With the arrival of World War II, the influence of military and industrial uniforms had great influence over dress. The boxy lines of the military tunic, the emphasis on buttons, and the stress on straight lines were particularly apparent on women’s clothing during the war. Men’s civilian costumes often followed the general shape of military uniforms.
The war brought about a great need for the new synthetic fabrics. As sources of silk were closed, the suitability and practicality of synthetic fabrics was realised, both for military and civilian use. Women factory workers now found freedom in zippered coveralls, denim pants, and practical slacks.
After the war, there were some attempts to recreate the past. There were Edwardian jackets, tight trousers, and bowler hats for men.
Women found a slightly more feminine look to contrast with the unflattering clothing worn during the war.
The greatest post-war change came in the introduction of chemical-plastic fibres that went into “wash and wear” fabrics. The time consuming process of starching shirts had become a thing of the past.