alright Dames... those hep cats and kittens sure do sound smooth... tell us more!

swing fashion

Well, let's start by explaining what swing music is all about. It actually started in the mid-twenties, as an evolution of Jazz. The roots are African and European. It started to become popular in the mid-30's and really hit off around 1945. 

Rockabilly and rock n' roll were influenced by swing music - especially the lively dancing. If you missed it, you can get a taste with the playlist and video on our earlier post.

Now, let's talk fashion!

The hedonistic 20's and early 30's were over... the Second World War began in 1939 and this meant that fabric and metal were scarce - in some parts of the world, even rationed. Simple designs came into fashion. 

40s swing dress

Jewelry manufacturers stopped using pot metal and switched to silver and gold, as well as celluloid during the 40's. 

Silk and nylon were restricted, as was leather. This mean that stockings were hard to come by and canvas shoes were popular. It also saw the rise of wooden and cork heels.

40s floral swing dress

Though fabric was rationed, designers began using a small amount of extra fabric to build shoulder pads in women's clothing. This had a two-fold effect - it was a proud, no-nonsense, patriotic look, as well as a way of creating more interest on an outfit when jewelry was slowing in production.

Blue and red were very popular colors - very likely because of their resemblance to the American flag during the time of the war. Khaki shades were used copiously by the military and so dye in that color was not readily available to the masses.

Since more women were entering the workforce, with many of the country's men away at War, pants became acceptable, for practical reasons.

American designers had previously looked to Paris for inspiration. During the War, American designers became more original and created the casual look that much of America is known for today.

Co-ordinates were a bit part of this. The idea was to make it possible to make as many outfits as possible out of just a few items of clothing.

1940s dress / 40s dress / Navy Blue Dress with Beaded Crossover Collar

Underwear separates were also becoming popular. Bloomers, in particular, were a necessity for girls who liked to swing dance!

The simple, clutter-free, yet elegant and feminine fashions of the mid 30's - 40's lent themselves perfectly to the energetic moves of swing lovers. Little, or no, jewelry; dresses that flattered the body with a simple silhouette; fabric that allowed free movement; shoes with ankle straps for sturdy strutting.

We'll spend the rest of the week looking at more swing related fashion and history, as well as chatting to a rather nice bunch of English boys who are definitely having fun keeping swing music alive and kicking!

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