Of course when we think of the 1940s we think of The War.
The decadence of the 1920s & 30s was no more as Britain pulled in its money belt and as Europe was now occupied by the enemy ,all stops must be pulled out to economise. Rationing began in Britain.
Phrases like 'Make Do & Men' were the bywords of the time. And a patriot person would do all they could to save the country from ruin and help fed & clothe the troops that fought for their freedom!
So as far as fashion goes little was achieved in Europe at this time. But America, that came into the war much later and who was vastly wealthy, had the time and the resources to be fashionable.
Nothing influenced fashion & design more in this time than Hollywood and The Movie Business.
While the rest of the world was starving for style Hollywood was busy creating Glamour!
This offered a much needed distraction from the war for many young people during this decade.
Along with Hollywood Glamour of course came Hollywood Stars.
But another influence happened too. Probably due to the war, American GIs were sent all over the world and with them they brought goodies like silk stockings, chocolate and a new kind of music & dance style.......... Swing, Jive, Boogie Woogie, & Lindyhop!
Big Bands with their Dance Tunes became big everywhere in the US & Britain they pumped out their dance tunes to hundreds of dancing couples who crowded the dance floors like never before!
Clothes for the evening were your best clothes but they were practical for fast dancing and the inevitable
'getting too hot 'easily.Everyday fashions for men & women was still the same as the previous decade, except that it was paired down from elaborate decoration, something that would be frowned upon during an austerity period. Most young men wore service uniforms anyway and woman were joining the ranks as auxiliary forces, volunteers and part- timers.
Yet this troubled time could be considered a very romantic period in history, due to the great preciousness held for life & love. Hollywood chimed the romantic ideals of this generation and set up the Matinee idol and Glamorous Stars as the pinnacle. Movies about love hard won & lost graced the screens in love stories,war movies and westerns.
Everyday Womens wear
MEN IN UNIFORM
BIG BANDS, CROONERS & JAZZ SINGERS
WOMEN IN UNIFORM
THE QUEEN during the war
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SURPRISE! Platforms were in the 1940s, not invented in 1970s!
A Practical and home made fashion style created during the war THE SNOOD
Showing the changing Dance seen in America
What was Hollywood Glamour?
The best way to describe it in a nutshell would be the word GLAMOUR.
However to describe it in a 'nutshell' defeats the purpose of Glamour itself!
As 'glamour' is suppose to 'knock your socks off'! And leave a lasting impression.
I guess that is why it has always been remembered. And since it evolved during the Golden Age of the post war era in the late 1940s, it represents all that women could ever want ( in fashion that is), supposedly? And what men find irresistible , supposedly?
So what are the main elements & themes of the fashion 'Hollywood Glamour'.
Perhaps the origin of the name gives the best clue.
Think of Hollywood and what do you think of?
Glitz, razzmatazz, richness, opulence, shining, star-like qualities. That would be it!
Fabrics reflected this 'out of this world' status of glamour. They could be celestial, moon-goddess silky and shimmery like a silver moon or rich tactile furs or fabrics( faux or otherwise) in exotic pelts representing amazon-like goddesses! The cut and style of the fashions was languorous, skimming the figure and flowing from the hips to a pool of liquid hem of satin, silk or their man-made equivalents.
The other strong element to Glamour is sexiness. Hence the 'glamour photos' that came in the 1950s and degraded afterwards and were know as 'soft porn'.
The liberated 1920-30s women would have been appalled at the reversion of women back to the domestic domain as the role of
' The Domestic Goddess' became sort after by the men and provided for by the young women of the late 1940s &1950s.
However don't be fooled by the 'sex kitten look' behind that purr was a lioness, raring to express herself as a strong women who really welds the power!
The fashion style reflects this self confidence, lioness qualities. Think lioness, you think,
don't mess with me!
That's the attitude of this style.
Flowing satin in figure hugging sexiness mixed with roaring wild furs
While the 1920s girls had the friendly
'Cats Me-ow' their daughters had the raaaarah of the big cat!