The war had much effect on fashion as clothes were in short supply and rationed. The government encouraged people to 'Make do and mend'. Older clothes were transformed into modern styles.
Many women wore short skirts and sensible 'flat heeled' shoes. It was very unusual to see women wearing trousers.
In 1940 various brands of leg make-up appeared on the market because of the short supply of stockings. Women drew seams with eyebrow pencil down the back of each leg to give the appearance of wearing stockings.
In March 1941 Ernest Bevin, Minister for Labour called on the women of Britain to help the war effort. Women stopped wearing fancy clothes and started wearing trousers or dungarees instead. They often wore a scarf which was tied around the head to protect against the risk of hair getting caught in the machines.
See photographs taken during the war
Until the 1950s, young people tended to dress in similar ways to their parents and listen to similar music.
In the early 1950s girls wore their hair in high ponytails but as the years passed, they developed new hairstyles. Girls would spend hours arranging their hair. They built huge 'beehives' by backcombing their hair and piling it up on top. Each night they went to bed in rollers to make their hair full. They also used a lot of hairspray to keep their hair in place.
The 1950s also saw denim jeans worn for fashion the first time. Before they had been purely 'work' trousers for dirty jobs!
Boys started wearing more colourful clothes and some became 'teddy boys'. They wore long, often brightly coloured jackets with thin velvet lapels. Trousers were tight 'drainpipes' which were straight all the way down. Shoes were thick rubber soles. Boys greased their hair with tubs of Brylcream and pulled a big floppy fringe forward in a quiff. They wore thin bootlace ties and luminous socks.
Fashion during the War times - Uniforms for women
Fashion Through The Decades
A brief look at the fashions of the twentieth century from the 1920's - 1990's
THE PICTURE GALLERY
pictures and photographs of fashion from 1920-1990
Rationing of Clothes