Have Your Own 1940s Burlesque Style Photo Shoot for Men and Women

Essential 1940's wardrobe items.. hat, fur, and gloves
Essential 1940's wardrobe items.. hat, fur, and gloves
Pin up girl look of 1940's with the "victory roll" hairstyle
Pin up girl look of 1940s with the "victory roll" hairstyle
Shrugs are a great vintage 1940's item
Shrugs are a great vintage 1940's item
The hot "Nurse" look was popular in the 1940's at the onset of WWII
The hot "Nurse" look was popular in the 1940s at the onset of WWII

A Guide to Vintage Style

If you are looking to experiment with vintage clothing, celebrate the femininity of classic styles, or create photos that are unique and original, a 1940s photo shoot is a creative way to express yourself and makes for an outstanding party theme.

The 1940s in Fashion

While this era of history is considered to be one of the most glamorous, the style of clothing and hair were actually inspired by the Depression and necessity to be simple during WWII when women entered the workforce in record of numbers. Not only were Americans required to work long hours, textiles and other raw materials were scarce. Imports and exports were put on hold while countries in the world chose a side in the War.

1940s fashion seeks to draw attention to the shoulders of both men and women. Elbow length gloves were a hallmark for women while fedoras and suspenders were staples in men's wardrobes. Furs became popular early in the era.

Styles became less fashionable in 1942 when the onset of WWII caused a shortage of an already limited supply of nylon and polyester which were seized by the government to make uniforms and parachutes for US Soldiers. In these years, women began wearing pants due to shortages in fabric and because they were called to work in factories to produce war equipment. Popular magazines and pattern companies advised women on how to remake men's suits into smart outfits, since the men were in uniform and the cloth would otherwise sit unused.

Hairstyles

One way women in the United States showed support for the victory of the war was to wear their hair in a "Victory Roll" as listed below. This hairstyle also enabled women to keep their hair out of their faces while they were working in the factories.


Make Up

Make up styles in the 1940s varied greatly from the styles of today. In this era, woman were very natural and did not go to tanning beds. Make up was light, soft, and natural. There was no "smokey eye" or heavy eyeliner.

To achieve the 1940s look in makeup, start with a light foundation to the entire face. Dust your foundation with a light powder foundation with pink undertones to keep the natural tones. Instead of highlighting eye lids, ladies of the 1940s accentuated their eyebrows with a powder matching their natural color and accented arches. Sheer, light colored eye shadow was used instead of today's dark colors. Great emphasis should be placed on eyelashes- making them long, black, and lustrous. If you have sparse lashes, falsies will give you a great 1940s look. Rose colored blush should be used on the apples of cheeks and blended to avoid creases. Last, lips should look glamorous and soft. Lip liner in a red, burgundy, or crimson should be applied heavily to the top lip followed by a thick, luscious lipstick in the same color.

Jewelry

Jewelry was not a highlight of the fashion of the 1940s. Fresh out of the Great Depression and jumping straight into WWII, jewelry making in the US practically stopped. The most popular jewelry of the time were "Sweetheart" necklaces in which a woman wore one half and her lover off to war wore the other half.

Background

Because the subject of the photo should be the focus, backgrounds should be minimal and not distracting or competitive with the model. Simple matte backgrounds are perfect. If you are taking photos indoors, consider having your subject lay on a couch in an "S" position. Plain furs and adornments should be used. If shooting photos outside, consider your surroundings. You will not want to include ultra modern buildings or implements in a 1940s photo shoot.

Popular 1940s settings would include a Hollywood Red Carpet, a movie set, a military ship depot, or cars from the time period.

How to Create the Victory Roll Hairstyle

A Look Into a Real 1940s Photo Shoot

Men's Style in the 1940s

In this era, there were no jeans, sweat pants, knitted sweaters, or sneakers. The clothes made the man and every man wore a suit with wide legged trousers. Jackets could either be double or single breasted, although double is more stereotypical of the 40′s. Men's jackets were padded in the shoulders to give men the appearance of stature. Facial hair of any kind was not popular. Men took pride in great shoes and it was typical to wear highly polished oxfords daily.

If dressing for a photoshoot, consider a stylish fedora. Not only does it give off vibes of the era, it gives any fellow the distinguished look of maturity.

Men's Style in the 1940's

Men's style with suspenders
Men's style with suspenders

A Guide to Vintage Shopping

Vintage clothing items aren't hard to find, but you must know where to look. EBay offers a great deal of great vintage items. There are many "specialty shops" on the net that offer fabulous items with a money back guarantee. Here are a few highly rated sights:

www.modcloth.com

www.dandelionvintage.com

www.vintageous.com

Gifts for Soldiers

If you are the wife or girlfriend or a man stationed away from home.. God Bless You!! Pin up style photos with an 1940s feel is patriotic and sexy. Photos would be a wonderful surprise for your military solider!

More by this Author


Comments 65 comments

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 5 years ago from California

What a fun and lovely idea!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Audrey.. stay tuned.. I am going to do a hub on boudoir photography.. :)


blairtracy profile image

blairtracy 5 years ago from Canada

Oh! This looks fun! I should get a few friends together and try it out in the future. I also love the photo's in this hub.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Blair Tracy.. it is really fun.. they look really good when they are finished and you photoshop them to black and white or the antique look. I appreciate the comment!


brandasaur profile image

brandasaur 5 years ago from Planet X

This is nice Hub! Some parties out there are themed to be back in 1940s and up! This article will be very helpful Hub!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

What a great way to spice up a photo. Voting this Up and Awesome.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank for reading brandasaur.. it is really fun to do. It is just a different kind of beautiful.

Hi alcosin.. thank you for your nice comments! It is a very unique creative idea that also makes for a good gift.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great hub which I vote up and bookmark.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you so much Eddy. I hope you have a great day too!


feenix profile image

feenix 4 years ago

Hello, tammyswallow,

As you may have picked up with my "surprise video" of the Andrews Sisters, I really do like what could be described as the 1940s style.

I love the way people dressed back then, the music, the way the men and women conducted themselves, and I could go on.

Also, when I was a little boy in the early 1950s, I had a lot of exposure to the "1940's style" because my very beautiful mother was a "'40's Child."


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Feenix,

There is just a certain class that all people had in the 40's that is so appealling. I bet your Mom was a classy lady. Sometimes I wish I couldv'e been born in that era.. Life was so much simpler! Good to see you as always.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Wow...you have done a great job, my friend. Very inspiring hub, especially for us who love photography. Thank you very much for share with us. Rated up!

Prasetio


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Pras.. it is so much fun and the guys get to have some great photos. A good time time for all. Thanks for stopping by!


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

I really like that style.....no pants hanging down past the butt-crack, and the ladies all look like ladies.

very cool.

Chris


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you CMerritt. This style seems to appeal a lot to the men because it is so classy. I like it because ladies don't need to look like tanned rawhide leather from a tanning bed..lol. Thank you for reading and stopping to comment!


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

This was so much fun to see. I love the older styles where fashion and sexy mixed to create classy. And the hair and makeup - so sleek! Now Im inspired to try a 1940s photo shoot. I just need to find a model...


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

I am glad you enjoyed it Ardie.. I love the classiness. It is a fun girls night to get everyone together to take eachother's photos. I hope you will give it a try! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a wonderful comment.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether

Voted up and awesome, Tammy! You've covered my absolute FAVORITE decade of fashion and style here. I have an obessession with the 40s (and 50s)! I've also written hubs on how to do vintage hairstyles and dress like a pin-up girl...but this hub is one of my favorites. Great writing and ideas!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Kitty! My daughter in law got me started on this. She has all the hats, bolero fur coats.. She has a real tutu dress from the 1950s.. Everything about that era is just so natural and beautiful. I will take a look and see what I can link.. Thanks!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I really enjoyed watching the videos and looking at the hairdo's .. AND THE CLOTHES WOW..great HUB... I voted up and awesome...


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Ms. Deborah. I am glad you enjoyed it. I think the beauty of the 1940s speaks volumes that less is so much more beautiful. Thank you for stopping by!


mason1966 profile image

mason1966 4 years ago from Louisville, ky

Love this! Very creative.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you mason!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Costume-parties are in fashion down here. So every occasion gets a theme and guests dress accordingly. I find the swing of Fashion from decade to decade interesting and amazing. I've bookmarked this one... perhaps it is time for me to organize a party...

All thumbs up for this hub.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for reading Martie. A costume party would be fun too.. It would be a fun party. It is so glamourous yet so simple. I hope you try it!


Diana Trees profile image

Diana Trees 4 years ago from Atlantic City

I do so love the '40s look, especially the shot of Dita Von Teese. Nicely done!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you Diana.. She is stunning isn't she!


K Kiss profile image

K Kiss 4 years ago from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

One of my favourite era. You do inspire me tammyswallow. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Luscious and lovely Hub! My mother was a "war bride," married in 1943. I've always loved her elegant fashion from those years and am glad to see interest in the period continue to grow with articles as informative and engaging as yours. LOVE the Victory Roll video. So that's how they did it! Up and awesome.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

One day I really have to try this! Your hub has me more tempted! You should receive a commission!:)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Tammy, this is a fantastic Hub! What a great job you did. The photos and video are terrific.


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

This looked so much fun...great idea/hub!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

This hub was definitely a blast. Last year right before Valentine's Day I found a meetup group that did Pin-up shots. For a day, I got the opportunity to wear vintage clothing and have my hair done vintage style. They even taught us the pin-up makeup. It was such a blast and this really gave me a lot more insight into that. If you ever get a chance to do a pin-up photo shot, I would definitely give it a shot. It is completely like going into a whole different world! :)


albertsj profile image

albertsj 4 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

What a unique and fun idea. Voted up & awesome.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

I love the idea of a 1940s photo, the elegant style, the music, the clothes- everything looks great! Voted up, shared and more!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Jacy! You should give it a try!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks thoughtforce! That is one of my favorite time periods and definatley one of the most elegant.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I love Vintage fashion and love 1940s films. I have been in a historical show through my cousin Ivan Sayers. I got to be a Bobby Soxer and wear a red dress from the 20s. It was fun!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Flora. I love this era too. What a unique experience! That must have been fun! Thanks for sharing that!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This looks like a lot of fun, dressing up in vintage clothes for a photograph shoot. Sounds like a great party idea as well. Voted up.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Millionaire Tips! It is a blast. That would be an awesome party. Everyone could bring their makeup and vintage dress up clothing.. have a little wine.. Much fun to be had! Thanks so much for reading!


Duchess OBlunt 4 years ago

This is awesome! What a terrific idea and very informative. Tell me, are the pictures yours?


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Duchess OBlunt,

These photos are not mine. My daughter in law is my model and she is shy and to beautiful for comments. :)


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

I love the look of this era - but then, I'm a vintage film buff! Great hub, Tammy, and very well written. I love the details about make-up and jewelry. Now, if only I can find a photographer near me who can do this! Thanks for the fun read!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Marcy. Women had a different beauty back then. I love catching a good old film. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


Duchess OBlunt 4 years ago

she most definitely is beautiful!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you Duchess!


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub Tammy. It just dawned on me that people spend a great deal of time discussing what look men find appealing in women, but you rarely ever hear what look women find appealing in men.

Nice hubs. I like the nurse look, speaking from a male point of view.

Take care and voted up on your interesting article.

John


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for visiting this hub John Sarkis. This is a very true observation. I appreciate the comment and vote up.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Great photographs in great styles.


singhrakeshs profile image

singhrakeshs 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

Great hub!! I love this hub. She is looking so beautiful in his all picture those you have shared.. Thanks for sharing

Voting this Up and Awesome.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 4 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Love your first photo wonderful look :) Those kind of hats are gorgeous :)


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks jainisumus! :)


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for stopping by singhrakeshs!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Lady Fiddler. I like these looks too. So classy!


MargaritaEden profile image

MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

Very interesting idea and wonderful tips to accomplish it!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks MargaritaEden! :)


Mama Kim 8 profile image

Mama Kim 8 4 years ago

This sounds so fun! I'll be revisiting this hub when my best friends comes for a visit!! I just know she'll adore this as well.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Mama Kim 8. This would be a great party! You could make some 1940s cocktails and play some Perry Como. I hope you have a great time!


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi tammyswallow! What a great hub on one of the most interesting era's, the 1940s. As a Make-Up Artist I love the 1940s look combined with the hair, style and love burlesque! Thanks tammy for sharing this captivating article with great tips, ideas and photos for achieving the look. Voted and will be sharing with my followers:)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I would look so good in a double-breasted suit like that one....and a fedora.....gotta have the fedora!

Fun hub! You are a woman of many talents and interests. If I ever have a major party to celebrate my best seller I'm flying you out to organize the party.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks for your kind words Suzie HQ. I love this era and the makeup and clothing. I have always wanted to be a make up artist. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Billybuc,

You and Bev could get photos made in 1940s outfits. That would be lots of fun and you'd have great photos for your hubs! Thank you for the compliment. I would LOVE to plan your event when you hit the best seller list. :)


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

I love this hub, very fun idea and great tips. Thanks for Sharing.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks so much Kimberly Lake! This is a really fun way to spend a day. :)

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