There is something fascinating about the ’40s fashion when, despite the hardships of wartime, women’s style was undeniably iconic.
Think how glamorous the Hollywood goddesses of the ‘40s were. Who wouldn’t want to be as stylish as Rita Hayworth, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Hepburn and the Austrian Hedy Lamarr? So we’re happy to see that the feminine hour-glass silhouettes and the elegant androgynous style of the ’40s have inspired many designers for their spring collections.
Keep scrolling to discover ten ’40s style trends you can emulate this spring using pieces you probably already have in your wardrobe.
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The ’40s fashion was all about Christian Dior’s New Look; waist-cinching jackets and full skirts. In 2021, wear structured double-breasted jackets or coats, if belted, the better, and pair them with an A-line skirt for a typical ’40s style silhouette.
Whether pencil skirts, A-line or pleated, the length of dresses and skirts in the ’40s fashion was anywhere from below the knee to the mid-calf. This length is extremely flattering and looks fab paired with this season’s elevated slippers and flip-flops.
Puffy shoulders and sleeves helped create the ultra-feminine hourglass silhouette. You can also add shoulder pads to any shirt and T-shirt to recreate the boxy shape typical of the ’40s fashion.
The German actress Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn helped make masculine trousers fashionable for women. The classic pleated trousers were wide-legged and high-waisted, which we, and Harry Styles, think is flattering and very chic. Pair the ’40s style pants with a waistcoat to add nowness as we saw at Celine and Gucci.
Cardigans were a must for the put-together fashion of the ’40s. You can wear the tieless knitwear tucked into a belted waist and with a scarf around your neck à la Ava Gardner. Additionally, see here where to buy second-hand granny-like cardigans and other S/S21 trends.
The divas of the Hollywood golden era, like Rita Hayworth, had an incredibly sexy style that was sometimes scandalous for the ’40s. For example, satin dresses with slits, cropped tops, and the first bikinis. Having this sexiness in mind, wear satin tops with lace and play with transparencies as seen at Fashion Week S/S 21. You can also layer a cardigan over your lingerie, leaving the top buttons undone to show the lacy top like the stylish French girls do.
Peter Pan collars
The Peter Pan trend has invaded our Instagram feeds, with influencers from all over the world wearing them, but did you know that the wide collars were on-point in the 40s fashion too?
As for women in the ’40s, polka dot dresses and skirts are in fashion and contemporary again. In fact, Polka dots are timeless, Princess Diana, for example, used to wear the dotted print very often in the ’80s. In other words, you can invest in polka dot items without worrying about their wearability.
Flat Oxford shoes and loafers were worn with white Bobbysocks, comfortable enough to swing dance all night! Add the ’40s feel to your outfit by wearing cute socks with sandals, slippers or loafers we saw at Fashion Week. This styling trick will allow you to wear summer shoes even on chillier spring days.
Every woman, from Hollywood divas to country girls, loved to wear the glamorous fashion accessory in the ’40s; a turban. From simple headscarves to outrageous headwraps embellished with voluminous flowers, fruits and bows.
Otherwise, choose a nice scarf and learn how to tie your turban.
Street style photos taken during Fashion Week via Shutterstock