Dancing was an every night occurrence, for those of us who enjoyed dancing to the music of the big band era, hubba hubba. Some missed their partners hand in swinging out, would crash to the floor. The "jitterbug" was a fast dance, timing was everything, needed to hit every note in timing or the rythm was lost. The male partner would oftentimes toss the female over his head, then would need to keep up with the beat again. Of course, there were jitterbug contests. Should they not have a live band, juke boxes were everywhere. For a nickle you could jitterbug to the tunes, or place your head on the shoulder of your favorite guy and dance to slow romantic tunes.
Saturdy night dances were held in ball rooms with a full piece band after WWII and our soldiers had returned home. Exciting times were everywhere, and the dance floors were crowded. We sometimes had dance tickets, that was fun. Never did a female ask ask a guy for a dance, we waited for them to ask, that would be unladylike. Nothing can compare to dancing at the sounds of trumpets, drums, saxaphones, etc. Glenn Miller tunes were still popular, Tex Beneke carried on with his tunes and band, long with the other band leaders. Every dance period ended with the tune, "good night sweetheart" believe it was. When you heard that tune, we knew it was time to leave.
Hair styles were long, and curled. The favorite seemed to be shorter on top and fashioned high on top of the head. For evening dances the hair was usually styled on top and curled. Sometimes in a "rat roller" (a thick round longer padded object) which was added to give it height, which appears in the top left photo above.
Pancake makeup was important. We even had form guides in placing lipstick on for those who preferred to use them. A cutout form to create a movie star look, ha. Bright red lipstick and nail polish. Business and day time wear was oftentimes rolled in a bun below the ears and the usual curled hair at the top of the head.
It must be understood that during war time so many items were rationed, i.e. clothing even shoes. And what we referred to as "ready made dresses" were quite simple because of the lack of material to make them. This is why we made our own much of the time. Also popular were suits and blouses made out of service uniforms of returning Veterans. I had one made from an army uniform. The pants were ripped apart and used straight pieces to fashion the skirt. Many others made them from Navy uniforms. It was not until the war was over in l947 that fuller dresses were fashioned, hats and shoes. Because I wore a size 4 l/2 or 5 shoe, during the war was able to sometimes locate sample shoes, which was fortunate in being able to wear nice heels.
Many women tackled the permanents, which entailed being attached to a huge heated electric machine. Many times the hair would be scorched, sometimes the skin would be burned. During the WWII era, things were quite different. The working class had no funds for hair permanents. The hair was usually worn below the shoulders and curled in a simple fashion.
used the popular
Male hairstyles were mostly styled in a pompadour higher on top. Meticulously arranged and neat in appearance.
Fashions during the forties were extremely simple during the war years in order to conserve material. After the war, the house dress was popular. However, a hat, gloves and high heels were a must in order to feel properly dressed when meeting the public.
Costume jewelry was consided very important and popular, clip on earrings. Precious jewels were only for the rich who could afford them. Even gold, we wore imitations, Some were very attractive.
Pins were very popular with lively decorations, and of course necklaces many which we made ourselves. One girl had fashioned a belt made of typewriter ribbon spools and fastened together with colored strings during the war years. The "sack dress" was popular, which consisted of a straight piece of fabric with a neck design cut out, and the sides sewn together. We made them ourselves by hand. Limited in locating material to make dresses, by the yard, we used the cotton printed material in chicken feed sacks. Any pieces of material left over from cutting out a dress pattern were used to make quilts. Then when you had fashioned a sack dress, added a belt, an ornate pin, heels and a hat. You had an outfit for work. Belts were popular, even sometimes wearing over a light weight coat. High heels were a must. No outfit would be complete without heels. Ankle strap heels were popular (although not platforms as this photo indicates), perfect for dancing the jitterbug.
Some wore the ever popular saddle shoes, shoes were rationed, so I never had a pair of those. Regular brown laced during War.
You could purchase a pair of leather heels for $5.00, extremely well made. The habit for we working girls was to exchange shoes with another person who wore the same size, making our wardrobes larger with more choices. Of course dresses and jewerly were borrowed from another. The dropped waistline dresses were popular, form fitting at the waist then gathered in the hip area and full, (view dress of the jitterbugging couple above
Nylons during WWII were impossible to come by. We would place leg makeup on then with a mascara pencil draw lines on the back of the legs to appear as though we were wearing nylons, stockings had seams then
Of course, nylons were two stockings worn with a garter belt with snaps which sometimes became unsnapped even while walking, then they would bag and appear unsightly. There were also the dreaded "runs" and "snags". When that happened, you could sometimes stop them by applying clear nail polish, until you could change them. Then, there were the corsets. Have worn them, kept your back straight, and your virginity. Most of us were until our our soldiers returned home. We wore rubber girdles also, referred to as playtex. Would flatten your lower body to the bones, personally loved them. Hot though.
Fur pieces were extremely popular, by those who could afford them. A mink or two with clasps worn over a coat or suit was very attractive, as photo above at the top. Fur coats worn by the movie stars and those who could afford them. We wore "mouton" fake furs, sometimes.
Small fur hats were stylish. Hats were important, added a sparkle to any outfit. So many different styles, felt, floral.
And, gloves by all means. Gloves were sometimes longer above the wrist and of course wrist length.
For the gentlemen, the zoot suit was in. However, never too popular in our area. Some men did wear long key chains over their wide legged pants. Suits and sport jackets were a must. Wing tip shoes were seen everywhere.
The usual practice in setting our hair those days, was after the shampoo and comb dry, we would strand the hair in layers of strips of cloth , roll it, then tie it on the ends . Or, pin curl the hair in different directions for the style preferred. And of course, every evening we would do the same with dry hair, as required for the curly look. Recall using a vinegar rinse.