Review: 1940s Fashion by Fiona Kay and Neil R. Storey

I’ ve read a lot of fashion history books, honestly, I have. When I was in London recently I found this little one, tucked between some really big books, but it caught my eye immediately! Is it one I recommend?

Despite – or perhaps because of – the privations of war, the 1940s was one of the greatest decades for fashion in Britain. The mantra of ‘make-do and mend’ spawned a decade of creativity, and a generation who would not let austerity prevent them from looking good. Transatlantic, and military influences, were everywhere, and after the war was over Dior’s ‘New Look’ set the scene for the fashions of the prosperous 1950s. Fashion in the 1940s is a profusely illustrated and fascinating guide to the changing styles in fashion, make-up, suits and styles through the war years and over the years of austerity from the legacies of the 1930s through make-do-and mend and knitted wonders to Demob suits, and the ‘New Look.’ Interest in wartime fashion has never been higher, with thousands of people regularly dressing in 1940s styles, or using the styles of the decade as an influence for a modern wardrobe. Illustrated with a wealth of images not seen since the war years, this is the perfect introduction for anyone interested in remembering, or recreating, the style of the decade.

I absolutely ADORED this book. It’s a short one, only about 60-odd pages, but it’s packed with information. I honestly recommend this one above all else when you start getting into fashion history. It’s only an introduction though, so don’t expect it to be the only book you’ll ever need, but it’s a great way to start getting into the subject.

It gets really in-depth about uniforms, CC41 clothing (the clothes you could ‘buy’ during the war), but it talks about the clothes people would make themselves, which hasn’t really been talked about a lot in most books. It uses a lot of beautiful photos and advertisements to show how people wanted to feel fabulous during a really difficult time.

Again, if you want to get into fashion history, or want to get more information about the 1940s, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend it!

I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and you can get your copy here. 

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