Fashion on the Ration (Ebook)

Style in the Second World War

Julie Summers

A social history to be seen with: bestselling author of Jambusters (filmed as Home Fires) lifts the veil on wartime fashion.

In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: 'Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.' And, she continued, 'Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.'

For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity - and one they weren't going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. From the young woman who avoided the dreaded 'forces bloomers' by making knickers from military-issue silk maps, to Vogue's indomitable editor Audrey Withers, who balanced lobbying government on behalf of her readers with driving lorries for the war effort, Julie Summers weaves together stories from ordinary lives and high society to provide a unique picture of life during the Second World War.

As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to 'make-do-and-mend'. Beautifully illustrated and full of gorgeous detail, Fashion on the Ration lifts the veil on a fascinating era in British fashion.

Publication date: 05/03/2015

£5.99

ISBN: 9781782830979

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B00QFXBBLI

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Arts, Language & Literature, History & Classics

Fashion on the Ration (Paperback)

Style in the Second World War

Julie Summers

A social history to be seen with: bestselling author of Jambusters (filmed as Home Fires) lifts the veil on wartime fashion.

In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: 'Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.' And, she continued, 'Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.'

For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity - and one they weren't going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. From the young woman who avoided the dreaded 'forces bloomers' by making knickers from military-issue silk maps, to Vogue's indomitable editor Audrey Withers, who balanced lobbying government on behalf of her readers with driving lorries for the war effort, Julie Summers weaves together stories from ordinary lives and high society to provide a unique picture of life during the Second World War.

As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to 'make-do-and-mend'. Beautifully illustrated and full of gorgeous detail, Fashion on the Ration lifts the veil on a fascinating era in British fashion.

Publication date: 25/02/2016

£9.99

ISBN: 9781781253274

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Arts, Language & Literature, History & Classics

Reviews for Fashion on the Ration

'I would not have thought a book could make me nostalgic for rationing, but Julie Summers has managed it. A marvellous read.'

Julian Fellowes 

'Stirring tales of how women beautified on a budget during the Second World War'

 Mail on Sunday You Magazine

'A charming read ... and a rebuttal of the notion that fashion is a sideshow to the real business of life; a women only zone.'

Anna Murphy Times

'A fantastic book'

 Independent

'A well-researched history'

 Saga

'Anyone tempted to look back in envy for life as portrayed in such sepia-tinted soaps as Foyle's War should read Fashion On The Ration ... every page makes one increasingly grateful for modern comforts, and clothes in particular. Few histories capture so simply yet vividly the monotony and grind of ordinary life for the British at home, when patriotism and fear were leavened, daily, by the increasingly irritating restrictions on what people could wear ... a riveting social history of the kind that looks narrow, yet encompasses every individual - infants as well as the elderly - who had to endure these years ... Fashion may look like a trivial subject but, as Summers shows, it goes to the heart of people's confidence and mood. Given the sartorial hardship Britain was obliged to endure, our enduring chuzpah - and victory - seem all the more remarkable'

Rosemary Goring Herald

'A fascinating roadmap for all lovers of fashion'

Jo Elvin Glamour

'[Full of] glorious details ... This book is a testament to the courage shown on the home front in a war where every button mattered. It is also a reproof to those of us with bulging wardrobes who complain that we don't have a thing to wear'

Daisy Goodwin Mail on Sunday

'Wonderful ... Summers handles her source material confidently and colourfully'

Louise Carpenter Daily Telegraph

Julie Summers

Julie Summers

Julie Summers is the author of Jambusters: the story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War, which inspired ITV's 2015 hugely successful drama Home Fires, now into a second series. She also wrote When the Children Came Home and Stranger in the House, among others. Fashion on the Ration appeared in March 2015. She lives in Oxford.