Posted by Carolyn B on March 09, 1998 at 17:28:35:
In response to WWII's effect on fashion, written by Lois on March 09, 1998 at 04:32:30
] Surely when women were recruited to play a part in production plants and factories while the men were at war, of necessity they had greater freedom as well as greater responsibilities. The clothing of the time reflected the changes in their work and personal lives, as well as an unprecedented masculinity (the introduction of trousers and padded shoulders).
] After the war, of course, all that changed. The men came home, couples reunited and women went back to their "rightful" place in the kitchen. The fashions of the times, like Dior's "new look" were expressive of the more feminine role women were expected to resume
I agree with your general theme about the war changing women's roles and clothing, but a few points:
The move away from the straight lines I referred to in my initial post seems to have started c.1932 when the big shoulder thing re-emerged (but skirts were still fairly straight). According to one costume historian in my library, padded shoulders were already in by WW2. She points out that regulations passed in 1942 (US) to conserve fabric accepted shoulder pads as part of the "basic body" because the fashion had already been around for ten years. She suggests "the emergency conditions produced by the war temporarily prevented women's fashions from evolving toward a more rounded silhouette [which would come in the 1950s as you describe], a trend that was evident as early as 1940"
(Claudia Brush Kidwell, "Gender Symbols or Fashionable Details?" in Men and Women: Dressing the Part, 1989)
P&P0 released in 1940 probably really has more of the 1930s influence and I think it has also been suggested here that Gone with the Wind (1939) might have had some impact on the costuming.
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