Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How to start wearing 1940s style

80-s does 40's with a
shirtwaist top and pleated skirt.

Guest post by Debbie Wells of Vintage Dancer

I have a ten month old girl who I absolutely adore which is why on most days, she is better dressed then I am. It is much more fun to shop for her and coordinate outfits with hair bows and all that fun stuff that goes along with having a baby girl then it is to dress myself. The only exception to my lack of dress is with my vintage costume collection. I have an entire room dedicated to housing me and my husband’s vintage clothing. Truthfully most of it is not genuine vintage. I am a thrift store addict (aka charity shops.) I LOVE to save money as much as I LOVE to be creative with my costuming. Instead of the $150 vintage dress I find an 80-does-40s or 70s-does-20s look-a-like dress and alter it, accessorize it, or just plain ignore the modern parts of it until think  it looks genuinely vintage. I will share with you a few of my secrets using my current favorite era the 1940's.

80s does 40's peplum top dress
The 1940's are a great era to re-create with thrift store clothing. Most thrift store clothes are circa 1980's and 1990's which is when there was a 1940's fashion revival. I can comb through the racks of dresses and find about ten or so that look 40's. The key style is the shirtwaist dress with collar and buttons half way or all the way down the front. Skirts can be A-line or long and pleated. It's a classic 40's dress style that hasn't gone out of fashion since. The other common style of dress is the peplum top dress and or two piece blouse and skirt.  These are in style right now so you can shop at a new store instead of a thrift store if you prefer. The only thing to avoid with new dresses is the shorter lengths. Vintage 40's dresses came down to just below your knees. Anything shorter will instantly look too modern.

Once you find a dress it's time to add a pair of shoes. 1940s shoe style are wedges, Mary Jane’s, and peep toes (in style now.) What makes these style look more 40's and less modern is the chunky heels and thick straps. 1940's shoes were sturdy and practical. I love them because I don't feel like I am going to lose my balance like I do walking on thin heels. 1940's colors were a bit on the drab side- black, grey, tan, blue. But if your dress is full of spring time color your shoes should match.


Flower clip hair accessories 
and matching earrings circa 1944.

 Next we need to accessorize. Head over to the cheap costume jewelry and pick out anything bright and tacky. I like large bead necklaces, pearls, or rhinestones for evening looks. Add a big flower pin on your dress adds instant 40's style. Colorful bead bracelets or wide plastic bangles are also very 40's. If you can find a handful of flower pins that all coordinate you can  clip them together and pin them to your hair instead of wearing a vintage hat. Flower clips whether made of jewelry or silk flowers were very common in the 1940's.

Speaking of hairstyles you don't have to get all pin up crazy with double victory rolls and perfectly pin curled hair. That takes hours of practice and very patient kids while you are styling your hair. Instead just tie your hair back in a snood or scarf for a Rosie the Riveter look. It takes less than a minute and it lasts all day. If you want a bit more style just curl your hair all over- be messy about it -then brush out the curls, comb over a deep side part and pin it back on one side with a flower clip. Easy as pie.

For the final touch just keep your makeup look natural except for bright red lips. If you splurge on anything it should be the reddest red lipstick you can find and maybe a vintage hat. I find that when I wear a vintage hat it doesn't matter what else I have on I will look the era of my hat.

Debbie is a full time WAHM who runs VintageDancer.com, an aggregate shopping site for vintage inspired clothing. She is also author of the 1940's StyleGuide, a book about 1940's fashion history and how you can wear the styles today for women and men!
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