Because of wartime restrictions, utilitarian clothing was most common amongst normal women. The focus was no longer on glamour and femininity, and the new value was in functional and practical clothing.
As a result, Dior’s new look was introduced, and designers like Chanel, Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli started designing form-fitting, classy attires.
Classically beautiful women such as Veronica Lake were idolized, and as society became more body conscious, women started to really pay attention to what they ate. Fashion accentuated arms and legs, so women lifted light weights to build muscle tone. The new padded stretch cotton bra was introduced and promised to minimize the waist and give a glamours look.
Hairstyles was now more feminine than they had been in the 20's, and the hairstyle that most symbolized this particular decade, was parted on the side with soft curls falling over the shoulder. Hair color varied depending on which movie star one was trying to imitate. You could be platinum blond as Jean Harlow, redhead as Rita Hayworth, or a brunette as Ava Gardener.
By the 1940's, makeup trends had become a little less dramatic and more of a girl-next-door kind of look.
Thanx to (or not so thankful, depending on your view on the matter) the influence of screen stars on standards of beauty, the pasty white skin trend was finally passé. Tanned skin was perceived as a symbol of high class for the first time in modern history, and women started opting for foundations closer to their natural complexions.
In the same way as the first world war had a big impact on society, World War II pushed the world into another fast-paced change, taking a big leap towards a more modern lifestyle, a more causal sense of fashion, as well as a new view on the role of being a woman.
It was the decade of the classic Pin-up girl, the height of The Hollywood Golden Age,
advertisements were filled with political propaganda (And not shy of highly inappropriate messages. By modern standards that is).
Last but not least, it was also the awakening of the (unholy) union between body image and public media, leading to an externally influenced perception of the ideal of beauty.
SOME FASHION ICONS OF THE 40s
Bette Davis, Betty Grable, The pin-up girl of the 1940s: “The girl with the Million Dollar Legs”, Rita Hayworth, Veronica lake, Ava Gardener, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich.
The next post is: BEAUTY IDEAL OVER THE DECADES part 10 : THE 30's
Information collected from several sources including Wikipedia, Thefashionspot.com and diet-blog.com, historicalideals.tumblr.com, http://comn4725blog.wordpress.com, dailymail.co.uk,