On the 8th May 1945 the war in Europe was declared over, and World War 2 finally reached it’s closing stages. It was not the end of the War, my grandad was still in Burma and the war there didn’t end until August, but for Britain it finally meant that many would finally be returning home after 6 long and hard years. Tomorrow sees the 70th anniversary of VE day, and a bank holiday, with many people hoping to enjoy a social distanced street party with a nice cup of tea on the front garden, bunting being strung at the front of houses, and red, white and blue the order of the day when it comes to fashion.
The fashion of VE day was actually very stylish despite the wartime restrictions on length and decoration. Clothing was rationed and so a utility style was introduced, with Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies creating a range of looks that saved on fabric and often carried a CC label that stood for controlled commodity. Dresses were much shorter than the bias cut style of the 1930’s, and an unnecessary pockets and buttons were simply not added to the designs. This streamlined look sometimes resembled a uniform style, so was patriotic, and was also practical. Tea dresses were still an option, and floral prints and patterns made the look pretty and presentable in spite of the hardships that made fashion take a back seat.
Although the New Look came along in 1947 almost as an rebellion against the rationed, more austere looks of the War Years, the style of the early 1940’s has often reappeared in fashion, particularly during the 1970’s, and if you are looking for wartime styles, you can often find 70’s versions in vintage and charity shops, or in reproductions from companies like Peacocks (look for Pearl Lowe dresses on eBay), Monsoon and ASOS.
VE Day Style Inspiration