1940s Capsule Wardrobe

by - 11:31

1940s Capsule Wardrobe

I was all set to do an outfit post this week as I have a new dress that I love, but I seem to have come down with a horrible cold and I didn't think anyone would much appreciate seeing photos of my poor red nose and streaming eyes.

Instead I have put together a list of a few items for a 1940s wardrobe -  a bit of a fantasy wardrobe for me as there are a few things here I would love to own! You can check out my my 1950s version here.

1) Jacket with shoulder pads.

Dolly and Dotty

Nothing gives a 40s silhouette like a boxy jacket, especially when paired with a peplum. I love my 1940s style jacket in the photo above - it looks great with trousers or an A-line skirt and the colour is a great neutral to be matched with almost any colour. The pattern in varying shades of brown looks similar to tweed, another great fabric for a 40s look.

2) Tailored suit

A great alternative to having a jacket on its own is to have a suit - the top and bottom halves can be worn together or separately to give three different looks. The nipped-in waist on the jacket above gives a lovely silhouette - I'd wear this suit with a nice big hat and a frame bag.

3) Seamed stockings

Dolly and Dotty

Seamed stockings aren't something that gets worn an awful lot these days, but 1940s outfits always look somehow incomplete without them (at least as far as I'm concerned!). They were almost impossible to come by during the war years but I've never fancied trying out the gravy browning and eyeliner method as I'd be too worried about getting it all over my clothes. I wear my stockings with the What Katie Did Glamour Girdle on days when I want to feel extra authentic, but I also wear seamed hold-ups and tights.

4) Day dress


As far as clothing goes, I'm normally more likely to spend money on a dress than on anything else. Vintage clothing is hard to come by in my area (1940s vintage especially!) and I'm not always able to travel around to shop in other places, so I try to look out for modern dresses that are in a 1940s style. I look for dresses with hemlines around mid-calf length, often with a straight or A-line skirt. Plain dresses tend to be more versatile, but 40s novelty prints add extra interest and cuteness. My dress in the photo above is a modern reproduction which was custom made for me from English Country Vintage.

5) Accessories

As with any outfit, accessories can really make a look into something special. It's most often the accessories (and hairstyle) that will make an outfit really look vintage, even if the clothing is all modern. 

Bakelite bracelets like the ones above look great with 1940s outfits. Bakelite is becoming more expensive and harder to find, but fortunately for those of us with smaller budgets, alternatives such as carved wooden bracelets or carefully chosen modern plastic lookalikes can create the same effect.

1940s Shoes

If you're a bit of a purist (unlike me), you might want to choose shoes from the same era as the rest of your outfit (late 40s outfit with late 40s shoes, for example). My shoes in the photo above are original lace-ups from the 1940s. During the war, rationing in the United Kingdom restricted shoes to heels of no higher than 1 inch. 

Hats are a great addition to a 1940s outfit. They're another accessory that isn't worn very often nowadays, other than at weddings or during cold weather, so they instantly make an outfit look vintage. Other alternatives are a snood, or even a bakelite or art deco-style barrette. 

1940s handbags are usually fairly distinctive; Googling or searching on Etsy brings up a great selection. I'd love a fan purse like the one above but they tend to be mostly out of my price range. Fortunately, a pattern to crochet one is much cheaper, so when I can crochet a bit better than I currently can (i.e, not at all), I would love to make one myself.

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  1. That #2 tailored suit is INCREDIBLE! So classy! I would be all over that, too!


  2. My heart is stolen by car print dress! So amazingly stylish. I wish it was mine :)