1940s Fashion Inspiration


Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/83105555599007065/

Thanks to a sewing girlfriend I was greeted by a 1940s fashion inspiration sewing tutorial link that sent me off on a 1940s fashion inspiration tirade in cyberspace plus made my day.    Sew much so that I had to blog about it and share with you.  Can you say any excuse to hoard, post, and share pictures?   I like the way Annie Rosean put it:

“There’s something incredibly attractive about fashion from the 1940s. With special attention to cuts that fell on all the right places, this was a period that defined what is today known as “classic”.


When I began my sojourn into making vintage style clothing for my wardrobe makeover I thought my interests were confined to the 1950s.  Oh how wrong I was?  Really, I should have known better because for one shoulder pads have always caught my eye.  I like how they reshape the silhouette making the waist appear smaller.  They are featured in pre-1950 fashions.  As seen in the photograph below shoulder width was emphasized via the use of pads.  “The prevailing shape at the time became starker, highlighting the specific contours of the body rather than draping and disguising them in softness.”


Credit: Blue Velvet Vintage

I had to include this beautiful coif.  I just might try this when my hair grows back.  Too bad I  wasn’t into retro hairstyles before I cut mine all off last year.  Oh, I probably would have cut it anyway, I was tired of it.  Yet, I digress, this reminds me, if any of you know of vintage style make-up and hair tips for women of color will you please stand up?  I am continually searching for such information on the web and have yet to find anything significant.

1940s hair black woman


Credit: Form Follows Function

Words of the day in the early 40s because of the war:


Requisitioning of fabric; i.e., silk, nylon, and clothing dye became the norm.   Attire became all about practicality versus high fashion.  “Simple blouses and un-elaborate jackets becoming predominant.”  I just learned that man-made fabric came on the scene during the 40’s out of necessity.  Makes a lot of sense.

Feedsack Dress

Tales of the “Feedsack Dress” reside in the recesses of my mind but did not know they were real!  Humph, these don’t look half as bad as the name implies.  However, when you think of why they came about I am sure they were not the preferred frock.

Apparently Rosie wasn’t the only one riveting in the 40’s.








Sobriety from electronic sewing machines since 2012

Credits:  http://www.rehabs.com/explore/womens-body-image-and-bmi/


4 thoughts on “1940s Fashion Inspiration

  1. Bit late with the comments here–love the post! I’m a fan of 40’s fashion also. For the makeup question, I can’t address African-American issues directly, as I am the definition of a “paleface.” Extremely pale. But my mother was in elementary school during the war, and considers lipstick a necessity. Her older sisters came home from work wearing snoods and red lipstick, and my mom was so jealous of them. And red lipstick seems to be the standard color for everyone at that time. So find yourself a good red for your skin color. And a dab of mascara. Other makeup was often too scarce or expensive. Snoods are a good choice for long hair also. They came about as factory workers needed to keep their hair out of the way. Simply pull the hair back and catch it in the snood, and bobby pin it to the crown and sides. Then only the front hair needs to rolled into those lovely coils, which probably have “rats” inside them. These are still available at beauty supply places, such as Sally’s. (Love that glam portraint in the middle of your post.) The kerchief look in the last picture was also very common for house and factory work. I can’t address how to handle the texture difference between our hair, but from what little I’ve seen, hairstyles were similar for all ethnicities. Snoods are easy to crochet using crochet thread–I made one last years for a 40’s Halloween costume. My hair was almost too short for it–I need to look into short 40’s hairstyles.

    Feedsack dresses and clothing were common, and the prints are quite pretty. The fabric is a tight-weave cotton and is quite soft after a good washing. My grandma said she would only use them for undergarments and night clothes–she didn’t like using them for dresses. My dad does remember the occasional shirt made from plain feedsacking. They made lovely quilts though, and she used lots of them for that.


    1. Hello there:

      Oh, I don’t mind you stopping in late, early, whatever. 🙂

      Good idea regarding the lipstick. Grinning, that would definitely take some getting used to for me though red is my favorite color. As you stated it’s about finding “the” one for my color and I know it ain’t of the fire engine variety, LOL.

      I too crocheted a beautiful snood a couple of summers ago. Never wore it for some reason. Then, last fall I cut my hair ALL off. The hubby was livid and when I tell you livid that’s putting it mildly. He burned rubber leaving the drive. I like them and as my locks grow back I will incorporate them in helping me achieve the period look.

      As far as “textural” differences of our hair, unless your hair is type 1 (bone straight) you might be surprised. My father’s grandmother was from Europe, and white as the driven snow. My hair is a type 3B or C (wavy), not course and very soft. The hubby’s children were surprised (shall I say it, “shocked”) when I allowed them to touch it. They, of course, had never felt a Black woman’s hair. It was quite funny.

      Thank you for the feedsack information too. How informative.



      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I have no idea about my hair type. I’ve never heard of a type system for hair. I have a lot, because I have a large head, but it’s extremely fine. It was mostly straight until years ago when my kid was born. After the birth, it started growing in more curly, and now I have fat curls and waves. I usually keep it shorter to allow the curls maximum play. I just have memories of my black friends and I in junior high and college having various discussions on how we took care of our own hair and how different hair care was. But you’re right, hair texture varies widely in all ethnicities. I really need to look up shorter 40’s hair styles before I wear that costume again. Although the snood kept the gas mask straps from snarling up my hair.

        From your about page, it looks like you’re rather dark, so maybe a deeper, rich red would work better than fire engine. (Makeup and costuming are hobbies of mine, so feel free to ignore my nosy 2 cents and tell me if I’m outta line.)



      2. Hi there, Rita:

        Before I forget you have got to check out this link http://www.naturallycurly.com/hair-types; it’s interesting and informative. I found out all about hair typing when I was a member of Long Hair Care Forum. Following the precepts and advice there I grew my hair to approximately 4″ above my, er ah, hiney, giggles! That’s why hubby got his panties all in a knot when I cut it last fall. Oh, I forgot, he says he “don’t wear panties”. Anywho . . .

        Gas masks, oh my! I’ll bet Pinterest has a heapa bunch of short 40s hair styles!

        Nooo, honey, you are NOT outta line. I love, love the comraderie the Internet opens up. Were it not for the ‘Net you and I wouldn’t even have “met”. You know, my DD works at Sephora and I love what she can do with make-up. It’s nothing short of miracles. One time I was viewing a portfolio of hers and commented on how pretty one of the women looked. She looked at me and said, “Ma, that’s a man”. Girl, she made him up so good I could have sworn I saw breasts, LOL. She said he was walking downtown and she approached him and asked if she could make him up and he consented. That’s when I found out she had that talent for I had no idea.

        Me on the other hand am glamorously challenged. I am the quintessential Ivory girl, I give you clean and deodorized. The other girly stuff I need to learn and have to admit, yes, I look better with make-up. Sadly, me and the semi-new hubby are building a small family farm and I have let myself go ever further. So, in addition to rebuilding my wardrobe I am working to force myself to make up even if only when I leave the house. Any advice is more than welcome here and thanks for piping up; I needed it.




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