1940s

The hardships which were caused by a world at war dictated the fashions of the 1940s. Once again Hollwood had a major influence of the style of everyday women who were encoraged to look good despite rationing and shortages to keep up morale.

Vintage 1940s denim shorts

Vintage 1940s denim shorts

Isn’t this a fabulous look? Denim shorts and a plaid shirt from 1948. The girl is Candy Tilton Ulrich painting at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.    

1940s Cole of California advert

1940s Cole of California advert

Another beautiful Cole of California advert from the 1940s.  I don’t know why more people don’t wear high-waisted bikinis, if this one is anything to go by they look fabulous! This ad was shown in The Californian, May 1947.

Vintage tennis fashions

Vintage tennis fashions

As I’m sitting here waiting for the Wimbledon final to start, I thought I’d browse around and look for some vintage tennis fashions. You can certainly why tennis has become a much more physical game when you look at what they wore to play in 1900! Which decade had the best outfits? I love the 1920s(…)

Vintage swimwear: 1940s bikinis

Vintage swimwear: 1940s bikinis

Some great 1940s bikinis modelled by the ‘Sarasota Sun-Debs’. The photo was taken at Lido Beach, Florida in January 1949. I wish it was warm enough to wear bikinis in January in the UK!

The realities of war: 1940s breast-protecters (yes, really)

The realities of war: 1940s breast-protecters (yes, really)

I know industrial accidents are no laughing matter, but I’d seriously never considered a need for breast-protecters before (as modelled so beautifully by this brave lady).  I guess it’s just the female equivalent of a cricket box, I wonder whether they’re still worn in certain industries today…? This photo is from 1943.  The original caption(…)

A soldier’s goodbye from a (hungry) cat’s point of view

A soldier’s goodbye from a (hungry) cat’s point of view

Yeah yeah, I know you’re off to war, but you know you haven’t FED ME YET?  This photo was taken during the Second World War as an Australian solider said goodbye to his wife before leaving. If you had a full view of the couple you would undoubtedly focus on their faces, but shot like(…)

Caption competition: 1940s ballet dancers

Caption competition: 1940s ballet dancers

I love this 1940s ballet picure, it just made me giggle. How would you caption it? I have no prizes to give away (apart from the obvious prestige you’ll gain from having the most amusing answer) but if you’re in it for financial gain you can always enter my latest competition too 😉

Esther Williams: So long and thanks for all the fish

Esther Williams: So long and thanks for all the fish

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but I couldn’t leave the occasion unmarked. Last week (on June 6th) swimmer and movie star Esther Williams died in her sleep at the age of 91 in California. I have happy memories of watching re-runs of Esther Williams movies growing up. The first time(…)

Josephine Baker in her 40s

Josephine Baker in her 40s

Josephine Baker photographed by Carl Van Vechten, October 20, 1949 which would make her 43 in this photo I think. It’s nice to see her in a ‘normal’ outfit instead of one of her stage costumes. Her smile just lights up the photo doesn’t it? Beautiful!

A 1940s summer wardrobe by Lynn Lester

A 1940s summer wardrobe by Lynn Lester

A series of 1940s adverts for fashions by Lynn Lester suggesting a summer wardrobe for June 1947. This summer capsule collection has some wonderful descriptions underneath each item – you just don’t see that any more!  There are some great new fangled fabrics, like “SnoSilk”, and also some unusual clothing styles. I had no idea what ‘cape(…)

Esther Williams in a swimsuit aged just 17

Esther Williams in a swimsuit aged just 17

Olympic swimmer and later movie star Esther Williams photographed in 1939 “on her way to the 1940 American Olympic Games” aged 17. Just a week before this she broke the national record for the 100 yard breast stroke. She never competed in the Olympics in the end because of the outbreak of World War 2.(…)

1940s Hollywood sewing patterns: Betty Grable

1940s Hollywood sewing patterns: Betty Grable

A vintage sewing pattern from the 1940s, designed with Betty Grable in mind by Hollywood Patterns. I think I prefer the short sleeved version of this dress best. Thanks to Julie Kirby for scanning this and sending it in to me, if you have any vintage photos or magazines I’d love to see them! The(…)

Vintage swimwear: Stunning 1940s Cole of California bikini (maybe?)

Vintage swimwear: Stunning 1940s Cole of California bikini (maybe?)

Isn’t this wonderful? The illustration is just gorgeous, but is this the vintage swimwear in this Cole of California advert actually a swimsuit or a bikini? I’m not sure. The text reads:  Streamline – beautiful new backsweep… in a Lastex swimsuit… from Cole’s “Westward to the Sea” beachwear collection. 

Tallulah Bankhead

Tallulah Bankhead

Actress and movie star Tallulah Bankhead photographed in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

Cary Grant in army uniform

Cary Grant in army uniform

English: Original studio publicity photo of Cary Grant for the film I Was a Male War Bride (1949). Doesn’t he look dashing in a uniform? He had the mole on his cheek removed the year after this photo was taken. I don’t know whether Cary Grant actually was in the armed forces during the war,(…)

Child actor Elizabeth Taylor

Child actor Elizabeth Taylor

A publicity photo of the very young Elizabeth Taylor, I’m guessing this dates from around 1944 when she got her first major part in National Velvet. That would make her aged about 12. Does that sound about right?