Friday, 19 June 2015

Fashion on the Ration Part 2

In my box of books and magazines in my parent's shed I found a copy of Yours magazine's 50 Years of Everyday Fashion.
Women having their legs browned during the nylon shortage

So as a follow up to the previous Fashion on the Ration post I thought I would post a couple of things from the pages about the war years.
There is another small mention of parachute silk underwear in a small section on recycled fashion. During World War 2 almost everything was rationed in the UK, and according to the magazine

"At the beginning of rationing you got 66 points a year, by the end that number had reduced to 48. A woollen dress took 11 coupons, a blouse 5, and a petticoat or cami knickers four."

66 points obviously didn't go very far, and so everything that could be mended or re-made was, and so this was why parachutes and silk maps were scavenged to make luxury underwear.

Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding day

Rationing effected almost everybody, even our Royal Family (although our Prime Minister, Winston Churchill opted out of being rationed and enjoyed copious amounts of brandy, champagne and cigars in the Cabinet War Rooms underneath London), and when Queen Elizabeth (still a Princess at the time) was married in 1947, a lot of people tried to send her extra ration book coupons for her dress, although coupon sharing was illegal so all of the coupons were sent back to their senders and the Queen made do with the 200 extra coupons that every other bride in the country was allocated for their wedding clothes.

Another thing that caught my eye mentioned the nylon shortage.

"Not wearing stockings was a sign that you were common! The tell tale line up the back of your calves was a clear sign that your legs were decently covered. Getting a regular supply of stockings during the war was difficult so, famously we used gravy browning and eyebrow pencils to fake seamed stockings when none were available."

It's funny how attitudes change over time, I feel like if that happened now the red tops would have a field day and start banging on about vain celebrity trends, although back then it was normal.

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