The romantic, full skirted sillouette which was popular in the late 30s was put on hold.
War time meant publications such as Vogue, adopted slogans such as ''Dig for Victory''. Women were required to join the work force while their husbands went to war. Nylon stocking were rationed and women started to wear trousers.
During the war most women undertook traditionally masculine activities which imposed a suspension of social conventions regarding dress. 80,000 women undertook predominantly male roles, serving as cooks, drivers and postal storage workers in The Auxiliary Territorial Service. Previous to 1938 they wore a khaki uniform of a shirt, tie, cap, jacket and shirt. However, with the introduction of clothing rationing in June 1941, government regulations ruled practical trousers and overalls, causing fashion to take a back seat.
In response to the shortage of fabric a range of utility clothing was introduced, which used the minimum amount of cloth and was devoid of embroidery. Men’s and boy’s jackets only had three buttons and two pockets and trousers had no turn-ups. Women’s and girl’s dresses had no pleats, elastic waist bands or fancy belts. Utility shoes had a heel which was less than 2 inches.
Silk was banned from civillian use. It was used for parachutes. American soldiers became a source for nylon stockings.
The war encouraged people to reuse their old dresses/trousers etc by sewing up any holes or snags. This was called make-do and mend.
Hairstyles were the 1st vestige of glamour that women hung to, they grew it long, curled it and bound it up in turbans.