The 1940’s were a tough time for most of the world. It was a time of austerity, which the fashion of the period reflects through its colours and cut of clothing.
Austerity affected men’s clothes during the wartime years just as it did women’s. Pre-war suits would have been made from wool, cotton or another expensive material, whereas during the war they were made from synthetic materials in order to cut costs.
A group of British designers joined together to become the Incorporated Society of Fashion Designers. There purpose was to create a line of designs that would be affordable and hard wearing. The group made the most out of materials available and created over thirty different designs.
One example was the British Utility suit which was designed by Edward Molyneaux. There was nothing special about these suits, they were made from wool-synthetic blend yarns and were very simply-cut. They had no pleats, turn ups or patch pockets like previous suits. The jackets were shorter, trousers narrower and waistcoats were no longer made in order to save materials. The suits didn’t even have pockets as they needed to save on material.
Most men who were able to would continue to wear their pre-war suits, however these would not have been as hard wearing which meant that many had to conform wear the British Utility suit.
These suits fitted in with the ‘mend and make do’ mentality and were very plain and drab to look at. Colours were very dark, fitting in with the dark era. Greens, navy, red and grey were all popular colours for clothing. This was largely due to the colours which were used within military personnel uniforms.
Of course, much of the country were military personnel which meant they were provided with their own uniforms. There was a wide range of military uniforms depending on what section you were in. For example, RAF uniforms, army uniforms, air wardens and navy uniforms were all popular. For fancy dress in particular many men like to dress up in one of these uniforms as it is the smartest way to embrace the 1940’s. Due to the nature of the Goodwood Revival event, military uniform is always popular as it fits with the RAF theme.
We have a very wide range of uniforms fit for Goodwood Revival costume use, some of which are on our website so take a look and give us a call on 01580 830757 for any assistance required.