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.
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.
Introduction Buying into Fashion: The Social Background Shopping for Fashion in the Pre-War years Being Chic and Being British The Healthy Body and the Politics of Fitness Evacuation Fashions for a Phoney War Calls for Rationed Fashion Setting the Ration The Utility Clothing Scheme Assessing the Impact of Clothes Rationing Home Front Clothing Initiatives Clothes for Coupons Keep Smiling Through: Good Health and Natural Beauty Utility and Austerity Conclusion Bibliography Index