1940s Post War Fashion – $20.00 Budget Dresses

Cheap Dresses in the era of high inflation –

1940s $20.00 Dress – Owen-Morgan—black-crepe-dress-1948

It’s 1948 and Life magazine sets out to discover just how well dressed US women can be during a period when inflation is battering the family budget. The answer appears in these pictures of dresses which are on display in department stores across the country and all of which cost $20.00 or less ..some much less.


Despite their modest prices they reflect every facet of the season’s newest styles. There are office and sports dresses, street suits, afternoon and cocktail dresses, short evening dresses and full formals !

$20.00 dress-by-Majestic-1948
1940s fashion – $20.00 dress – Grey-tweed-office-dress—1948

They come in almost every fabric that is new and currently smart: wool jersey, the new paper taffeta, satin-striped fabrics, 100% wool and velvet.

$20.00 Dresses – Hoewitz-&-Duberman-dress-1948

The styles are the same as those introduced in the salons of the world famous couturiers this season – high waisted, peg-topped skirt, the off-the-shoulder smart evening dresses, the plunging and chin-hugging necklines and the’back interest’ dress.

$20.00 Dresses – Plaid-suit-with-shawl-collar-1948

Here they have been photographed, not with costly accessories but with ropes of pearls and scatter pins that cost just $2.00 each, and the season’s highly successful beret hat, available in velveteen, plaid and plush at under $7.00

1940s $20.00 Dresses – Lillian-Abbot-dress-1948

That’s all !
Web Text ©Glamourdaze 2016
Life Magazine 1948

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2 thoughts on “1940s Post War Fashion – $20.00 Budget Dresses”

  1. Wow, I can’t believe how fashion forward some of these are. We always think on the 1940s as the typical WWII style but some of these belong firmly in the 1950s, particularly the third one. Women certainly would’ve been very well dressed if they’d purchased any of these gorgeous dresses. Fab post!

  2. Goodness, are these beautiful – and you know, the real kicker is, chances are far more of those “under $20” dresses survived to this day than those in the same price range today ever will, despite the plethora of such “fast fashion” that floods the market each year. $20 was not terribly cheap back then and could get you a very high quality garment, which is usually not the case for $20 these days at all.

    Thank you for another marvelous post. They’re always such a bright spot in the blogging week.

    ♥ Jessica

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