Friday, 21 October 2011

Fabulous Forties Fashion: Ultra Sexy, Ultra Feminine

On top of my trend list for Autumn/Winter 2011 is the Forties look which can easily be worked by every body shape ! Fashion in the forties was all about womens liberation, following World War II the place of the woman was displaced in society. Suddenly women had to be stronger and no longer just housewives, and in some homes they started to take on the roles of men and also in the workplace. This obviously had a huge social impact especially in the fashion industry. This trend was soon translated in fashion as Powerful & Confident while still being Sexy & Feminine.
The true hallmarks of fashion in the early 1940s included an austere silhouette with narrow hips, padded shoulders, and all manner of hats. The working-class look of icons such as Rosie de Riveter became chic, as women of all social standings joined the war effort. They kept things going at home, taking over the jobs – and the closets – of husbands and other male relatives. Class barriers fell and people dressed down. It was considered gauche to be showy during a time of shortage. Designers flexed their creative muscle – even creating beautifully decorated gas masks for eveningwear!

The easiest way to work this look is wearing Blazers, Dresses and tops with cinched in waists (an effect that can be gotten with thin belts), wide pallazo trousers with masculine fits and long/mid-length jackets and wide fitting hats. A major key to this trend is accesorizing -accessories are always key !
I especially love this era in fashion because it was ultra feminine, the essence was in creating a hourglass shape, hemlines were below the knee and necklines were high. It had a soft romantic aura.
 Recognize the special features of the '40s dress that make it special in the history of fashion. The '40s dress is:

  • Flattering to the female figure; classic in style, emphasizes the waist, producing an "hourglass" silhouette.

  • Had shoulder pads in dresses, blouses, shirts and coats to make shoulders square with a military feel.

  • The two piece skirt suit became very popular in the 40's.
  • Skirts and dresses were A-line in shape (not pencil tight) and dropped down to the low knee. This was shorter then the 1930's and set the standard for the 50's.
    This period inspired some of the pieces from my Spring/Summer 2011 collection as seen below. images from
My favourite look from this era is the Peplum Skirt. It has it's roots in the 19th century but didnt really take off till the 1940s and thanks to Ms Bradshaw in SATC it was revived in the noughties too.
The Peplum is fun because it goes against  all the usual "does my bum look big in this" style conventions and looks surprisingly chic.
Many varieties of peplums were in vogue: butterfly, bustle and gathered peplums were a few. Ruffles found their way to skirt hems, necklines and waists. Gored, gathered and A-line skirts were topped with soft, feminine blouses. Blouses donned bows at the center-front neckline and might sport full or puffy sleeves. Collars were cut generously full, in peter pan and traditional pointed shirt-collar designs. Lace also accentuated blouses around the neckline.

 Today's peplum dresses are more daring with lower necklines and higher hems. Whatever your take on it bare as much as you dare. This style workes with most body shapes as if worn correctly it creates that essential hourglass shape. High heels are a must to elongate your legs, accessozize with a clutch and a large statement ring.

Here's my take on it, a peplum style skirt with an animal print peter pan collar blouse and the oh so important skinny belt !

Peplum styles are classic and always come back in vogue so it is worth investing in a few pieces for your wardrobes, scour thrift shops, do some research and have fun rocking this trend !

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