Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 month ago

Why did people dress nicer in the 1940s and 1950s?

8 Answers

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    There have been some very thoughtful answers to this question.

    People in the 1940s and 1950s tried to present a neat appearance. The war (being bombed out of their homes, living in air raid shelters, mending their clothes, saving ration tickets to buy one good coat or dressy separately of shoes, utility fashions - no frills, save cloth, look drab) was a challenge to morale. You could not look good all the time, so you looked good whenever you could. "Beauty for Duty" the  adds said. "Your man on leave needs to see you shine."

    The military look was also classic couture.  Blouse. Skirt. Jacket. Polished shoes. Hair to the collar. Hat at the proper angle: straight meaning business but a little tilted for flirtation. Even the factory and farm girls changed from coveralls into that ensemble to go out,  and it is still office attire, minus the hat.

    After the war and after rationing ended women wanted to look and feel feminine, so the bouffant skirt and the gloves became fashionable.  They wanted to dress up at night and feel like a princess. If Grace Kelly could become a princess and Princess Margaret could flirt with a handsome equerry, why not look like they look? And Jackie Kennedy always looked poised and cool.

  • 1 month ago

    Because they had morals and knew how to dress better than modern day airheads.

    40s and 50s are my favourite decades in all of history, I LOVE the values, the women's clothing, and the laws that said all those under 21 are legal children in every country, and rightfully so. 

    Best thing about the decade of course was WW2 when my homeland (Germany) tried to rid the world of the parasite that is the kike.

  • Ludwig
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Because the German uniforms were designed and made by Hugo Boss, not some bunch of kids in China.

  • 1 month ago

    Part of it was the greater emphasis on "proper" appearance....but a oft-ignored factor is simple economics. 

    Though most seem to take it for granted, we have enjoyed decades of massive luxury compared to previous generations.  This has led to a far greater variety in clothing options (more choice = more diversity = more challenges to "tradition") and the now-common notion of "disposable goods."

    My grandfather bought a wool overcoat in the 1940s...that coat was worn, in turn, by my father, my older brother and me as each of us moved around the country and lived in cold climates.  That coat has now been passed to my adult niece who is studying in Europe.  That's over 70 years of use.  Think anything from Macy's today will last that long?

    So when you hear about people being more "conservative" back then, understand that it was a mindset born from an extended period of economic hardship unknown even to those of us that experienced the downturns of the past three decades.  People dressed nicer because it was a blessing to have decent clothes of any kind.

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  • L
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I agree with Kenny: Getting photos taken was an event and expensive.

    I agree with Christine: Society was lots more conservative.

    I think I agree with John: There was more pride for the USA... but I'm not clear on how that would impact clothing choices for photos.

    My opinion: There was not as much disposable income and most people did not have closets overflowing with cheap clothing or fat/skinny clothes. Also, citizens and the economy were still recovering from World War 2 and there was not as much "personal waste" as there is today.

    (I remember flying on Pan American Airlines in the early 1960's when I was a kid... I had to wear a suit and tie - and we were not in First Class...)

  • Kenny
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Getting your picture taken was expensive so it was an event .

  • John
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    They had pride for The United States of America and wore Fedora Hats and Bow Ties. Even women wore Fedora Hats.

  • 1 month ago

    It's because society was more conservative back then.  Their parents taught them what was appropriate, both in clothing choices and in behavior.  You might observe that fashions have become more revealing, even naughty in recent years.  Dress codes have become more lax, to the point where sloppy and grungy is the new sheik and acceptable.  What a shame.  Still, if you want to be respected in business, you need to dress in business fashion, not street gang fashion.

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