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Women's Work Wardrobes Through the Decades

Nealeigh Mitchell | Excelle

November 11, 2010



1940s Style


Even with World War II raging and wartime rationing putting a damper on flair, women still managed to turn the simple into the elegant. While the everyday lady of leisure never stepped out in anything but a dress, women working in factories and shops relied on comfort over elegance. Due to limited materials and diminishing stock, many women wore service uniforms and mended clothing around the clock.

However, practicality couldn’t keep a stylish woman down. Minimalism was encouraged and women used scarce fabrics to their advantage, turning drab into sexy. Scarce nylon stocking meant showing bare legs (scandalous!) and limited materials meant shorter skirts and jackets. Suits were often made of recycled fabrics but still cut with a feminine edge. While most sets consisted of knee-length skirts and blouses, trousers burst onto the scene, thanks to film star Marlene Dietrich. However, dresses, peplum and full skirts remained the style of the times. Scarves, elaborate accessories and hats helped add a little oomph to the dark times.

1950s Style →


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