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Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

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My personal favorite fashion period, the 1920s and 30s, lies between the wars, still like most vintage lovers I have a great fondness for the history and fashion of the World War II era.  I'm always impressed by the stories of the brave men and women from this generation.  My grandfathers and paternal grandmother, none of whom I had a chance to know well, all served, my grandfathers in the army and navy and my grandmother as an army nurse.    As the World War II generation ages its become more and more important to preserve their legacy.  That is one reason I am so impressed with the work of the Veteran's History Project.  The project collects first person narratives of war and on the website you can view everything from the letters of WWI veteran Archibald Alsop

to personal video recordings of soldiers from the Iraq-Afghanistan conflict.  Needless to say its the perfect website to peruse on Veteran's Day.

One thing I have always loved about the WWII era is the fact that for the first time ever large numbers of women began leaving behind their housewife duties and working outside the home   This certainly made for changes in the styles women wore, comfort had started to become a priority during the WWI era, for the same reason as more and more women became involved in nursing and volunteer work, but it was WWII that really cemented the change. 
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 Fabric shortages and the trials of the time also created a make do and mend approach that led to some creative home spun fashions.

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The continued popularity of WWII era styles means there are quite a few fashion resources available to style lovers of this era.  I particularly like Jitterbuggin',
there dead stock fabrics are 1940s originals and so are their patterns and styles, you really can't tell they are reproductions.  I'm lucky enough to have a few Jitterbuggin' pieces, thanks to their sales and some gift certificates from my sweet  husband.  I think the air plane motif on this Jitterbuggin' blouse is particularly Veteran's Day appropriate

I love wearing it with my convertible overalls from Allure Original Styles.
These are also a perfect copy of the 1940s originals.

 Of course when the war ended many women returned to their traditional roles of wives and mothers, perhaps with, for at least some of them, less satisfaction.  The work of women during WWII led to the feminist revolution and the myriad of options available to women of my generation.  That is one reason I really enjoyed watching the  Bletchley Circle TV series, available for instant download on netflix.

 The first season is set in England in 1952 and follows the stories of four women who worked as code breakers during the war and have now returned to ordinary civilian lives.   The show has a decidedly feminist bent and the women are not exactly content with their civilian lives, the central character, Susan Grey, a devoted wife and mother, who frantically solves cross word puzzles is clearly desperate for some fresh intellectual challenge.  When Grey begins to notice a pattern in a series of murders she enlists her former code breaking friends to help her track down the killer.  It makes for enjoyable viewing on Veteran's Day, or at any other time.


  1. Your planes fabric blouse is too cute! And thank you for sharing this show! I've not seen it and it looks like I should check it out!

  2. So true. It is amazing that both wars changed they way we dressed and changed the lives of women for ever. Have to say we did not see Bletchley Circle so we must keep an eye out for re-runs. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. I really enjoyed this post, dear Kate. The fashions of the second world war have long been firm favourites of mine. Yes, they were riff with the impact of austerity and rationing, but from those limits, sprang creativity, resourcefulness, and a very lovely understated everyday elegance that was unlike anything that I think had come before or after it.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. I loved the Bletchley Circle. That close-up picture of you is my favorite picture of you ever! So beautiful. That is one for your hubby's desk.

  5. I agree with Jessica, always had an affinity for that era of creative ration-inspired clothing.


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