Sunday, 18 April 2010

Austerity Rules 1942 Part 1

The austerity rules introduced in Britain during World War 2 were a series
of taboos on the use of designs and materials in clothes. Unlike Utility they applied to ALL clothes made either by mass-manufacturers or country dressmakers.
(Utility was a standard for cloth manufacturers, from which any design could be made
until the austerity rules were introduced in summer 1942). There was no austerity mark unlike the CC41 for Utility.

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In August 1942 Picture Post ran an article 'Austerity Clothes for the Fourth Year of the War', which compared the new-style clothes with those worn for the same occasions pre-war. However, the article not only shows us the simpler styles but also illustrates the new attitudes to wearing more casual clothes. Although it was considered patriotic to look ones' best and be smartly turned out, to be overdressed was likely to cause verbal abuse.

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The introduction of the blackout and the start of the blitz also imposed practical restrictions, if you still owned an evening dress it was likely to be pre-war and remodelled or a simple dinner dress.
While brides in suits were a common sight due to short-notice 48 hour leaves and lack of coupons, many brides chose to hire a white dress. Gainsborough Film Studios had hundreds to choose from.


Miss Matilda said...

My grandmother wore a suit, most of the wedding pictures I see at work are of girls in beautiful suits.

Fab post, as usual!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Really fascinating. Great images