World War II directly effected American fashion by cutting off Paris and its established fashion industry from Allied countries. Left without the dictates of French fashion, American designers were free to develop their own styles. Materials needed for the war effort, such as wool, silk, leather, were rationed and restricted. The L-85 Regulations, implemented by the War Production Board in December of 1943, specified the maximum yardage, dimensions, and details that were allowed in garment manufacture. Items such as French cuffs, excessive numbers of pockets, leg of mutton sleeves, wide lapels and belts were forbidden.
Women played a vital role in the war effort in their work on the home front, replacing men in the workplace and in enlisting in the armed services. A recruitment pamphlet declared, “Be a Marine…Free a Marine to Fight.” The donor wore this summer uniform during her service as staff sergeant with the Marines Women’s Reserve.
Return to Historic Clothing Collection.