1940s Fashion: A Decade In Style Icons

1940s Fashion: A Decade In Style Icons
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From Rita Hayworth to Lana Turner, meet the women who made the 1940s a decade that redefined women's style forever...

1940s fashion has been long heralded as the most stylish decade in history, and it's certainly not hard to see why. 

After the torment of World War II, women — who had stepped into the workplace for the first time in place of their husbands, fathers and brothers who had all signed up to the army, air force or navy — began to redefine their roles within society and thus developed a new 'uniform' for their changing lives. 

Once the hardships of the second world war had started to melt away, fashion became just as important as it had been in the early '30s — but this time around everything had changed. Gone were the flapper style dressed and in their place was utilitarian dressing. Co-ordinating skirt and jacket suits were the order of the day while an emphasis of silhouette was paramount. Large shoulders and full-skirted dresses created volume that was never-before-seen while nipped in waists created an easy hourglass shape. Fabrics were different too with heavy duty woven wools becoming sought after amongst the era's most stylish. 

However, the stars of the big screen too found their red carpet looks changing from glittering ball gowns to slinky column cut dresses in sexy silks and satins. Women were coming into their own in fashion, and it was never going to be the same again. 

Of course, the Golden Age actresses were at the forefront of the change and continue to be a major source of style inspo today. 

From Doris Day's preppy white trouser and stripe jumper combos and Lauren Bacall's figure-sculpting gowns to Rita Hayworth's curve-enhancing swimwear, these were the women who made the 1940s what it was — a re-writing of ladies fashion. 

To honour these women, we've looked back at the inspiring decade defining outfits that made 1940s fashion the most iconic of all time. Each look is so beautiful, it's impossible not to be inspired...

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