Fashion of the 1930s through the 1950s (1) Fashion of thirties corresponded to socio-political realities of this historical period. The Great Depression deprived people of their vision of future as such that is going to be defined by technological progress alone. This produced a great disillusionment among citizens, which is why fashion of thirties can be defined by designers attempts to find inspiration in the past, while it is also can be described as being very practical. Womens fashion of thirties exploits feminine motives, while being more oriented to satisfy the esthetical aspirations associated with maturity. The fabrics that were being extensively used during this period usually incorporate realistically depicted flowers, as part of ornamentation. The most famous fashion idols of thirties, such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, had a doll-like appearance, while radiating eccentricity and independence.
Women strived to wear necklaces and earrings, because it was considered as necessary part of fashion statement. Mens fashion of the time is associated with striped fabrics being used to make suits. Men also liked to wear vests over their shirts, with a pocket watch as its essential attribute. We can say that fashion trends of thirties were based on distinct separation of feminine and masculine motives, in the line of clothing, which can be explained by the fact that, prior to WW2, the idea of womens emancipation was not very popular. (2) While during WW1 women used to replace men as factory workers, the WW2 saw many women being in active service. Therefore, we can say that militarist motives equally affected mens and womens fashion, during forties.
... for men has become a huge part of women's fashion. More and more women got exposed to the working environment, thus ... Equality has broken the boundaries of today's fashion between both sexes. Women's fashion has changed from wearing decorous clothes at home ... to improve oppressed condition of women, helped the advancement of suffrage and women's rights. Fashion changes reflected this gradual success ...
The skirts became shortened to knee line, for very practical reason, as it was allowing women greater freedom of movements. At the same time, womens jackets and blouses were being equipped with shoulder pads, in order to provide ladies with masculine appearance. The beginning of forties was marked with womens clothing becoming even more practical, even though it remained distinctively feminine. The popularity of bright colored fabrics was significantly decreased, with majority of women preferring to wear skirts and jackets colored in field-grey and field-green, which corresponded to their subconscious desire to help the war effort. We can say that the origins of womens business style can be traced to forties, as period when women started to gain a social prominence, for the first time in history. Mens fashion of forties can be characterized by the same motives. Its primary function was emphasizing masculinity.
The woolen sweaters, which were originally designed to be used by sailors, paratroopers and members of Special Forces, also became increasingly popular among civilian men. Thus, the fashion of forties can be described as esthetical sublimation of militarism. As such, it has objective properties, which explains why, even today, the WW2 pilot leather jacket is a necessary accessory of just about any macho man. (3) After WW2, the male population, in countries affected by hostilities, was significantly reduced. Therefore, it was necessary to replenish it with the mean of getting as many women impregnated as possible. In its turn, it resulted in womens fashion of fifties becoming very feminine again, which was meant to make them more sexually appealing.
The generation of baby-boomers is closely associated with the fact that peoples sexual activity, during fifties, became significantly increased. Fashion of fifties adopted esthetical ideas of Renaissance, when womens dresses were meant to accentuate their ability to give birth to healthy offspring. Women used to wear colorful dresses and poodle skirts, which could be easily lifted up at cars back seat. It used to be very fashionable for women to be slightly plump, as it was being thought of as indication of their biological healthiness. The esthetical ideal of fifties plump housewife with white apron over her poodle skirt and aggressively red lipstick on her lips. Mens fashion of fifties is associated with adoption of flowers, as decorative element, on short-sleeved shirts and with jeans changing its status from work-wear to casual wear.
... . This delay has led many observers to conclude that the midi was a “flop,” because women no longer “obeyed fashion ... fashion industry continually snubbed the move to mid-calf hemlines. “It took another year or two before most women began to wear longer skirts ... becoming more than work wear, woman’s trousers as more then informal wear and the midi skirt fiasco where the consumer ...
Bayley, Jan French, American & British Wartime Fashions.
2007. 1940.CO.UK. 29 Nov. 2007. http://www.1940.co.uk/index.shtml History of Fashion 1940-1950. 2006. American Vintage Blues. 29 Nov. 2007. http://www.vintageblues.com/history4.htm Fashion. 2007.
Wikipedia. 29 Nov. 2007. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion Weston, Pauline 1930s Fashion History: Stylish Thirties. 2007. Fashion-Era.Com. 29 Nov. 2007. http://www.fashion-era.com/stylish_thirties.htm.