Wartime rationing changed our fashions
I thought the item (April) from Corinne TuddenhamTrett, fashion editor, that most women over 50 lack confidence, in their bodies quite amusing. In World War Two, clothes coupons were needed to buy any kind of clothes, anywhere.
Clothes rationing began in June, 1941 and coupon books were issued to every man, woman and child and the maximum of 66 coupons were allowed per year, the equivalent for one outfit!
Knitting wool and cloth for dressmaking was rationed but blackout material for windows was not, and we could buy better shoes and wooden clogs as well as overalls and work uniforms, mending yarn, boot laces, braces, hats, muslin, lint and medical garments without using coupons, and mothers were encouraged to sell or exchange their children’s outgrown clothes and shoes in the swap shops run by the WVS, and going to jumble sales was very useful too.
The rules and regulations about women’s clothes were unbelievable. Women’s skirts couldn’t have elasticated waist bands, no unnecessary pleats or gathers, no fashionable belts and come just below the knee and jackets were straight and square-shouldered.
Underwear and night wear like pyjamas were restricted too and not elegant or sexy, but just functional. Colours were limited as the chemicals used for dying were needed for the war effort.
All this and we weren’t dejected. We dyed our legs with tea and drew lines down the back of our legs with an eyebrow pencil to imitate stocking seams.
The amusing thing is that wearing trousers became fashionable for women, when they worked on the land or in factories and this was unthinkable before 1944.
It was fashionable too to wear a turban. Many of my friends did at work in Caley’s old factory in Norwich, making munitions.
The war certainly did change the dress code concerning women’s fashion!
On page 72 (April) is a picture of Taverham Junior Venture Scouts on their bus, which was bought as an HQ. However, it is captioned as being at the Round Well home of Mr K Adcock. The Round Well was at the junction of Longwater Lane and Dereham Road, in Costessey. Mr Adcock’s home was called Round Wood. I am sure of this as Mr Adcock is my father, and we had been living at Round Wood for 10 years when the photograph was taken. By the way the young man waving and holding on to the wing mirror is my brother. JANET CUTTING (nee Adcock).