The Little Black Dress and Zoot Suits: Depression and Wartime Fashions from the 1930s to the 1950s

Overview

Most American women in the depression era made their own daywear, including printed floral dresses and slim skirts and blouses. In wartime the government rationed fabrics, so women often remade men's suits into simple outfits.

For 1930s high fashion, nothing beat Coco Chanel's women's suit-a slim, straight skirt with a matching boxy jacket.

For a classy evening, men donned black tuxedos and velvet smoking ...

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Overview

Most American women in the depression era made their own daywear, including printed floral dresses and slim skirts and blouses. In wartime the government rationed fabrics, so women often remade men's suits into simple outfits.

For 1930s high fashion, nothing beat Coco Chanel's women's suit-a slim, straight skirt with a matching boxy jacket.

For a classy evening, men donned black tuxedos and velvet smoking jackets.

Casual wartime fashions brought the colorful Hawaiian shirt and khaki trousers into men's closets. Sailor suits also became popular for men.

Latino and African American men brought the oversized zoot suit into the mainstream for men of the 1940s.

The 1950s saw a shocking development-the two-piece, navel-exposing bikini for women and swimming trunks for men!

In the postwar boom era, young men either went tough-rolled up jeans, white t-shirts, and leather boots and jackets-or preppy- a sweater vest and sport coat over casual trousers.

And young bobby soxer girls of the 1950s couldn't go wrong with white ankle socks, a pink poodle skirt, and matching sweater set.

Read more about depression era and wartime fashions- from the form-fitting little black dress to polo shirts, stylish snoods, and chic chignons-in this fascinating book!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Fashion truly reflects the spirit of an age, as is made evident in the "Dressing a Nation: The History of U.S. Fashion" series. This volume focuses on styles worn from The Great Depression to the post World War II era. The five chapters present women's everyday fashion and haute couture, men's clothing, hairstyles, and fashion photography. Photographs, drawings, and text boxes make it easy for a reader to browse the information or read it straight through. The text is filled with interesting tidbits. Hard economic times greatly affected fashion. Many women began making their own clothing or altered existing clothing. However, some people rebelled against the economic use of fabric. Rebellious young men wore baggy suits requiring lots of yardage. These voluminous suits became known as "zoot suits" and were associated with criminal activity. As daily life became more leisurely, sports clothing for both men and women became available. High fashion from Europe once again became popular. The increasing popularity of movies and magazines led to glamorous photo shoots of movie stars wearing designer gowns. Each colorful volume in the series includes a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further research, and an index. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Born in Rochester, Minnesota, Alison Behnke had the good fortune to live in Rome, Italy, for three years while in grade school. Not only did this move expand her horizons enormously and introduce her to one of the world's best and most beautiful cities, but it provided her with a wealth of writing material. Even before her Roman holiday, however, she knew that she wanted to be an author—a desire which, according to her parents, she first voiced around age six. Good teachers, avid reading, and a children's librarian for a mother all fed the fire. She went on to take a degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing, and at present count she has written more than thirty books. Behnke live in Minneapolis, and when she's neither reading nor writing, she spends her time on pursuits including photography, travel, and striving to make the perfect espresso.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Women's Everyday Wear 4

Chapter 2 Women's Haute Couture 14

Chapter 3 Men's Clothing 22

Chapter 4 Hairstyles and Accessories 32

Chapter 5 Designers, Photographers, and Models 44

Epilogue 52

Timeline 54

Glossary 56

Source Notes 58

Selected Bibliography 60

Further Reading, Websites, and Films 61

Index 62

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