Rita Hayworth

Beauty Ideals over the Decades: 1940’s

The 1940’s fashion was heavily influenced by the second World War. As the men were away being soldiers, much effort was put into advertisements recruiting the housewife’s to take over as the workforce.Because of wartime restrictions, utilitarian clothing was most common amongst normal women. The focus was no longer on glamour and femininity, and the new value was in functional and practical clothing. As a result, Dior’s new look was introduced, and designers like Chanel, Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli started designing form-fitting, classy attires. Classically beautiful women such as Veronica Lake were idolized, and as society became more body conscious, women started to really pay attention to what they ate. Fashion accentuated arms and legs, so women lifted light weights to build muscle tone. The new padded stretch cotton bra was introduced and promised to minimize the waist and give a glamorous look.  Throughout the 1940s, Hollywood’s leading ladies continued to set the trends in women’s fashion. Longer, more feminine hairstyles became popular again, and women started to copy Bette Davis’s curls, Betty Grable’s topknot with ringlets, and Rita Hayworth’s gleaming waves. Veronica Lake created a sensation by wearing a lock of hair that covered one eye, also known as the “peekaboo” hairstyle . Hairstyles was now more feminine than they had been in the 20’s, and the hairstyle that most symbolized this particular decade, was parted on the side with soft curls falling over the shoulder. Hair color varied depending on which movie star one was trying to imitate. You could be platinum blond as Betty Grable, redhead as Rita Hayworth, or a brunette as Ava Gardener. By the 1940’s, makeup trends had become a little less dramatic and more of a girl-next-door kind of look. Thanx to (or not so thankful, depending on your view on the matter) the influence of screen stars on standards of beauty, the pasty white skin trend was finally passé. Tanned skin was perceived as a symbol of high class for the first time in modern history, and women started opting for foundations closer to their natural complexions. In the same way as the first world war had a big impact on society, World War II pushed the world into another fast-paced change, taking a big leap towards a more modern lifestyle, a more causal sense of fashion, as well as a new view on the role of being a woman. It was the decade of the classic Pin-up girl, the height of The Hollywood Golden Age,advertisements were filled with political propaganda (And not shy of highly inappropriate messages. By modern standards that is). Last but not least, it was also the awakening of the (unholy) union between body image and public media, leading to an externally influenced perception of the ideal of beauty.  SOME FASHION ICONS OF THE 40sBette Davis, Betty Grable, The pin-up girl of the 1940s: “The girl with the Million Dollar Legs”,  Rita Hayworth, Veronica lake, Ava Gardener, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich.  Original article: https://www.idealiststyle.com/blog/beauty-ideal-over-the-decades-part-9-the-40s

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