Sunday, 12 April 2015

'Style Me Vintage - 1940s': Book Review


Following hot on the heels of last month's book review from the Style Me Vintage series, is Pavilion Books' latest offering: Style Me Vintage: 1940s by Liz Tregenza.

Liz's academic background in fashion history and love of vintage is evident throughout the book as it thoroughly covers all aspects of 1940s fashion; both the obvious elements and those that are less familiar. In her Introduction she writes: "I wanted to dispel some misconceptions with this book. 1940s style isn't all victory rolls and drab, masculine suits brightened up with flashes of red lipstick. The 1940s was a hugely diverse decade in terms of style...". In this book she certainly achieves her aim.



The first two chapters covers make-up and hair respectively, providing some step-by-step guides to achieve a period Forties look; from a full face of make-up through to various hairstyles such as Veronica Lake-esque waves and a braided up-do.

Photo from Style Me Vintage: 1940s
The following chapters take an in-depth look at the decade's style, starting with the British government's ubiquitous Utility clothing and 'Make-do and Mend' drive, Women's Services uniforms and also civilian clothing. The focus then shifts to what contemporary styles were being worn overseas, with America leading the way in the style stakes. The book includes some truly beautiful dresses with the below being one of my favourites; just look at all that beaded detail and the cut: gorgeous!


Photo from Style Me Vintage: 1940s
Liz completes her assessment of the decade's style with a thorough look at accessories and post-war fashions; discussing lingerie, swimwear, shoes, jewellery and bags.


Photo from Style Me Vintage: 1940s
One aspect that I particularly like is the 'Brand Spotlight' feature where Liz identifies certain brands that epitomise the decade's style such as 'Trifari', 'Lilli Ann' and 'Horrockses'. Here she gives a pocket history of the brand, generously illustrated with garment and accessory examples.


Photo from Style Me Vintage: 1940s
Liz rounds off the book with a selection of her top tips for searching out original 1940s pieces and also includes source lists for buying both vintage and reproduction clothes and accessories; a handy resource for anyone wishing to recreate a period look.


Photo from Style Me Vintage: 1940s
Style Me Vintage: 1940s is lavishly illustrated throughout with a superb array of vintage clothing from the decade, all thoughtfully styled to add to the book's visual delight. The quality of the vintage clothing featured is jaw-dropping and it amazes me how many pieces have survived in such immaculate condition. A nice personal touch are the black-and-white photographs dating from the 1940s of Liz's family and their friends showing examples of the clothes that people wore for a variety of occasions; from weddings, to a day at the beach or just relaxing with friends. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes if the fashions of the 1940s are your thing or you just enjoy reading about twentieth century fashion history. Style Me Vintage: 1940s is a worthy addition to any vintage lover's library.

7 comments :

  1. The Forties aren't really my thing, but the pieces here are lovely, and any book written with knowledge and a real passion and feel for the period is certainly worth a look. xxx

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  2. Looks like an interesting books and good to see that some original photos have been used too!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  3. I love this series of books, wonder if my local library will have it soon x

    www.pearlsandpurlsvintage.blogspot.com

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  4. I'm hoping to find this on my next trip to the book store. I doubt they will have it, but hopefully they can order it for me. This sounds like a wonderful read and great addition to my bookshelf.

    She Knits in Pearls

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  5. Not an era I'm very keen on but Liz certainly knows her stuff! x

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  6. It's on my wish list! Thanks for the review :)

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  7. I'm so tempted to get this one. It's the first in the series that I've felt a real desire to won, but that and the home one look excellent.

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog; I do enjoy reading each one.

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