Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Vintage Coats - 1940s

Today, I continue my series on coat styles through the decades with a look at the 1940's. As with other garments, coats saw a change in style due to the fabric restrictions of WWII. Hem lengths become shorter. It was not uncommon for women to continue to wear their coat from the 1930's by cutting off the bottom of the coat and hemming it to knee length. Military influences and strong shoulders abound during the war years.

From 1941, a wrap coat with wide lapels and big shoulders in Stroock's llama cloth.

From 1941, two plaid topcoats in lighter weight wools. You can see the fabric restrictions clearly in the coat on the right. There is less underlap of the front opening when buttoned. Both coats are by Eisenberg.

From 1943, you can see military influences in these styles. With no end in sight to the war, women bought classic cuts that would stay in fashion for years to come.

From 1943, a simple tailored coat by Brittany. As clothing wore out during the "Make Do and Mend" war years, women often started to wear men's coats that were available since their soldiers were away. This look started to become stylish, as you can see here. Fabric restrictions are met by keeping the cut simple with no extra fullness or decorations. The shoulder line is very strong.

After the war is over and fabric restrictions are lifted, coats begin to become fuller with more volume in the body and sleeves. Hemlines become longer again. Here, from 1949, a coat by Donnybrook with a swing cut in the back.

Also from 1949, a Swansdown coat in the new longer length with fullness at the back and wide, wide sleeves.