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1940s Factory Fashions

We know that during WWII women had to do their bit.  Not only at home, but by joining up or working in factories, such as those that produced uniforms, bombs, ammunition and even aircraft.  There were many propaganda posters urging women to get involved in factory work.

  

WWII propaganda poster for women to work        WWII propaganda poster for women to work

And for those already working, there were posters to encourage the right type of clothing.

WWII propaganda poster to encourage the right type of clothing       WWII propaganda poster to encourage the right type of clothing

Of course hair had to be tied back, or even better hidden under a scarf, Rosie riveter style.  Actress Veronica Lake even made a propaganda movie about tying back her hair for the war effort.  And overalls or siren suits were also worn.

   fashion for female workers during WWII

Simple, sturdy, and affordable shoes were needed.

Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.
Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.   Source

Low heeled Oxford shoes, sometimes with the two toned black and white or brown and white design or as above in two different materials, were popular, as were loafers (se below).  They were even worn with skirts,  often with low white socks.  They laced up and so supported the foot, making them ideal for everyday wear.  Low heeled Mary Jane style shoes were also a staple.  A single strap across the foot made them more secure than pumps, and chunky lowish heel had been common for several decades.  Leather was rationed during the war so new shoes were made of fabric, mesh and raffia.

fashion for female workers during WWII

Off duty women could wear sandals, pumps. wedges and peep-toe shoes, but these would not have been considered suitable for factory work.

fashion for female workers during WWII

Of course some women would have worn boots, much like those worn by men in uniform.

Oh, how they must have been dreaming of something like these:

 1940's Black and Acrylic Slingbacks, Size 5-5.5

Check out etsy for great vintage 40s  shoes, or go to Remix for an amazing range of vintage reproduction shoes to die for.

(Part of an article previously published at my other blog, Mid-Century Love)

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About thewartimewoman

I love history, fashion, art and design, especially of the 1930s to the 1960s. I am also a mother, wife, interior decorator & a treasure hunter who wishes she could drive a 1933 Delage. I studied Architecture at Melbourne university, briefly, and completed a Diploma of Art in Interior Design at the Melbourne College of Decoration in 1991. I have worked on an off as a decorator ever since, in between stints as a florist, balloon artist, having my five children and helping my husband in his law firm. in my spare time I love researching history, blogging and gardening.

3 responses »

  1. How interesting that now many of us now choose to wear sensible shoes more of the time, not just for (factory) work! Love the posters, and will have to check out all your shoe sources and additional blog. Whee!
    del

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Surprise, surprise for “fat-acceptance” drum-beaters: Marilyn Monroe was “teeny-tiny” | Stupid Girl

  3. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    It’s funny how fashions come back around again.

    Reply

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