Photo story

These Patriotic Scarves Encouraged People To Do Their Bit During The Second World War

During the Second World War, people found ways to show their support for the war effort through fashion. Clothing featuring patriotic designs allowed civilians to 'do their bit' for the war effort without compromising on style.

The London-based textile and fashion company Jacqmar was the most notable creator of scarves featuring popular wartime motifs and patriotic messages. These striking prints capture aspects of life on the home front and in the armed forces.

The scarves were expensive and, when bought in Britain, also required two clothing coupons each. They were produced in silk, rayon or wool.

  • Salvage Your Rubber

    This scarf draws upon the theme of salvage, as people were encouraged to recycle materials for war production.
    This scarf draws upon the theme of salvage, as people were encouraged to recycle materials for war production.
    EPH 3931

    This scarf draws upon the theme of salvage, as people were encouraged to recycle materials for war production. The central illustrations show some of the items that could be reused for the war effort such as metal, rubber and paper.

  • Happy Landings

    This scarf's simple design features the RAF crest and Winston Churchill's famous tribute to the RAF in the Battle of Britain.
    This scarf's simple design features the RAF crest and Winston Churchill's famous tribute to the RAF in the Battle of Britain.
    EPH 3986

    This scarf's simple design features the RAF crest together with Winston Churchill's famous tribute to the RAF during the Battle of Britain: 'Never was so much owed by so many to so few'.

  • American Forces in London

    This scarf was designed to appeal specifically to American servicemen in Britain.
    This scarf was designed to appeal specifically to American servicemen in Britain.
    EPH 10982

    This scarf features many of London's historic sites, 'Bits of Blitz' and the American Embassy. It was designed to appeal specifically to American servicemen who might buy one for their British girlfriends or to send back home as a souvenir.

  • Switch That Light Off

    This home front themed design features some of the many messages and instructions aimed at the British public.
    This home front themed design features some of the many messages and instructions aimed at the British public.
    EPH 975

    This home front themed design features just some of the many messages and instructions aimed at the British public during the Second World War.

  • Free French

    This scarf features Free French flags and badges in support of the forces that continued to fight following the fall of France.
    This scarf features Free French flags and badges in support of the forces that continued to fight following the fall of France.
    EPH 9786

    This repeated pattern features Free French flags and badges in support of the forces that continued to fight Germany following the fall of France. The text shown is a famous speech made by Free French leader General De Gaulle after the fall of France in June 1940.

Find out more about wartime fashion in our exhibition Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style at IWM North.