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Dockyard Characters8th September 2021

Planning your 1940’s outfit

Have you got your outfit ready for Salute to the ’40s? With the festival just around the corner, find out about the top styles and fashions from the period…

What type of clothing was popular in the 1940’s?

The classic body shape aimed for by most women in the ’40s was an hourglass figure and they used fashion to help them achieve this. Tea dresses, padded shoulders, nipped-in high waist, A-line skirts, utility frocks, high waist trousers, swing skirts, blouses and wool suits in all kinds of colours and prints were at the height of fashion in Britain. Oh and don’t forget about the hat!


Men’s 1940s fashion was styled to feel ‘larger than life’. Rationing and war time led to the modifying of uniforms to civilian clothes. Trench coats, bomber jackets, aviator glasses and chinos all emerged as fashion items during this period. After the war, men were fed up with restricting uniforms and casual clothes emerged in the form of the Zoot suit (a loose jacket, trousers with a wide ankle, big hat and wide tie). Post-war suits were made from wool, worsted wool, or tweed or synthetic rayon blended with wool. Braces a must!

How to get the 1940s make up look?

Watch this video, created by the Imperial War Museum, on how to get the 1940s makeup look.


What about your 1940s hairstyle?

Don’t forget about the hair. What will you choose? Tight curls, the pageboy, the pompadour or victory rolls.

Watch this short video to perfect your best victory rolls:



Salute to the ’40s takes place at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on 18 and 19 September 2021. Find out more and book your tickets now.

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