In the 80th anniversary year since the start of the Second World War. Let’s take a look on how clothing evolved in the era and how the fashion ration affected the trends and colours at the time.

The dark days of the Second World War were so austere that the Government even dictated fashion trends in a desperate bid to save as much cloth as possible. Garments manufactured during the era that met frugality regulations were known as utility clothing – the huge trend we know and love today.

Revealing the fashion truths behind the eras, Woodhouse Clothing drilled down the top trends for every decade since the 1910’s.


Below you can see the information for the 1940’s;

  • Demob suits – Preceding the war, all servicemen returning home were issued with a formal three-piece suit, many of these were made by Burtons. The post-war suit became part of fashion legend due to its name The Full Monty, which today is one our best-loved sayings.
  • Military Jackets– The military jackets we see today are inspired by the RAF pilots in the 1940’s. Navy blue with gold buttons, the uniform was sleek and stylish. There was this snobbery between the services that emerged, with men in the army referring to the men the RAF as ‘Brylcreem Boys’. In comparison, the poor soldiers were known as ‘the brown jobs’, which sounds very grim. So there’s very much that sort of inter-service rivalry. And you could see that through clothing.
  • Key colours – Colours were dark in the decade, as the country went through a time of loss and mourning. The cheap fabric also affected the choice of colours that were worn during the decade. Dark browns, greens, and beige were most commonly worn by men and women.
  • Style icons – Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy