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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Fashion & Rations: WW2 Fashion History – Part 2

Continuing on in our survey of WW2 History from a perspective of how it affected lives back here at home, especially in clothing.  How would today’s society accept rationing?  I wonder…

Italics denote words from Meghann Mason in her thesis found HERE...

You’ll find in BOLD ITALICS statements that peeked my curiosity.

‘Thank’ War for Man-Made Fabrics

Due to the war-time restrictions of raw materials, as well as bans on some imported materials, man-made fibers were created and popularized. The impact of the war was seen not only in fabric choices but also in the style and silhouette of the clothing. There was a new simplicity seen in women’s clothing that required designers and everyday women to tap into their imagination and make the government mandates fashionable.

Because of rationing and unavailability of materials, the differences in social classes were not as visibly noticeable, as the dress and style of all women became similar under government mandates. This was reflected in the style of dress for work, formal events, and on the silver screen in Hollywood. 


In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and WWII began when Britain and France declared war on Germany. Perhaps one of the most important events to happen regarding fashion was the invasion and occupation of Paris on June 14, 1940 by Nazi Germany. Paris was the pinnacle and center of the fashion world until that time. The rest of the world looked towards it to establish the trends that would spread and become popular. Important fashion houses such as Chanel, Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, and Elsa Schiaparelli maintained their headquarters in Paris. Most of the designers fled the country upon France’s declaration of war in 1939. Others closed shop, and still others remained open; and with the occupation in 1940, they were cut off from