1940s

1940s Fads: Indoor Sunbathing

1940s Fads: Indoor Sunbathing

The 1940s was a time when no one gave much thought to sunscreen and you could happily chain-smoke cigarettes and drink cocktails while you tanned, without so much as a thought to the health consequences.  In 1948 the Senator Hotel in Atlantic City installed sunlamps in the ceilings so its patrons could tan, even when(…)

1940s Summer Underwear

1940s Summer Underwear

Before the structure and corsetry of the 1950s was the softer silhouette of the 1940s. These photos are from a fashion feature on summer underwear from 1949, aren’t they beautiful?

Air Hostess Training in the 1940s

Air Hostess Training in the 1940s

Photos taken at the McConnell Air Hostess School which trained air hostesses for TWA in the 1940s.  The training included learning the correct way to serve drinks, dealing with inebriated passengers and even learning how to change nappies (did Air Hostesses used to do that?). Even more surprisingly they are also pictured having chewing gum(…)

Miss Lovely Legs 1949

Miss Lovely Legs 1949

Curious photos from a Beautiful Legs Contest from 1949.   The pictures raise lots of questions in my mind – aside from why you’d want to enter a ‘beautiful legs contest’ in the first place.

Marilyn Monroe before Plastic Surgery

Marilyn Monroe before Plastic Surgery

Marilyn Monroe photographed in February 1947 when she was still a young starlet. At this time she was still called Norma Jeane, and hadn’t yet undergone her Hollywood makeover. In 1950 she had rhinoplasty (a nose-job) and a chin implant on the advice of her agent who paid for the surgery.  She only changed her(…)

An Original 1940s Make-Up Tutorial (Including Contouring!)

An Original 1940s Make-Up Tutorial (Including Contouring!)

This photos were taken at a professional photo shoot for a young starlet some time during the 1940s. It’s really interesting to see the different stages, especially the amount of contouring they used on her face. Presumably the make up was done specifically for taking photographs as it seems a little heavy for real life.(…)

Risqué Nose Art from WW2 Bombers (NSWF)

Risqué Nose Art from WW2 Bombers (NSWF)

Nose art on airplanes first became popular during WW1 when German airmen (or rather their ground-crews) started painting a mouth and teeth onto nose cones, rather like Moby Dick below. In fact a shark-face design is still painted on nose-cones of military aircraft today. During World War II the military didn’t allow nose-art, but was(…)

Iconic Wedding Dresses #7: Gene Tierney (1946)

Iconic Wedding Dresses #7: Gene Tierney (1946)

When Gene Tierney married costume designer Oleg Cassini in 1941 she was planning to wear this amazing lace dress, designed especially for her by her husband-to-be. Ultimately though they didn’t have time to get the dress made, as eloped to Las Vegas to get married to escape the disapproval of her family, who opposed her(…)

Back When Everybody Smoked…

Back When Everybody Smoked…

More and more smokers are becoming social pariahs. They have to stand on the street in the rain outside restaurants, bars, pubs and even their own cars (if their kids are inside). And while I don’t mind this, being a non-smoker, it does strike me as strange that in years gone by smoking was seen(…)

Building Mount Rushmore, 1940

Building Mount Rushmore, 1940

I’ve often wondered how enormous monuments such as Mount Rushmore are created. Having said that, even having seen these photos I’m not sure how teams of people suspended in wooden crates chiselled perfect faces out of a mountainside, especially back in the 1920s. Building work took place from 1927 until 1941 with some 400 workers(…)

WW2 Fashion: Liquid Seamed Stockings

WW2 Fashion: Liquid Seamed Stockings

If you think you need a steady hand to apply eyeliner, then try drawing straight seams up the backs of your legs! During WW2 when stockings were in short supply women were encouraged to use liquid stockings instead, and to draw the seams using eyeliner (or to get a friend to do it for you!).(…)

Slenderizing Salons of the 1940s

Slenderizing Salons of the 1940s

You thought zumba and ashtanga yoga were torture enough in the pursuit of youth and fitness? Be grateful you didn’t live in the 1940s when young women were encouraged to visit slenderizing salons in the pursuit of perfection.  These photos show poor Pat Ogden being pummeled by a Wooden Barrel Massager and a Roaler Massager(…)

The Strange Lives of 1940s Hollywood Starlets

The Strange Lives of 1940s Hollywood Starlets

These publicity photos of young 1940s Hollywood starlets seem slightly odd to me. Sure, they all look beautiful and happy and like screen stars of the future, but there’s something reminiscent of the Playboy mansion about the photos! The pictures were taken at the home of publisher and media magnate William Randolph Hearst Sr (who(…)

Katharine Hepburn’s Costumes in The Philadelphia Story

Katharine Hepburn’s Costumes in The Philadelphia Story

Katharine Hepburn had a good start in Hollywood, moving from the stage to the big screen and getting rave reviews. However during the mid to late 1930s she had a series of flops which lost the studios a lot of money and led to her being dubbed as ‘box office poison’, which was effectively a(…)

The Best Dressed Boys of Goodwood Revival 2015

The Best Dressed Boys of Goodwood Revival 2015

As promised when I published my favourite women’s outfits from this year’s Goodwood Revival, here are my pick of the most dapper gents.  Their outfits are all 1940s, 50s or 60s themed and I think you’ll agree that they all look splendid! As always there were so many military uniforms, that I decided not to(…)

Ingrid Bergman’s Costume Fitting for Joan Of Arc

Ingrid Bergman’s Costume Fitting for Joan Of Arc

Ingrid Bergman starred in both the stage play (Joan of Lorraine and the Hollywood movie adaptation of Joan of Arc, so I’m not sure which this is the costume for.  The photographs were captioned as being for Joan of Lorraine, but if you look at the suit of armor she wore in the movie (the(…)

Queen Elizabeth II in the 1930s, 40s and 50s

Queen Elizabeth II in the 1930s, 40s and 50s

Tomorrow Queen Elizabeth II overtakes Queen Victoria as the longest serving monarch in British History.  I was born in the 1970s so she’s always seemed very much an older woman to me, so I thought it might be nice to see some photos of her as a young woman. I particularly love the photos of(…)