It’s the 70th anniversary of VE Day tomorrow – can you imagine how amazing that party was?! After five long years of war, Europe was at peace, and tomorrow is the anniversary – a time for celebration and commemoration.
We’re looking at the fashions of the day, of course, and what you should be wearing if you want to celebrate the VE Day anniversary with VE Day fashion.
So what were women wearing in 1945? Well, it was a couple f years before Christian Dior’s famed ‘New Look’ – fuller skirts, nipped in waists – was introduced to the world. Styles were more simple, a lot plainer than what was to come in the 1950s. Skirts were more draped than full, still mid calf length though, some slightly shorter.
Women were wearing trousers more – thanks to many who had worked during the war – in munitions factories, or on the land – and had worn trousers as workwear.
Shoulders were wide, jackets were structured, and shoes were pretty basic. Accessories were also quite plain for the ordinary woman. The classic ‘tea dress’ was a 1940s style, but was more prevalent in the 1950s – when it became brighter, thanks to more fabric availability. Shoulders softened in the 1950s as well – the 1940s dresses had a very angular structure to them.
Images from here
Colour did exist – look at this 1945 clothes advert, and gorgeous Rita Hayworth in another ’40s classic staple item – knitwear. All of these looks would look contemporary today.
Catalogue image via Pinterest
So, if you do want to indulge in your own VE Day fashion, we’re here to help. Let’s look at dresses first. We’re veering into 1950s territory with today’s vintage-style, prom-style dresses, but we’ll let you off with this on VE Day.
Clockwise, from top left: Pink floral dress, £120, JOY, purple and white floral dress, £65, Debut @ Debenhams, blue dress, £39.99, New Look, chambray stripe dress, £30, BHS, blue ribbon-tied dress, £49, BHS, dark blue floral cap sleeve dress, £65, JOY
If you want to evoke more of a pared-down classic 1940s style, then try separates – fluted hem skirts, shirt dresses, draping, and knitwear, all in classic muted colours – navy, black, grey, brown and bottle green.
Clockwise,from top left: Bottle green dress, £65, French Connection, asymmetric skirt, £85, French Connection,zip detail knit, £29.99, H&M, navy cardigan, £30, JOY, green draped skirt, £80, French Connection, shirt dress, £24.99, New Look, grey skirt, £24.99, H&M
Trousers were wide, or tapered, worn with knits or simple tops. Update your 1940s VE Day fashion look with wide-legged trousers, and a simple jacket. Culottes were around in the 1940s – team them with a crop top for a modern take. Or keep it classic with a 1940s style wrap dress.
Clockwise, from top left: Pinstripe trousers, £22.99, New Look, grey crepe skirt, £22, BHS, white jacket, £69, Star by Julien Macdonald @ Debenhams, navy dress, £68, Betty Jackson Black @ Debenhams, blue polka dot trousers, £35, RJR John Rocha @ Debenhams, grey ribbed top, £4.99, New Look, black culottes, £38, Principles by Ben de Lisi @ Debenhams
Knitwear was big in the 1940s (and into the 1950s). The cardigan was an essential, and short boxy shapes were key to the look. Add a cardigan or a polo neck to any flared skirt for a 1940s look.
Finally, accessories. Shoes were pretty basic back in the 1940s. Try a simple low heeled court shoe, or a block heeled sandal to give your VE Day fashion a modern edge.
Bags were boxy and simple. Coloured leathers weren’t so prevalent – but you can update the look with a pastel coloured tote for 2015. And a little fascinator with a birdcage veil adds a bit of fun to your look – even though this was probably more 1950s, than ’40s.
Clockwise, from top left: Block heel sandals, £24.99, H&M, round bag, £12.99, New Look, grey court shoes, £14.99, H&M, pink bag, £35, Principles by Ben de Lisi @ Debenhams, fascinator with veil, £35, Top Hat by Stephen Jones @ Debenhams, mint bag, £115, Bailey & Quinn @ Debenhams
Please note that we always endeavour to feature items that are available in Ocean Terminal, however sometimes items featured may be out of stock, and prices may vary due to seasonal reduction