Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look

Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look

Here is a definitive look at fashion in the 1940s—from French style under the Occupation and the “make do and mend” approach to wartime clothing shortages through the development of faux fabrics, the rise of American fashion houses, and the New Look of the post- war period.



The illustrations reveal the wide range of fashions and styles from the 1940s in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Japan. The lively text by fashion specialist Jonathan Walford details how fashion was considered not a frivolity but an aesthetic expression of circumstances in the 1940s. While Fascist states tried to create “national” styles before the war began, by 1940 the pursuit of beauty was promoted on both sides of the conflict as a patriotic duty. From prewar to postwar, we see attitudes emerge from period advertisements, images of real clothes, and firsthand accounts in contemporary publications. The result is a celebration of everything from practical and smart-looking attire for air raids (hooded capes with large pockets and siren suits) to street fashion and the creation of Christian Dior’s “New Look” collection in 1947.

Title:Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780500514290
Format Type:

    Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look Reviews

  • zane deann

    I loved this book, and blazed through it surprisingly fast for a thick nonfiction book. 1940s fashion is one of my very favorites. ❤️...

  • Mary Catelli

    Fashion in the world at war. A "siren suit" is something you grab to throw over your nightgown or pajamas while bolting for the air-raid shelter.Indeed, there's a lot about the war in here. It starts ...

  • Alessandra

    This book is a brilliant history of the development of women's clothing during World War II and after. Generously illustrated with photos of garments rarely, if ever, seen in any other costume histori...

  • Jane

    A really good look at how WWII affected what women (and, to some extent, men) wore before, during, and after the war. Interesting that Dior's New Look wasn't actually that far removed from where thing...

  • Liselotte

    This is the absolute BEST book on 1940s fashion I've read so far. It doesn't just talk about American or British fashion, but it includes even German. Most books focus on one country, which can get ki...

  • Joan Michalcik Fox

    Great text, great illustrations....

  • Lisa

    Gorgeous outfits. Would love to make some of these outfits....

  • Judy

    I read this in a couple of hours. Lots of great photos of forties clothes. What really surprised me about this book was that it's really the history of World War II in fashion. I knew about the govern...

  • Willa Guadalupe Grant

    I really loved this book! I had expected to see wonderful photos of the fashions of the time, but what an unexpected pleasure it was to find all these juicy historical facts about the fashion industry...

  • Nicole Jenkins

    Simply the best book I've found on Wartime fashions - illustrated beautifully with great photos of authentic styles, Mr Walford successfully dispels the notion that the fashion world shut down and wai...