Get the Perfect 1940 Fashion Womens Look Now

If you’re looking to replicate the iconic fashion of the 1940s, you’ve come to the right place! From the tailored dresses to the Victory rolls and red lipstick, the 1940s fashion for women is still a favorite today. With more people wanting to adopt vintage fashion styles, the 1940s is a lovely place to start. Whether you’re dressing up for a themed event or you just want to rock a new vintage look, this guide will help you nail the perfect 1940s fashion womens look with ease.

Get the Perfect 1940 Fashion Womens Look Now
Get the Perfect 1940 Fashion Womens Look Now

The Origin of 1940s Women’s Fashion

The 1940s marked a significant period of change in the world – from the global conflict of World War II to significant advancements in fashion trends. As men headed off to fight the war, women took on new roles in the workforce, which meant that they had to dress for functionality and comfort while still maintaining their femininity.

The Cultural Influences on 1940s Women’s Fashion

During the 1940s, the fashion industry was heavily influenced by the war. The introduction of clothing rationing laws by the government had a significant impact on the types of clothes that women wore during this era. As resources became scarce, women had to make the most out of what they had available to them, and they couldn’t rely on buying new clothes frequently.

  • Utility Clothing: Clothing was designed to be functional and durable, with the government regulating the use of certain materials and the number of buttons on a garment.
  • Hats: Hat styles became more practical, with turbans and berets becoming increasingly popular. Headscarves were also popular, as they protected hair from damage in factories and other workplaces.
  • Makeup: Makeup during this era was all about accentuating natural features, with a focus on red lipstick and dramatic eyebrows.

The Historical Significance of 1940s Women’s Fashion

The 1940s saw the rise of many fashion icons, such as Katherine Hepburn and Rita Hayworth, who set new trends within the industry. The fashion industry also began to incorporate more diverse styles and patterns, drawing inspiration from different cultures around the world.

The 1940s women’s fashion served as an indicator of the social, economic, and political changes happening in the world at the time and has influenced fashion trends to this day.

Key Elements of 1940s Women’s Fashion

The 1940s were a time of glamour and elegance in women’s fashion, despite the challenges of World War II. During this period, women often dressed in tailored outfits with strong shoulders, straight skirts, and nipped-in waists. The prevalent fashion trends of the era were heavily influenced by the war effort, which required conservation of resources.


Accessories played a key role in tying together the elegant outfits worn by women in the 1940s. The most popular accessories during this period were hats, gloves, and handbags. Hats ranged from classic cloches to larger picture hats with floral or feather adornments. Gloves were a staple accessory that came in several lengths and styles. Handbags were typically structured and small enough to carry the essentials.

  • When selecting a hat, choose one that complements the shape of your face.
  • Match your gloves to the color and fabric of your outfit for a cohesive look.
  • Choose a handbag that is both functional and stylish.


Makeup during the 1940s was used to enhance natural beauty and create a polished, put-together look. Red lipstick was a staple of the era, and was often paired with a flawless complexion achieved through the use of foundation, powder, and blush. Eyebrows were shaped into arches with a defined end, and eyeshadow in neutral tones was used to accentuate the eyes.

Remember, less is more when it comes to makeup during this era. Stick to a fresh, natural look.

How to Create the Perfect 1940s Women’s Look

Are you looking to recreate the glamour and elegance of the 1940s women’s fashion? Look no further, because we have the step-by-step guidance to help you create the perfect 1940s look!


The perfect 1940s hairstyle is typically voluminous and curled. Long hair can be styled in victory rolls or pin curls, and short hair can be styled in finger waves or a pompadour. For an authentic look, consider adding hair accessories such as a headscarf, a hat, or a decorative hair clip.


1940s makeup is all about a bright red lip and a well-defined brow. Apply foundation and powder to create a matte finish, and add a touch of blush to the cheeks for a subtle flush. Then, use liquid or pencil eyeliner to create a thin line across the top of the lash line, and finish with two coats of mascara. Complete the look with a bold red lipstick.


When it comes to 1940s women’s clothing, think tailored and feminine. A-line skirts, high-waisted pants, and wide-leg trousers were popular during this era. A classic blouse paired with a fitted blazer or cardigan will complete the look. To add an extra touch of glamour, accessorize with a string of pearls or a brooch.

  • For a daytime look, opt for a floral print dress with a cinched waist or a nautical-inspired ensemble with a striped shirt and high-waisted pants.
  • For an evening look, choose a floor-length gown with a fitted bodice and flowing skirt or a fitted pencil dress with a bold pattern.

Shoes and Accessories

To complete your 1940s women’s look, don’t forget about the shoes and accessories. A pair of vintage-style heels will complete your outfit perfectly. Choose shoes with a block heel and a Mary Jane strap or a peep-toe pump. Accessories such as gloves, a clutch purse, or a vintage-inspired scarf will add the final touches of elegance to your look.

Top Brands and Designers for 1940s Women’s Fashion

The 1940s fashion era was characterized by a strong influence of art and culture. The tailored suits, A-line skirts, and platform shoes made sure that women looked sharp and chic. During this era, fashion designers played a significant role in creating iconic looks that are still relevant today. Here are some of the top brands and designers that epitomized the 1940s fashion era.

Christian Dior

Christian Dior is a fashion house that was launched in 1947 by the French designer, Christian Dior. Known for his romantic and feminine designs, Dior revolutionized fashion during the post-war era. His iconic “New Look” collection featured full skirts, fitted jackets, and tiny waists, which became the epitome of glamour.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel was a French fashion designer who revolutionized women’s wear, by introducing sportswear-inspired pieces. Her 1940s collection featured classic and timeless designs that are still relevant today. Chanel’s iconic jackets paired with slim skirts, became the epitome of sophisticated chic.

Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli was an Italian designer who was known for her bold and avant-garde designs. She pioneered the use of bright and clashing colors, which became a hallmark of the era. Her designs had a surrealistic and futuristic look, that inspired modern designs till today.

Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci was a fashion designer from Italy who was known for her romantic and delicate designs. Her designs were characterized by flowing fabrics, intricate details, and floral prints. She was especially famous for her fragrance, L’Air du Temps, which was created in 1948 and is still popular today.

Where to Shop for 1940s Women’s Fashion Items

If you want to achieve the perfect 1940s fashion womens look, you need to have the right pieces in your wardrobe. Finding these pieces can be a bit tricky, but don’t fret! We’ve curated a list of the best places to shop online and offline for retro and modern items to complete your stylish 1940s look.

Online Retailers

Shopping online is a great way to find unique pieces that perfectly capture the essence of 1940s women’s fashion. These are some of the best online retailers to check out:

  • ModCloth – ModCloth has a great selection of retro-inspired dresses, skirts, and blouses that would make any vintage-loving girl’s heart sing.
  • Unique Vintage – Unique Vintage is a treasure trove of vintage and vintage-style clothing, shoes, and accessories. If you want to feel like a classic Hollywood starlet, this is the place to shop.
  • Hell Bunny – Hell Bunny has a wide range of playful, retro-inspired dresses, tops, and skirts that would be perfect for any 1940s-style outfit.
  • Etsy – Etsy is a marketplace for independent sellers, which means you’re likely to find unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. Just make sure to check the seller’s ratings and reviews before making a purchase.

Brick and Mortar Stores

If you prefer to shop in person, there are still plenty of brick and mortar stores that cater to the 1940s fashion scene. Here are a few places to visit:

  • Antique Archaeology – Antique Archaeology is a vintage store that’s owned by the stars of the TV show American Pickers. They have two locations, one in Nashville and one in Iowa, and they offer a unique selection of vintage clothing and accessories.
  • The Red Dress Boutique – The Red Dress Boutique is a women’s clothing store that specializes in dresses. While not all of their dresses are 1940s-style, they do have a good selection of retro-inspired pieces.
  • Nordstrom – Nordstrom is a department store that carries a wide variety of clothing brands. While they may not have a specific section for 1940s fashion, they do carry classic pieces that can be incorporated into a vintage outfit.

Whether you decide to shop online or in person, remember to have fun with your 1940s women’s fashion look. Mix and match vintage and modern pieces to create a unique outfit that reflects your personal style.

Tips for Accessorizing Your 1940s Women’s Fashion Look

When it comes to creating an authentic 1940s women’s fashion look, accessorizing is key. By adding the right hats, gloves, and jewelry, you can elevate your outfit to the next level and truly capture the essence of this historic style. Here are some tips to help you accessorize your 1940s women’s fashion look:

1. Hats

Hats were a staple accessory during the 1940s, and there were many different styles to choose from. To achieve an authentic look, consider wearing a fedora, cloche, or beret. These styles were popular during the era and can instantly add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your outfit. They also will cover or pin your hair securely, which is important in 1940s women’s wear.

2. Gloves

Gloves were not only a fashion statement but also had a practical purpose of keeping hands warm. Short or long gloves were common, and for evening events, it wasn’t unusual to see gloves reaching up to the upper arm. Leather gloves in colors like black and brown were very common, as were gloves in pastel colors, which were a popular color choice for women’s clothing in the 1940s.

3. Jewelry

Jewelry during the 1940s focused on quality over quantity, with less ornate pieces that were designed to complement an outfit rather than overpower it. Look for jewelry made from materials like silver, gold, or Bakelite, which was a popular type of plastic used in jewelry during this time period. Stick to delicate pieces like stud earrings, small necklaces, and bracelets to create an understated yet stylish look. Brooches and pins with flowers and bows were popular and a way to add personality further.

4. Shoes

A good shoe can make or break an outfit, so make sure to choose wisely. During the 1940s, women’s shoes were made for practicality and comfort but did not skimp on the aesthetics. Look for shoes with chunky heels and pointed toes that were popular during the era. If you’re trying to stick to a budget or don’t want to invest too much in your 1940s women’s fashion look, try classic styles like pumps, loafers, or oxfords that can be worn with many different outfits.

5. Sunglasses

Sunglasses were a popular accessory during the 1940s and were often worn by the glamourous stars in Hollywood films. Look for oversized, round frames with a light colored lens in shades of black, brown, or tortoise-shell. Bold eye-shapes will give you a diva look.

6. Purses

Purses or handbags during the 1940s were smaller and structured yet still big enough to carry everything a woman needed. For that retro look, try and use a compact, small-styled handbag. Bags were often made of leather, silk, or intricately embroidered fabrics like tapestry. Look for styles that feature kiss locks, clasps and frame closures, or drawstrings. Try and avoid big duffle or totes styles. Look for brands such as Hermes, Chanel, and Fendi to bring that vintage glamour to your wardrobe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Answers
What were the popular clothing items in the 1940s for women? The popular clothing items for women in the 1940s were high-waisted trousers, A-line skirts, button-down shirts, blouses, and wedge shoes.
What hairstyles were popular in the 1940s? The popular hairstyles in the 1940s were victory rolls, pin curls, and the pompadour.
What makeup was popular in the 1940s? The makeup trends of the 1940s included bold red lips, thick eyebrows, and winged eyeliner.
What colors were popular in the 1940s? Colors such as red, blue, green, and yellow were popular in the 1940s. Pastel colors were also in vogue.
What accessories were popular in the 1940s? Accessories such as brooches, hats, gloves, and handbags were popular in the 1940s.
What style icons were popular in the 1940s? The style icons of the 1940s included actresses such as Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth and Audrey Hepburn, as well as fashion designer Christian Dior.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you found this article helpful in achieving the perfect 1940 fashion women’s look. Remember, a key aspect of the 1940s style was modesty and elegance, so keep that in mind when putting together your outfit. If you have any other questions or helpful tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check back for more helpful articles!

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