Wartime Fashion: From Haute Couture to Homemade, 1939-1945

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A&C Black, Jul 18, 2013 - Design - 256 pages
A comprehensive analysis of Second World War dress practice and appearance, this study places dress at the forefront of a complex series of cultural chain reactions.

As lives were changed by the conditions of war, dress continued to reflect important visual narratives regarding class, gender and taste that would impact significantly on public consciousness of equality, fairness and morale. Using new archival and primary source evidence, Wartime Fashion clarifies how and why clothing was rationed, and repositions style and design during the war in relation to past expectations and ideas about clothes and fabrics. The book explores the impact of war on the dress and appearance of civilian women of all classes in the context of changing social and economic infrastructures created by the national emergency.

The varied research elements combined in this book form a rounded and definitive account of the dress history of British women during the Second World War. This is essential reading for anyone with an active interest in the field, whether personal or professional.


The Utility Clothing Scheme
Assessing the Impact of Clothes Rationing
Home Front Clothing Initiatives
Clothes for Coupons
Good Health and Natural Beauty
Utility and Austerity

Fashions for a Phoney
Calls for Rationed Fashion
Setting the Ration

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About the author (2013)

Geraldine Howell taught Theoretical Studies for over twenty years on the Fashion Design course at the University of Westminster, UK and recently became a freelance writer on Dress History.

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