The American Look of 1945 – by Nina Leen

The Girls of the U.S come out tops say GIs in 1945 –


Well – they’ve seen, dated and evaluated the many endowments of English girls, French girls, Australian girls, Polynesian girls. They have found many to be beautiful. But none of them compare to the wholesome American chick back home.
So what precisely is the “American Look?

Dorothy Shaver ( standing) discusses virtues and flaws of girls applying as models
Dorothy Shaver ( standing) discusses virtues and flaws of girls applying as models

In a recent campaign promoting 1940s American fashion, Dorothy Shaver, the vice president of New York store Lord&Taylor – has tried to answer this question.
She notes some key points – ” American girls have good grooming,a natural manner, a fresh quality, a friendly smile, an unaffected elegance in make-up, hairstyle and dress.”

LIFE Photographer Nina Leen transforms these key points into pictures !

As Shaver pints out – the American Look is helped to a great extent by the economic advantages of the USA – the availability of ready money to buy perfume, makeup and the latest 1940s dresses.
The United States mass produces clothing like no other nation, its towns are teeming with beauty parlours and cosmetic counters. The sports ethos in schools encourages young girls to make the most of their physical development when it counts, so American girls do tend to be larger boned than European girls, who understandably have suffered great privations in war time.

Style and Simplicity.

Style and simplicity – simple hat fashions


A natural look – apparent in casual dress in shoes etc


American girls have a glamour that is apparent at any time of the day


American girls love making a pretty home


America boasts 21,600,000 bath tubs !

Confidence in public.

The American girl of 1945 is confident as well as beautiful

Well Shod.

American girls feet are long – size 6 to 8. Her shoes are designed for style as well as comfort

Longer than long legs.

American girls are growing longer. An average increase in size of 2 inches since 1934

Photos by Nina Leen
Original article –LIFE Magazine – May 1945
Images copyright Time Inc – Google Cultural Institute

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