffon evening dress with embroidered "feather" appliqués, probably European, ca. 1948. Tirelli Trappetti Foundation.

Authentics Collection - Tirelli Trappetti Foundation

tirelli-costumi.com

Black silk evening gown with gold beaded floral appliqués, probably European, 1938-1940. Tirelli Trappetti Foundation.

Authentics Collection - Tirelli Trappetti Foundation

tirelli-costumi.com

Pink silk taffeta evening dress, by Henri Bendel, American, 1941.

Novelty print silk evening dress, by Henri Bendel, American, 1940.