In their book about American soldiers in the war-torn Britain of W.W. II, Overpaid, Over-Sexed and Over Here (1991), authors James Goodson and Norman Franks recall how thoroughly impressed Americans were with the standard issue British Army uniform. The Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower, was no exception - he promptly ordered his tailor to suit him in a similar get-up. Other American generals followed in his path as did the cocky young pilots of the Army Air Corps - shortly there after the look soon spread to other branches of the Army. This 1944 article discusses the broad appeal of this jacket and that civilian fashion designers had begun manufacturing the "Ike Jacket" for the Home Front.
New York fashion journalist Gertrude Bailey wasted no time in applying for her overseas press pass upon hearing the news that the Germans had been driven from the banks of the Seine in August of '44. Although the fashion column she filed largely anticipated the glorious return of Paris chic, mention was also made of what Paris fashion was like during the German occupation - sitting ringside at one of the runways, Bailey found that
"One found significance in the appearance of green as a color, and noted that the reason it had been absent for four years was because it was the color of the German uniform, which no Frenchwoman would wear until France was free."
This was an unusual article for Yank to run with but it is a wonderful read nonetheless. The column 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 of fashion in wartime. Hawes remarked that the clothing of the leaders can be read as an indicator of forthcoming events.
CLICK HERE to read about the beautiful "Blonde Battalions" who spied for the Nazis...
Five fashion photographs and a few words on the "government-approved" look for the autumn of 1943. The wartime fashion news for 1943 was apparel order L-85 that had been issued by the War Production Board in order to "conserve material for victory".
To read another article about 1940s fashions and the hardships of fabric rationing, click here. Click here to read about the fashion silhouette of the early Fifties.
Here is a an Elizabeth Hawes (1903 – 1971) fashion review covering some of the hats for the autumn of 1942. They were all the creations of John-Frederics (1902 – 1993) - some are simply fantastical while others are a tad less dramatic, but not lacking in style.
Click here to read about the hats of 1947.
A well-illustrated article from the home front fashion-filled pages of CLICK MAGAZINE that served to document the contradictory days when wartime button-rationing coincided with a wide-spread yen for decorating with buttons:
"In a frantic bid for individuality, fad-loving women are rediscovering the decorative button. Buttons are no longer just a practical devices for holding clothes together. They pep-up simplified silhouettes and restyle dated fashions.