Here's today's style challenge, my tribute to the Thrifty Forties, a decade of wartime imposed frugality. In the grip of the Second World War the British were urged to be thrifty and to make do and mend. Women patched their pre-war suits , darned their frocks and converted their husband's worn-out trousers into serviceable skirts. Wedding dresses were lent out time and time again until eventually being remade into underwear. Salvaged parachutes were also refashioned into underwear.
Due to a nylon scarcity, ladies were encouraged to wear ankle socks or to paint their legs with gravy browning with a hand-drawn line up the back of the leg to give the impression of seamed stockings.
Many women worked in factories and on the land, so hair, now worn to shoulder length or longer, was pinned up at the front in reverse Victory rolls and the back was tied up in a turban or crocheted snood.
Due to the dirt in factories the wearing of make-up was actively encouraged, pancake foundation and powder acting as a barrier to the airborne nasties. Women working in munitions factories often had skin that had gone canary yellow from the chemicals. Lipstick was generally a vibrant red (or Boots' Gay Geranium, a shade still produced today) and eyeliner was worn on the upper eye only. Max Factor was a popular make-up brand of the era.
|Austin Reed of Regent Street skirt suit (Car boot sale), Plummer Rhodes swing coat (Inherited from my Grandmother), Modern Wood wedges (TopShop), Leather Gladstone bag (Jumble Sale), Enamel clip earrings (Charity shop)|
Due to neither substance being a rationed commodity, shoes often had wood or cork wedges. Despite the severity of the war years colour was popular, vibrant corals and reds were a popular clothing choice if material was available.