By: Belle Wilmot
Bugs Bunny is introduced in the cartoon “A Wild Hare”, Auschwitz opens, ballpoint pens go on sale, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, the first McDonalds opens it’s doors, Hitler escapes assassination, a decapitated rooster lives for 18 months, and an atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By now you’re probably asking yourself how could all these seemingly unrelated things be on a list together? Well, to let you in on a little secret, they all happened during the 1940’s.
The 40s were an extremely diverse time full of great inventions but also of horrible and unforgettable atrocities. The biggest and most influential atrocity being World War II. I’d hope we all know a little something about that, so not to get into too much detail but it has something to with a guy named Adolf Hitler. During World War II fashion was impacted and affected greatly, even during a time when the world felt like it was crumbling apart, fashion is still at the forefront. A few of the major ways fashion was influenced was due to the fact that women now had to enter the work force and materials were being rationed. Instead of being adorned in beautiful and feminine dresses, their clothing had to permit them to do a man’s job. Women had to work with what they already owned and wear overalls and boiler suits now that they were in the workforce.
Fast forward to 1947, the war has been over for 2 years and the US is aching to get back to the way things were and move away from the horror of World War II. To move past the rationing and the masculinity of women’s clothing and bring femininity back, Christian Dior creates his ever so famous “New Look”. This “New Look” accentuated women’s tiny waists and voluptuous hips, a complete contrast to their overalls and boiler suits. Even with such a small change in fashion, this was a way of getting back to normalcy, return to femininity, and a way to remember the luxury that was once there.
Looking at fashion in today’s society there are still aspects of 1940’s clothing that is prevalent now. No matter which season or year you choose there are always fashion shows with a little 40s influence; like Marc by Marc Jacobs or Bottega Veneta in Fall 2013 or now with Miu Miu’s Spring 2015 collection, you’ll always find a little hint. Some women still want to show off their figures with cinched in waists and fitted skirts and there are women who would rather add some masculinity to their wardrobe with pants instead. So, whether you’re a tomboy or a girlie girl looking for fashion inspiration, the 1940s has quite the array to choose from and is a great starting point for a little daily inspiration.
Freeman, H. (2000). 1940s fashion. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2000/aug/04/fashion1
Hull. (n.d.). 1940s Fashion – Rationing and Making do. Retrieved from http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/museumcollections/collections/storydetail.php?irn=234
Rosenberg, J. (n.d.). 1940s History Timeline. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/timelines/tp/1940timeline.htm