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Classic 1940s Fashion Trends

Updated on September 13, 2017
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Sheila's a children's author who loves fashion trends from the wellness industry. She enjoys sharing fabulous style tips with you!

This is it, ladies! Classic vintage clothing of the forties is taking the fashion industry by storm. Shoulder pads are in and so is long hair, frothy skirts and suites with dramatic makeup! Attract attention to your face with a colorful lipstick and hair by wearing your locks loose or bound.

You Must Chuck Your Skimpy Clothes

Chuck your miniskirts, halter tops and bikinis and skimpy clothes aside. These won’t do any longer, because now wearing more clothing is the movement. Even bikinis are fuller and cover more! Set out to recreate the chic styles of the late Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman and Ann Sheridan. They were the fashion icons, then and today modest women desire to emulate them.

The Flair of the 1940 is Classy and Chic
The Flair of the 1940 is Classy and Chic | Source

Rita Hayworth's Flair

Rita Hayworth loved to put on sexy cocktail vintage evening dresses that were timeless, classy and attention catching. She wore boat collar dresses, and strapless ball gowns with long gloves that reached upward to her shoulders. Her robes were decorated in selective placed jewel, sparkles, lace and embellishment. She wouldn’t reveal her cleavage either. She was viewed as the best dressed young woman in Hollywood. Today, her clothing style can be found in upscale boutiques. You can wear her modish style for grand galas, proms and holiday parties.

Ingrid Bergman's Influence

Ingrid Bergman was known for her innate beauty and she was the most impressive in the 1940s. She mostly wore mid-skirt suits with wide, brimming hats or fedoras and at times had a striped look. Her khaki blazers and trench coats were superb along with her white collar button down blouses. Today, her style can easily be worn to an office setting.

Ann Sheridan in 1934
Ann Sheridan in 1934 | Source

Fire Hair Was Unique in the 40s

Ann Sheridan loved to wear celebrated artist’s Travilla clothing style sketches of woman, her personal couturier. She had wide shoulders, a tiny waist and slim hips. I imagine her broad shoulders stemmed from the shoulder pads incorporated in her frocks. Her fiery red hair drew much attention and she wore it with clout. No one could contend with her matchless beauty. Today, suits and dresses are stuffed with attractive shoulder pads to complete the outfit. You’ll appear refined and put together in this type of manner.

The 1940s Color Combination of Garments Was Exceptional.
The 1940s Color Combination of Garments Was Exceptional. | Source

The Craze of the 1940's Vintage Style

Mid-length dresses and skirts of solid colors, along with small hats are the new fad. This 1940s style is perfect for an office setting. The color combination of your garments is the key to making you look sensational. You can wear dark colored skirts with light colored blouses, and checkered prints with solid bottoms or dresses below the knee with closed shoes. Remember, to add a chic flare by wearing a jacket or sweater that has shoulder pads as well. Certainly, you’ll look well put together.

In the forties, the substance of bust size and waist is also emphasized. Nowadays, you are not required to possess an hourglass shape, however, dressing in a classic style will convey out your posture. If you have large breasts, create a chic silhouette by wearing a pencil skirt with pumps or a peplum dress. If they are less than average, wear a full skirt instead to draw attention to your hips.

Remember to match your garments to a hat to add a modish touch. If you don’t have a hat, a scarf will do. You can wrap your corresponding scarf around your head or wear it loose on your shoulders. The choice is entirely up to you!

Mix and Match Clothes with Colorful Blouses

Mix and match certain key clothes with colorful blouses and jackets. Combining a variety of floral prints is tacky; therefore you should be diligent when adding such. And so are the textures that contain pictures of certain words. This style was reminiscent of the 1960s hippies’ movement and it holds no place in the chic, vintage style of today. Add some stockings and wedged shoes to your pristine style and voila, you’re good to go. You need not have a glut of dressy garments either, a few traditional pieces will do. Surely, this won’t break your budget. You can also choose to shop in upscale thrift stores to save money.

Framed glasses are also up-to-the-minute, so don’t forget to wear your sunglasses. They camouflage your visage and add a fine touch of forties classic style.

Vintage Dresses of the Forties

In the midst of searching for classic vintage fashion, I came across this fabulous video. It depicts a glamorous fashion show, where ladies are decked in long flowing dresses. Each style is unique and perfect for a special night out. The beautiful models put on an elegant show that is also highly entertaining, not the usual run of the mill fashion show.

Vintage Gown Show

Today's Top Vintage Designers

(click column header to sort results)
Giorgio Armani
Bill Blass
Oleg Cassini

Dress Poll

Which Dress Style Do You Prefer?

See results

Photo Credits

Thank you to the following photographer for the photos on this Hub, which are published under Creative Commons License 3.0:

The Photos are from

Craan on HubPages

© 2014 Sheila Craan


Submit a Comment

  • Craan profile image

    Sheila Craan 3 years ago from Florida

    Hi Lisa, Surely, classic styles are on the rise! You must shop in the women’s section of the department stores. The sporty look, I think, will not fade with the rage of people exercising more and demanding such clothing.

  • Craan profile image

    Sheila Craan 3 years ago from Florida

    Thank you, Teaches! Vintage clothing is a pleasant break from the hippy style that has dominated the store racks these last few years. Today, I can look forward to looking my best in beautiful classic garments.

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    LisaKeating 3 years ago

    I'm hesitant to agree that 40s style is returning to main street fashion. All I see is athletic wear replacing jeans and t-shirts. Of course, women will wear whatever television ads tell them to wear!

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    Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

    I absolutely love that green dress! I do see some of these trends in the fall fashions. Thanks for the lovely share on styles.