Decades of Style

Look at pinup illustrators of the decades, note the year of the drawing’s publication. Chances are, you need a footnote to distinguish whether you’re looking at late 1940s or early 1980s. Sears catalogs of the nineteen thirties, forties, and fifties coupled with a bit of swimsuit fashion research could stand to guide today’s fashionistas in better discerning what to wear. Depression era thirties boast mid-length A-line skirts, jumpers, and utilitarian shoes. Glimpses of the fabulous fifties are foreshadowed. The silver screen and Westmore family guide fashion and women. Heavily influenced by film, styles in hair, makeup and clothing remain guided by Industry. The Westmore beauty concept likely influences even your ideals of appeal.

The forties demand utilitarian style as the world is at war and rationing dictates shorter hemlines. Rules are in place limiting the amount of material to be used in constructing a garment. The war is over in 1948 and The New Look in Vogue magazine, cinches a womanly waist and busty figure. Liberated, designers celebrate and are generous with material popularizing the circle skirt and return of full length evening wear. Before studying the everyday fashions found in the Sears Catalogs, I thought myself an equal fan of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. A quick study, however, reveals strong preference for the extreme femininity of the 1950s. Whole subcultures, Rockabilly most pervasive, testify to the intrigue of this decade’s style.

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