Vintage Obsessions - the fabulous forties

We’re a little bit obsessed with 1940s fashion. Even though this era was plagued with tough times, style was never compromised. Hair was coiffed, accessories impactfull and fashion divine. But it’s the forties styling that won my heart.

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cocktails and glamour

The glamour, the cocktails, the jewellery! Film stars epitomised glamour in the 1940s, think Film Noir and its ‘femme fatale’. Iconic movie stars mesmerised with both performances and their memorable looks…  Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Veronica Lake, Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Bette Davies... what a rollcall.

Forties fashion was defined by these film stars and their iconic wardrobes. Dreamy cocktail dresses and fabulous evening gowns. Throw on a stole and your biggest diamonds and you’re good to go.

Katharine Hepburn gives good glamour

Katharine Hepburn gives good glamour

Tea for two

1940s tea dresses were feminine and flattering with fitted waist and full skirt of the fit-and-flare silhouette. There was lots of choice of hem and sleeve lengths, prints and fabrics, making them a versatile choice for every event, not just tea parties!

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 who wears the trousers

The 1940s pant suit was made up of high waisted wide leg trousers or tailored shorts. Menswear inspired tailored pieces, usually made of cotton, denim or wool blends, were freeing for woman and this masculine style works so well today. This laid back androgynous vibe is a fave look of mine.

Elizabeth Taylor does a wide leg pant

Elizabeth Taylor does a wide leg pant

Workwear and overalls made of blue denim or sturdy cotton, become a symbol of the 1940s thanks to Rosie the Riveter, representing the women who worked in factories during World War II. In the UK it was the land girls who wore overalls and dungarees while farming. Overalls, jumpsuits and boilersuits are having a moment again and we’re fully onboard - practical, stylish and easy to wear, what’s not to love?

Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration behind Rosie the Riveter

Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration behind Rosie the Riveter

birth of the bikini

The two piece bikini was born in the 1940s. Halter neck tops and high suit bottoms that covered both belly buttons and modesty.

A later model was invented in 1946 which was tighter and lower on the waist, daringly revealing a little more flesh.

Jane Randolph bikini style

Jane Randolph bikini style

accessorise everything

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Accessories were big business and worn with everything - head scarfs, berets and turbans adorned heads, while chic neckerchiefs, gloves, bags and belts put the finishing touches to outfits. I’m loving the return of the forties wicker basket bag and headscarves are the perfect way to mask a bad hair day.


Round glasses were look of the day, with Aviators making their debut, before the Cateye came in at the end of the decade. Brightly coloured sunglasses with tinted lenses were a hit at the beach, while white frames with dark lenses were especially chic. Movie stars made sunglasses a true fashion accessory wearing them both day and night to hide from the paparazzi.

Check out our 1940s glasses and 1940s inspired frames here


The forties were the inspiration behind lots of trends and styles we’re seeing now and with classics like these you can’t go wrong.