The History of Menswear - 1940 to 1949

by:Dongda     2020-06-14
The 1940s were extremely war orientated as Hitler took the reign of Germany and began a Great War across many continents. Although the war was on-going throughout most of the forties technology was forced to advance in order to outsmart the opposition in the war and that is when the first computers came about. These particular computers were most definitely not as advanced as the ones we have now but were solely for military purposes. For example a computer was designed to read encrypted German messages and so on. Also, scientists discovered the big bang theory and the microwave oven. The Jeep was invented. Due to the whole war orientated culture you would not think that fashion would be able to advance the way that it did. The introduction of rations meant that fashion changed to accommodate the amount of rations that were on offer. The rations meant that clothing available was limited yet the designers were creative with what they had on offer. This era most definitely celebrated both the rich and the poor through practicality and formal wear; as beginning of the 40s were war-filled whereas the later 40s were a celebration. During the war men generally walked about in their military uniforms and wore suits made out of rationed materials for formal occasions. People throughout this era did not dress to impress, they dressed for practically as they were afraid to be seen as having a lack of patriotism. Most of the men were involved in the war but for those who stayed at home their suits were stripped of their vests, pocket flaps and trouser cuffs. The zoot suit was born in the 1940s and they were being seen worn around night clubs and other social events. Zoot suits were generally seen as illicit during the War yet the fashion is rumoured to have been born during the thirties in Harlem's night clubs. This specific type of suit was an oversized jacket with white lapels and shoulders, higher trousers which had a lower crotch and narrowed dramatically at the ankle. Post-war was when the rations began to stop and materials were back in use for creating and manufacturing higher-quality clothing. The swing era was born with acts such as Frank Sinatra highlighting conversation across the USA and beyond and fashion was influenced greatly by this musical outburst. In America, the late forties brought an introduction of Hawaiian shirts for men and these were first seen on California and Florida beaches. Despite the fact that the clothing ration stayed in place until 1949 in Britain it did not stop them from impressing the public further and celebrating the accomplishment of the war. Fashion in the 40s was a lot more relaxed, comfortable and used for practicality which spurred a brand new way of dressing all over the world. This type of fashion can be seen today and was a good influence on current menswear in the modern day.
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