Whether you just sent your RSVP back for a murder-mystery party, a 1940s themed dress-up party or a Blitz party, having a great costume affects both your reception and your enjoyment. The decade of the 1940s was a time of glamor, glitz and Hollywood. As a product of such, the clothing that evolved from this era is rich with a movie-star flavor that permeated the wartime environment of high society. Putting together a costume from this era requires attention to detail and the use of vintage clothing, whether it is an authentic or a replicated one. Keep reading for a look at 3 different 1940s outfits that make you the focus of any 1940s fancy dress costume party with which you grace your presence.
Dress up as a wartime matron of high society. Despite the wartime fabric shortages, women in this time period paid a great deal of attention to how well they dressed. Clean, A-line skirts and suits that fall slightly below the knee are trademarks of this look. Colors prevalently used were rich – sometimes even vibrant – and stretched from one of the spectrum to the other. The key to any great outfit is to accessorize well. This is as true with styles from the 40s as it is today. Any great, high-society matron costume features accessories like fox furs, pill-box hats and close-toed, semi-high heels that were often adorned with buckles, laces or buttons. An appropriate hairstyle featuring a snood worn over or around the hair adds an authentic look and feel. Top it off with a finishing touch that brings the costume full circle – a splash or two of a popular 1940s perfume like Channel No. 5.
Jump into a zoot suit for a mobster look. Zoot suits are male fashions that exploded during the 1940s. Popular with mobsters, these suits feature tightly-cuffed, tapered pants combined with a long coat and wide lapels. As unlikely as it sounds, wide-brimmed fedoras usually topped off this classic mobster look. Pinstripes are at the heart of these designs. Unlike the traditional black and white, however, it is not unusual to find a variety of colors painting more vivid suits. These popular 1940s suits first gained popularity in New York among young men who were prevented from participating in the war because the government’s Selective Service distinction of 4-F landed on their fedora-topped heads.
Toe the line with a high-ranking Navy Captain’s uniform. Military men were all the rage during this time of war. A costume of this nature should reflect the true 1940s WWII style. The heart of this costume is in the navy, uniform-style jacket. Navy formal wear from this period features gold-ribbon trim and mildly ornate gold buttons. Beneath the formal coat should lie a crisp, clean and pressed white shirt with a navy tie that perfectly matches the shade of the suit jacket. Paired with navy trousers featuring the same clean and crisp lines, this formal wear is topped with a peaked-cap hat that defines this military formal wear. It does not hurt to make sure there are plenty of ribbons, medals and badges flanking the lapels to ensure the whole room knows to stand at attention since you command respect.