|Color Trends in Men's Suiting 1935 - 1950 (Men's Wear Magazine, 1950)|
Although there is black-out during the war years, the attached charts will give you a sense of the preferred suiting colors both before the war and upon it's immediate conclusion. The pointy-headed soothsayers who attempt to predict which colors men will buy were very surprised to find that in the aftermath of World War II, American men were quite eager to buy browns and khaki-colored suiting after all.
Gabardine: The Sportsman's Choice! (Collier's Magazine, 1945)
Halfway through 1944 American magazines began their individual count-downs until the war's end; running with articles about the post-war world, the end of rationing, the demobilized military and the guaranteed boom that would come in the menswear industry. The attached fashion editorial appeared early in 1945 promotes the versatility of gabardine wool, it's earliest appearance in the Middle ages, it's use in uniforms and it's newest application in sportswear.
The article is illustrated with five terrific color photographs.
Fashion Symbolism in Wartime Attire (Yank Magazine, 1945)
This was an unusual article for Yank to run with but it is a wonderful read nonetheless. The article concerns fashion as a reliable barometer of societal direction and starts out with a quote from Basil Liddell-Hart (1895 – 1970) on this issue. The writer then goes to the author and all-around fashion philosopher, Elizabeth Hawes (1903 - 1971) who proceeded to speak thoughtfully on the topic. Hawes remarked that the clothing of men can be read as an indicator of forthcoming events:
"We asked her if she could name us any obvious evidence of the war as shown by clothes."
"Well, the clothes the leaders wore", she said thinking. "Roosevelt's cape was military and that sort of tunic of Stalin's, and then there was Churchill's siren suit. That last was most typical of all because he didn't keep on wearing it. Only as long as things looked tough. While the war was in the balance, he wore the siren suit...But as soon as it began to to be pretty certain that the axis was losing... back he went into the old familiar, conservative statesman's dress of trousers, shirt and coat."
The article was written by Al Hine, who would in later years make a splash in Hollywood and the publishing fields.
Click here to read about fabric rationing during W.W. II.
The World War Two Origins of the T-Shirt (Men's Wear Magazine, 1950)
A couple of paragraphs from a popular fashion industry trade magazine that pointed out that the white cotton knit crew-neck garment we call the T-shirt came into this world with the name "quarter sleeve" and had it's origin in the U.S. Navy, where it earned it's popularity and soon spread to other branches of the U.S. military during the mid-to-late 1930s.
When the Second World War, the garment was in the supply sheds of each service branch and ready to be issued to as many as twelve million men over the course of the war. As this article makes plain, the T-shirt was the only element of the military uniform that these men wanted to keep when the war ended. The actor Marlon Brando, who wore one in the 1947 stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (costumes by Lucinda Ballard: 1906 – 1993), is credited for having made the garment fashionable.
The rest is history.
Men's Hats and Shoes (Advertisements, 1942)
When the fops answered the call in 1942, these are the hats and shoes they walked away wearing.
You will be able to easily print the attached page of fashion images.
On another note: the legendary fashion designer Christian Dior had a good deal of trouble with people who would illegally copy his designs; click here to read about that part of fashion history.
The Neckties of W.W. II (Men's Wear Magazine, 1950)
This is a remarkably brief history of the W.P.B. restrictions on American necktie manufacturers during the Second World War.