1940s Style advice from Busts to Hips –
Some 1940s fashion highlights from Color and Line in Dress by Laurene Hempstead. Sketches by Sara Whitney Olds. The advice is brilliant, with pointers that apply just as effectively in the modern era.
Correct 1940s Style for your Face Type
A straight or nearly straight, sailor hat gives breadth to the face; an irregular horizontal line makes it seem more slender
A straight, tight turban or “pill box” narrower than the face materially increases width; softly draped lines, bows and feathers or flower hats with soft irregular contours are more slenderizing.
A veil creates new lines; the veil partially covering the face introduces a horizontal line making the face seem shorter and wider. A small hat that is too stiff or too tiny for its wearer may be modified without bulk or heaviness by a skillfully draped veil.
Small and off-the-face hats reveal square corners of glasses; brimmed hat shadows glasses making them less conspicuous.
Top Left: High coronet braids may be severe and trying or may, if they are slightly wider than the face, make a flattering background. Top right: The round, rigid pompadour emphasizes fullness of the face and rotundity of figure even though it add height. The softer broken pomp is flattering to the face and figure Above:Hair, curved over the ears and cheeks lessens facial width; revealing ears adds apparent width
Correct 1940s Style for your Figure Type
High, bulky collar or long-haired fur increases width of face, neck and figure. Long, tuxedo collar of flat, short-haired fur, slenderizes.
Left: Wide sleeves and heavy puffs add width at the hip-line; close fitting sleeves give a longer, more slenderizing line. Right: Short sleeves add to width of figure; lessening height; bare arms give a long line
Left:Heavy, bulky fabrics add to the actual size of the silhouette; smooth light-weight fabrics are more slenderizing. Right: Transparent fabrics reveal the actual contours and are difficult for the imperfect figure; soft, opaque fabrics are more wearable.
The shape of the hat you wear influences your height, just as the cap at the top of the perpendicular lines influence their apparent length. All the figures on this page are of the same height.
Left: Closely fitting hip line with flare below it reveals faulty proportions; when the flare begins above the largest part of the hips it may conceal their actual contours. Right: Broad-base, triangular silhouette emphasizes hips; broad-shoulder-line balances wide hips.
Left: Closely fitting waistlines and swathed hips reveal size; a loosely fitting belt and bloused bodice make the hips seem smaller. Right: Horizontal lines created by belts, yokes, and pockets all tend to emphasize width of the hips; perpendicular lines created by seams or pleats minimize their width.
Left:Lines leading to the largest part of the hips increase their apparent size; V-lines leading eye toward center over widest part of figure and out to increase size at the waist make the hips seem smaller
Left: Narrow skirt emphasizes upper part of figure; flaring skirt and low belt equalize the figure.
Right:Horizontal lines in waist increase width; perpendicular lines give length.
Correct 1940s Style for your Feet Type
A shoe with a long vamp, peaked upward in front makes the foot seem long and slender; short vamp, low cut, lessens apparent length of foot, tends to slenderize ankles, but makes foot seem wider.
Intricate arrangement of straps centers attention on the foot, openness makes foot seem lighter. Large bow or buckle likewise makes feet conspicuous, makes ankles and legs seem smaller in contrast.
The trusty oxford gives good support to the foot and may therefore improve posture, justifying the increased apparent size and heaviness of the foot.
That’s all !