Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!


Costume gallery

The 1940s war era

man wearing woollen suit and flat cap with woman in matching tweed suit wearing a head scarf

Man in woollen suit and woman in tweed suit

two women in outdoor clothing - one is wearing a three-quarter length coat and the other is wearing a matching skirt and jacket

Woman in outdoor clothing

business man in suit wearing a mac

Business man

women in skirt and blouse and heavy overcoat

Woman in heavy overcoat

man and woman with two children with gas mask boxes

Family, with children wearing gas mask boxes

woman in simple shirt dress

Simple shirt dress

group photograph showing fashions of children through to elderly people

Fashions of varying age groups

Clothing through the war era was practical, and affected by the rationing system. New clothes were often just re-fashioned from old clothes, and there were shortages of luxurious materials such as silk.

Women would often wear a simple knee-length dress or blouse and skirt. Mackintosh coats were popular outdoor items, and some women would wear a matching tailored suit jacket outdoors.

Men continued to wear jackets and ties as a matter of routine, although sometimes with casual trousers, not necessarily matching suit trousers. Jumpers, vests and polo-neck shirts were popular for less formal wear.

Back to Galleries index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.