TARTAN FASHION - THE FLYING FORTIES

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See below for a collection of vintage images showing the influence of Scottish tartan patterns on the fashionable set in this period.

Women's clothes of the 1940s were typically modeled after the utility clothes produced during war rationing. Squared shoulders, narrow hips, and skirts that ended just below the knee were the height of fashion. Tailored suits were also quite popular. ​ By 1947, after WWII was over, the "New Look" began to replace the wartime utility fashions. This new style embraced femininity, with rounded shoulders, shapely bust lines, closely-defined waistlines, slightly padded skirts, and full, billowing skirts that hung just below the calves. ​

The Collection

1940

1940

Going for an early morning swim in the Thames? Do it in a Marlbeek! 1940s tartan/plaid fashion in "genuine Marlbeek" (tailor of yore)! Serious piecework matching only for the professional or the very patient. A classic 1940s model pose (though not usual for a tailored suit), but given the shocking height of this retro safety bar), might attract the gallant and concerned gentleman not troubled by astigmatism.

1942

1942

Lucille Ball in a publicity still with a huge circle skirt tartan gown, 1942. "America's Favorite Redhead," Lucille Ball actually had various hair colours starting out as a blonde, brunette ... but found the right shade after dyeing her hair "Tango Red." In another shot from this publicity still, you can see her ghillie-tied shoes!

1945

1945

Plaid Suit by Dan River, Charm Magazine, May 1945 Not sure about those surgical green gloves ....

1947

1947

A flash of tartan under a chartreuse suit by designer Claire McCardell 1947, photo by Weitzen Claire McCardell was an American fashion designer of ready-to-wear clothing in the twentieth century. She is credited with the creation of American sportswear and often featured plaids and tartan in her designs. Some of her innovations were the "Monastic Dress", the "Diaper Bathing Suit", Capezio ballet flats, and work-wear-inspired pieces with rivets.

1947

1947

From the August, 1947 issue of Seventeen Magazine, "Scotch Air ... the belted skirt of fine wool by Cerey is an authentic clan plaid combining green, black, navy, and yellow with white." And the tam o'shanter is just $4.95!!! Gloves not included. Sullen teenage expression optional.

1947

1947

"Jeunes Filles de L'Écossaises" from French Vogue, 1947 Fabulous piping, dancing, and ladder climbing for the best vantage point, all in the latest tartan fashions! And I'm not sure, the piper might also be holding a thistle ... or a cat ...

1947

1947

Claire McCardell (1905 – 1958) was an American fashion designer in the arena of ready-to-wear clothing in the 20th century. She is credited with the creation of American sportswear.

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

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