I’m having a few technical difficulties with scanning things right now, so I decided instead of beating my head against the proverbial brick wall, I’d gather up some of my favorite images from the 40s I’ve scanned and shared here over the years. If you’ve not been reading this blog very long, these might be new to you! But for longtime readers, I hope this is a pleasant and inspiring walk down memory lane…
Nothing screams “1940s” quite like big, gorgeous flowers in the hair!
I adore these ensembles–especially the polka dot suit with the scalloped jacket closure.
You know, summer is right around the corner for many of us… (It may not feel like it though, depending on where you live!)
The 1940s was the decade of “ingenious fashion”, and this instructional for scarf tying really shows how repurposed fashion made even humble accessories go further.
The humble beret–or “pancake” style hat–was a popular style for 1940s headwear. The style came in many shapes, sizes and materials, as evidenced by this catalog page.
I love these beautiful cotton day dresses and dressmaker suits–cotton was a popular material during the war years and worked well with many styles. The bias plaid dress at the top is my favorite! I suspect the print was just a bias pattern on straight-grain fabric, rather than a bias cut, since wartime fabric restrictions usually prohibited the use of bias on a large scale since it ate up too much fabric.
The decade really excelled at tailoring, and coats from this era still look as fresh today as they did then! I just adore the baby blue of this wrap-style coat. Would brighten up any dreary winter day!
Housecoats were a wardrobe staple in the 1940s–and who would argue with these (no doubt brightly) printed cotton gowns to wear at home? Such a pretty way to start the day!
These suits are from the post-war period, just as the silhouette was beginning to change from the narrower silhouette of the early decade to the fuller “New Look” Dior would popularize (though other designers were dabbling in the more extravagant silhouette) in the late 40s. The suit with the fur cuffs is the ultimate in luxury!
More suits! These are from the very end of the decade, right after the hourglass silhouette took over and skirts lengthened from knee-grazing to mid-calf. I love the details and cut of suits on this page–simple, but classic and not too boring!
While this ad was for stockings, the dress really takes center stage! Novelty prints were extremely popular during the 1940s and 1950s, and this bright red dress has horses scattered across it. Popular subject matter ranged from travel themes, to Americana and patriotic motifs, to figural (some of the most abstract prints are in this category), and animals–of either the more realistic or fanciful variety.
More dresses that would be perfect made up in crisp cottons! These date from 1947, right as the New Look was ready to burst on the scene. You can see a bit of softening of the silhouette and fullness, but the dresses still maintain an interest in wide shoulders and a more demure bustline (rather than the pointed, hourglass bustline that would be popularized in the 1950s by such starlets as Marilyn Monroe).
Finally, this is probably my favorite novelty print dress ever! It’s little delivery boys carrying stacks of boxes and what-not scattered across. How darling is that?! According to the ad it came in pink, blue, aqua or gray–wouldn’t it be neat to find one of these dresses?
I hope you enjoyed looking through all these lovely examples of 1940s fashion! Any details that really catch your eye?