1940s Women’s Fashion: The Classic Beauty in Europe with Background

If someone calls you haltingly “S-o-o-bee-oo-ti-ful”, definitely that person puts a smile on your face! This means you are conventionally attractive, maybe you are male or female. The attributes will vary over time and cultures, but they tend to back to the same basic set of features. Hence, congratulations, if you are a “classic beauty”. 

If you are female, it means you have large eyes, long and thick hair, a dainty nose, high cheekbones, full lips, a heart-shaped face, and an overall balanced, symmetrical, and delicate face. Your physique should have the traditional hourglass figure – your bust and hips should be roughly the same size while you have a slim waist and height of average tend to fare the best in general.

Now I want to discuss the basic criteria for becoming so popular in classical beauty of 1940s women’s fashion through the renowned platform newsforshopping, a sustainable website for makeup and beauty tips.

It will be more relevant to discuss the beauty of 1940s women’s fashion in European countries and the historical background around this continent. 

1940s Women’s Fashion: A Classic Beauty Journey With History

Now we are moving on to look at the women’s fashions associated with the 1940s. Fashion development slowed down during the First World War (1914 – 1918) and female fashion developed during the Second World War(1939 -1945).

There were many glamorous female figures highlighted, particularly the American trends, but Britain developed its own style due to the French fashion houses being inaccessible to Britain under the German occupation of France.

During the German Occupation, the tailoring industry was tightly regulated in Paris. The extreme wartime and postwar rations were imposed on textiles and leather goods in Great Britain. At that time, the US fabrics were a little less scarce due to domestic cotton production.

Concept of Rationing on Fabric:

Different measures were taken to conserve resources and ration clothing to better equip the war efforts and recovery throughout Europe during World War II’s six-year span and several years beyond.

Strict rationing on fabric was introduced at the beginning of the Second World War and garments had to be brought with rationing coupons. The British government got leading London designers involved with creating clothes for people to buy.

The Crucial Role of the Designer:

The clothes of designers were submitted through the incorporated society of London fashion designers not always obvious from the black and white pictures, but often in rich pinks, yellows, greens, and blues.

Utility dressing was the biggest trend at the beginning of the 1940s. It developed its own category of clothes and was a description of style without extra decoration. The French designers took back the helms of fashion and guided the decade in a new direction, following the liberation of Paris.

The Design Of Some Fashionable Items: A Drastic Change

Some design-changing status in various fashionable things have been elaborated on in the succeeding section for 1940s women’s fashion.

Women’s Dresses:

The women’s dresses in the 1940s become shorter with the start of the war and strict rationing on fabric. The 1940s brought them up to knee length and the war affected the top of the dress. Their clothes took on a masculine militant look with the invention of shoulder pads.

The neckline of the 1940s dress came in a variety of cutouts such as slit, square, keyhole, sweetheart, cross front, or even V with shirtwaist tops.

The evening dresses were long and sleek in the early years and full by the end of the decade. Women embraced colorful patterns with contrasting trims to forget the depressing war and more fabric choices were available. The material of American cotton was light and airy and was suitable for house dresses. 

The women with matured bodies found themselves shopping for clothing with a different eye on fashion, a plus size fashion in the 1940s was not something overlooked.   

Women’s Suit:

The popularity of the two-piece suit, known as the utility or victory suit, was developed due to the shortage of fabric. These remained popular even after the war due to their comfort and practicality. The bolero jacket, suit jacket, and suit skirts were worn over the blouse.

There were no pleats to the skirts due to fabric rationing in the early 1940s. Later pleats started to appear and a wider A-shape, even with some skirts had pockets.


The next part of the suit could also be worn plain or with a light cardigan sweater over it. It could be a solid color or a fun striped pattern, and also short and long-sleeved with a round collar, neck opening, or small v-neck.


Factory-working women of the 1940s primarily wore men’s pants. Later they changed the pattern like high waited, zippered down the side, and had full legs with wide cuffs at the bottom. These were made of cotton or wool blends. 

Coats or Jackets:

The coats worn by the women of the 1940s were long, coming to just below the knee with various winter colors. 

The wool trench coat also called a wrap coat was somewhat loose-fitting, but properly sized with a wide pointed collar. A two inches thick belt tied at the waist usually had two slit pockets on the sides.

The US polo jacket or box coat was one of the most iconic coat styles of the 1940s. Its long version was the swagger or flare back coat that fit wide and boxy but came down to below the thigh or knee. The women of the 1940s wore these coats mismatched with plain skirts, house dresses, and dressy pants.


The women who started working in the factories after the 1940s needed clothing that was safe to wear around machinery and would not caught in the moving parts. In the beginning, women wore men’s trousers, but promptly the manufacturers started making trousers specifically for women.


In the 1940s, women’s jewellery also played an important role during the somber wartime. Large-flowered clips, colorful necklaces, and chunky earrings add charms to plain clothing. Flags, victory signs, and red, white, and blue gems kept women feeling patriotic themes, focusing on their duty. The classic pearl necklace and some plastic-made jewelry never went out of style but became affordable.


Leather was needed for the war. Hence, women’s shoes came in reptile skins, mesh, velvet, and all wood. The heels of the shoes were short and thick in the early 40s and slightly thinner in the late 1940s. The single or two-tone oxford and saddle shoes were the more casual styles and comfortable too. 

Apart from the various fashionable items discussed above, many other things were responsible for defining the beauty of 1940s women’s fashion such as 

Makeup Kits





Handbags And Purses:

Bra, Underwear And Stockings:

Swimsuits, Beachwear, and many more.

The Concept Of Rayon: A New Introduction

More fabric and a wide range of choices were available after ending the rationing in the late 1940s. It was promptly taken up and the design became more colorful with various patterns and contrasting borders. The rayon, a newly developed fabric was introduced. After the war, some people thought it was a setback in the progress of women’s clothing as it was distinctly feminine.

6 Sources To Find The 1940s Women’s Clothing And Reproduction Online:

Still, it is possible to find both vintage 1940s women’s clothing and reproductions online including:

  • The Rusty Zipper. 
  • Revamp Vintage.
  • Blue Velvet Vintage.
  • Circa Vintage clothing.
  • Unique Vintage.
  • Dorothea’s clothing.

The Wrapping Up:

As we have reached the end of this content, we have to say that the classic 1940s women’s fashion is the wartime style. So many fashionable items including trousers used by the women of the 1940s, never went completely out of fashion and the women having had a taste of the working life struggled to stay in their workplace.

At this stage, I can believe that you have gathered lots of information after visiting the website newsforshopping. Do you want to enhance your knowledge through this platform? Stay connected with me for another informative content in the future. 


What is the importance of 1940s clothing?

The clothing style of the 1940s gives us a perfect example of how much fashion is influenced by social situations, politics, and culture. 

Which government did launch CC41?

The Government of Great Britain launched a utility clothing scheme known as CC41.

Who were the designers in the 40s for new styles and materials?

Some designers pioneering new styles and materials in the 40s were Bonnie Cashin, Vera Maxwell, and Ann Klein.

Who were The Fashion Icons in the decade of the 40s?

Movies and film stars such as Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, and more set the standards for beauty and fashion in the 1940s women’s style.

About Sarah Jay

I enjoy Web Development ,writing and I write quality guest posts on topics of my interest and passion. I have been doing this since my college days. My special interests are in Web Development ,fashion, Jewelry and following the latest trends in these areas.

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