by Rosie Hore, author of new children’s book ‘Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing – Wartime Fashion’(Usborne Publishing)
Even in the midst of war, looking good was crucial for keeping up morale on the home front. Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing: Wartime Fashion has over 150 historically accurate stickers to use to dress up the characters in the chicest wartime trends. Here are 5 you may recognise from today…
Make Do and Mend
In the face of clothes rationing, ‘Make Do and Mend’ became the latest craze. Characters like ‘Mrs Sew-and-Sew’ appeared in leaflets full of tips on darning, patchwork and amateur dress-making. Sometimes, women got inventive when sourcing materials – in our Make Do and Mend wedding scene, you can dress the bride in a wedding dress made from parachute silk.
Celebrities putting their name to products and campaigns is nothing new. Actress Veronica Lake posed in LIFE Magazine with her long ‘peekaboo’ hairstyle caught in machinery, to warn women to wear protective headscarves or snoods at work. She later changed her hairstyle to something more factory-friendly at the request of the US government.
‘Made in Britain’
Battling against severe shortages, British fashion had to find ways to do more with less. Designers like Edward Molyneux, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies developed ‘Utility’ ranges, expertly tailored to use the least material possible. Tricks of the trade like faux pocket flaps and plastic buttons are shown in our Utility fashion show scene.
Turbans, catwalks and shoulder bags have all appeared on the catwalk over the past few years, perhaps inspired by the fashions of occupied Paris. Glamorous French women wore extravagant turbans decorated with flowers and feathers when hats (and shampoo) were hard to come by. But fashion also had to be practical. When fuel ran out, women cycled to work, so culottes and shoulder bags replaced skirts and handbags.
And finally… the ‘onesie’
The siren suit: the forties’ answer to the onesie? Men and women slipped these all-in-one suits over their clothes for convenience and warmth in the air raid shelter. Even Winston Churchill had one specially made. It was – naturally – pin-striped.
Rosie Hore is the author of Usborne’s Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing: Wartime Fashion published in association with Imperial War Museums (out 1st March).
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