Duxford Air Shows

80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show Weekend

Duxford Air Shows

80th Anniversary Battle of Britain Air Show Weekend

18,19 and 20 September 2020
IWM Duxford
Be part of this special three-day event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Friday spectacular Duxford Battle of Britain Proms starts off the Air Show weekend remembering the men, women and aircraft entwined with Summer 1940.   
IWM Battle of Britain 80 logo
©IWM

What did women wear in the 1940s?

What did women wear in the 1940s?

Inspired by IWM's collections, the brilliant Spirit of Britain explain why the 1940s was such an exciting time for fashion.

Dust off your sports jackets, shake out your 1940s style tea dresses and get yourself down to the Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show to be in with the chance of winning a 'best dressed' prize. 

Tutorial: How to achieve a 1940s hairstyle

Tutorial: How to achieve a 1940s hairstyle

Learn how to achieve the perfect victory roll, an iconic element of women's 1940s fashion. 

Tutorial: The 1940s make up look

Tutorial: The 1940s make up look

The war brought many changes for women, including a shortage of cosmetics. As a result, make up in the 1940s was pared back and simple, which makes it an easier look to replicate.

Photographs

Images of 1940s fashion from our collection

Photographs

Images of 1940s fashion from our collection

A young model poses on a small flight of steps in the Bloomsbury area to show off her checked suit, costing 18 coupons. 

Photographs

A classic wool suit

Photographs

A classic wool suit

A model wears a brown and beige all-wool checked suit by fashion designer Hardy Amies. She is wearing a matching coat. An angled hat completes the outfit.

Photographs

Colourful 1940s dress by Norman Hartnell

Photographs

Colourful 1940s dress by Norman Hartnell

Although certain design details were forbidden as they were a waste of valuable raw materials, wartime "austerity" fashions were not drab, as this purple, green and mauve dress (which cost 7 clothing coupons), designed by Norman Hartnell, testifies. The model is standing on a windy rooftop in Bloomsbury, London. Senate House, the headquarters of the Ministry of Information, is clearly visible behind her.

Photographs

The utility frock

Photographs

The utility frock

A model sits on a plinth beside some steps to show off her scarlet wool Utility frock by Dorville at John Lewis and Co. Ltd., with front-gathered skirt and shirt-waist top (cost: 11 coupons and 60/-). With this dress, the model is also wearing a white silk jersey turban, white gloves and shoes. This dress is also featured in D 14780, but accessorised differently to illustrate the versatility of the garment.

Photographs

Don't forget the hat!

Photographs

Don't forget the hat!

Four young ladies enjoy a stroll in the Spring sunshine along a shopping street in the West End of London. Two are wearing fancy hats, proving that wartime clothing doesn't have to be drab! Cars and other pedestrians go about their daily business behind them.

More fashion inspiration from the 1940s

joan_and_stanley_lewis_-_married_in_1947
© IWM
Wartime Fashion
What To Wear To A Wartime Wedding
Rationing, restrictions and the uncertainty of the Second World War were just some of the challenges faced by couples marrying in wartime. But despite wartime privations, these couples made their big days special with help of families, friends and their communities. 
Women walk down a London street during the Second World War in 1941.
Fashion
How Clothes Rationing Affected Fashion In The Second World War
Clothes were rationed in Britain from 1 June 1941. This limited the amount of new garments people could buy until 1949, four years after the war's end. Despite the limitations imposed by rationing, clothing retailers sought to retain and even expand their customer base during the Second World War.
two young boys dressed in school uniform. The boy on the left is smiling and wearing a uniform that fits him well. The image on the right appears to be the same boy but a little older and taller, wearing the same school uniform. He appears miserable as the uniform is far too small for him. text: Plan ahead allow for growing.
Wartime Fashion
8 Facts about Clothes Rationing in Britain During the Second World War
The imposition of clothes rationing was announced by Oliver Lyttleton, President of the Board of Trade, on 1 June 1941. Making the announcement just before a Bank Holiday allowed the Board of Trade time to brief retailers before the shops reopened.