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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.
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White linen dress with navy blue polka dots (without jacket), c. 1940s.

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1940s Navy Blue and White Polka Dot Sleeveless Dress with Matching Short Jacket

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

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Gold silk satin evening gown with embroidered carnations, 1940s.

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Beaded red wool crepe evening dress, 1940s.

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Emerald green velveteen belted dress, 1940s. DCV.

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Emerald Green Velveteen Belted Dress circa 1940s

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Black evening coat with paillettes, by Norman Norell, American, 1941. Worn with silk net dress with paillettes.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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