1940s Style: The Factory Girl to The New Look
Los Angeles Confidential Magazine recently featured a spread on an updated 1940s look for Fall, which sparked today’s post. But before we get into all of the amazing vintage pieces we found on etsy and eBay this week, we have a mini fashion history lesson.
Women joined the workforce en masse in the early 1940s as all the men went off to fight in the War. From the kitchen to the factory, from making pies to welding ships, women did it all.
During the War years (1939 – 1945), women’s apparel emphasized broad, square shoulders and a trim, fitted waist. Above the waist, tops featured rounded necklines and shorter collars. Below the waist, high waisted trousers, flared shorts and knee-length skirts. Below the knees, oxfords and pumps. Sadly, nylon stockings were rationed for parachutes.
Pictured above: Miss Anna Bland, a burner at the Richmond Shipyards, works on the S.S. George Washington Carver. Circa 1943.
Pictured above: Woman drills on Liberator Bomber, Consolidated Aircraft Corp., Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Howard R. Hollem. October 1942.
Post-War, factory girls retired their dungarees and took on a softer, more feminine look. Christian Dior’s debut haute couture collection, released in February 1947, signaled a triumphant return to glamour, with its sloping shoulders, cinched waist, accentuated bust and wide hips. Skirts were significantly longer and fuller than the War years. The stunning clothes, cut to emphasize the female form and made out of seemingly endless yards of luxurious fabric, were revolutionary. Dior’s collection was pronounced “The New Look” and made him a star.
Pictured above: A look from Christian Dior’s debut haute couture collection, 1947.
And now, here’s what we found on eBay and etsy this week. Click on each image below to see the full listing.
1940s style Ida trousers in red polyester from fortiesfrocks on etsy. $95.
Vintage 1940s hourglass skirt suit. $95 on eBay.
Vintage 1940s blue sheer nylon blouse. $82.99 on eBay.
Vintage 1940s rayon crepe beaded party dress on eBay. Buy it now for $329, or make an offer.
Vintage 1940s brown alligator pumps, size 8, from PsychicHeart on etsy. $62.
Vintage 1940s 3 piece cotton “Originals By Maison France” dress on eBay. $369.
1940s style hand-knitted hair tidy from thebritishhomefront on etsy. $8.
Vintage 1940s navy windowpane skirt suit from the New Look-era. Buy it now on eBay for $249.
Vintage 1940s cream ribbon knit dress on eBay. Buy it now for $249, or make an offer.
Vintage 1940s day dress on eBay. $150.
Vintage 1940s pumps, size 39. $90 on eBay.
Vintage 40s Betty Hartford suit on eBay. $75.
Vintage 1940s iridescent pink silk taffeta dress with fur trim from sazzvintage on etsy. $250.
Vintage 1940s Hattie Carnegie suit from Marshall Field Company. Buy it now on eBay for $284, or make an offer.
1940s repro playsuit made from vintage pattern and fabrics (you choose!) from nudeedudee on etsy. $185.
Vintage 1940s lace beaded gown. $112.50 on eBay.
Vintage 1940s purple blouse from wildfellhallvintage on etsy. $30.
Vintage 1940s WWII high waist flared shorts on eBay. $125.
Vintage 1940s chartreuse gabardine skirt suit on eBay. $349.
WWII era repro cotton day dress from timemachinevintage on etsy. Made from an orginal, vintage pattern. $115.
Marlene pants from VeconaVintage on etsy. $250.
1940s repro 3-piece playsuit from jacksdaughter on etsy. Made from a 1947 Simpicity pattern. $173.
New 1940s-inspired wool fedora, made to order by buygail on etsy. $75.
Vintage 1940s WWII wool plaid peplum dress on eBay. Current bid $9.99.
Vintage 1940s pinafore skirt with removeable straps from KookieKittie on etsy. $110.
Vintage 1940s wool fedora from wildfellhallvintage on etsy. $42.
Cashmere sweater ($1,235) and pencil skirt ($950) by Nina Ricci. Maxi leather shoes by Brian Atwood ($939). Photo courtesy of LA Confidential Magazine.
Vintage original “New Look” era 1940s Christian Dior dress on eBay. Buy it now for $795 or make an offer.
Vintage 1940s silk wiggle dress. Current bid $17.50.
Vintage 1940s bombshell dress with huge tortoise shell buttons on eBay. $108.75.
Vintage 1940s belted wool coat on eBay. $110.