1940s Fashion: What Did Women Wear in the 1940s?

All Blogs, Fashion / Friday, July 26th, 2019

Women in the 40s were still wearing the clothes that were modeled during the war rationing.


These dresses normally had squared shoulders, they were narrow from the hips and used to run just below knees. It was the pinnacle of fashion at that time along with tailored suits. One of the most common characteristics of 40s fashions that you will find is the small waist.


Women were encouraged to update their old dresses into the latest fashions of that time. Early years of the 40s were all about utility clothes.

Post-WWII 1940s Fashion

After World War II was over, 40s fashion began to pick up its pace as the dresses now started exhibiting femininity.

The dresses after what is believed to be a new era; WWII, had round shoulders and well-defined waistlines. The skirts were now somewhat padded and they were just hanging below the calves. Rounded shoulders were a big and prominent change that occurred in that decade.


In the 1940s, Girls were more inclined towards wearing sportswear and knee-length dresses, their wardrobe included sports casual clothes and bobby socks.

Sounds unbelievable, right? But it is actually true. 

It was all about creating an hourglass silhouette with a bit of spice like padded shoulders and high-waist tops. A-line skirts were on the verge of rising. When it came to wearing pants, they were high-waisted as well, in a wide-leg shape.


All of these trends began to be every woman’s preference because the hour-glass appearance it gave, even if their bodies were not in the desired shape. To complement their dresses, women in the 40s gave high importance to the accessories they wore. Such as hats, fancy handbags and most importantly, their jewelry.

What Women of the 40s Loved?

Some of the most adored fashion trends that women of that time adored were Knee Length dresses with puffed shoulders and patriotic colors.

Wide Leg pants with high waists. Not to forget; hats, turbans, snood, flower clips and headscarves.


The neckline in the 1940s fashion came in different shapes. Some necklines would be square, some would be slit, shirred and the top-of-the-line would be V-neckline. The dresses were more modest and did not reveal too much skin if you compare it with today’s fashion.

But, the party wear was something to shine some light on. Exceptional halter topped with shoulder-drop were the kind of dresses wore in the evening parties. The skirts were quite lengthy at the beginning of 1940 but with time they started sleeking.

More Colors, More Liveliness

In order to leave the remorseful days of WWII behind, women started wearing colorful clothes with creative patterns.


American cotton was among the new favorites of that era. Stout sized clothing was now carried by the clothing stories. Coats, shoes, and dresses that complimented a fuller body-size were promoted. Women with not the ideal hourglass body looked for clothing with a different eye.

The 1940s was the exemplary decade when fashion started coming out on the surface.

28 Replies to “1940s Fashion: What Did Women Wear in the 1940s?”

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