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August 6, 2022

35 Vintage Photos That Defined Street Fashion in the 1940s

World War II dominated the first half of the 1940s as well as fashions in the Western world. Materials such as silk, nylon, wool, leather, rubber, and zippers were needed in wartime production. Clothing was rationed in the United States and parts of Europe. 1940s fashion designers had to be efficient and innovative in how they made suits, dresses, and shoes.


Millions of people dressed differently during the war. Men and women wore military uniforms. Many women donned laborer’s clothing, such as coveralls or trousers. In many situations, people had to make do with older or repurposed clothing rather than purchasing new styles and designs. Because of shortages and regulations, wealthier and poorer people were more likely to be dressed similarly.

The typical 1940s female dress silhouette was like a uniform: simple and fitted, with boxy shoulders, a slim-belted waistline, and a hemline below the knee. During this period, men not in uniform often wore suits in public. Many made do with older suits from the 1930s. Suit vests fell out of favor as an excess use of fabric. New suits were made with a wool-rayon blend instead of wool and often with patterned (especially striped) fabric.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see what people wore during the 1940s.







































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