Women at War... and at home
Women portraying civilians and those representing Home Front – US British, French, and German impressoins and Partisan impressions and displays are welcome and encouraged. All persons attending the event should be acquainted with the general authenticity regulations as they apply equally to all event participants. The following are supplemental guidelines for female reenactors attending the event. Note: the material contained on these pages is not inclusive. All female impressions are accepted and encouraged.
General Guidelines for Women Reenactors
1. Dress and grooming should be consistent with 1944 Europe and North American Standards.
a. Hair must be cut and styled consistent with the practices of the 1940s.
ii. Modern hair color is not permitted (e.g. blue or pink) and modern hairstyles should be covered or altered to appear "vintage".
b. Women's makeup, including fingernail polish if worn) should be consistent with 1940's practices. As the use of makeup differed by nationality, women portraying civilians should ensure makeup is used appropriately and is consistent with products available during war-time.
i. Civilian make up should be limited based upon impression
ii. No makeup or nail polish should be worn by the following:
* French Female Maquis members
* French farm/village females
* French civilian reenactors who will be present in or around the Maquis camp or the French farm building
2. Clothing styles and ensembles should be period correct and appropriate to the wearer's impression. This includes jewelry (watches, rings and necklaces), and accessories such as hats, eyeglasses, shoes, hosiery and handbags.
3. Tattoos must be completely covered at all times while in uniform or 1940s dress. The use of makeup on exposed tattoos is highly encouraged. Alternatively, opaque hose and/or long sleeves can be used to cover tattoos.
4. Non-military participants should use 1940's "manners" during public hours.
5. All tools, drinking vessels, utensils and other common items should date to 1944 or before.
WLA - Women's Land Army
For work wear: Many land girls wore jumpers or tops under their dungarees that were their own. Some were issued Aertex shirts with their dungarees, but often many weren't. Please be advised to refer to the Civilian and women's guidelines for applicable clothing to wear under dungarees. Also, please keep in mind if your impression is a land girl in her work wear, your appearance should be according to your job. Heavy makeup and freshly set hair would not apply here.
• Heavy duty cotton tan dungarees with or without a brown leather belt cinched at the waist
• Heavy duty tan dungaree "cutoffs" are also acceptable
• Aertex (or cotton/linen) short sleeved shirt. No modern day polos, please
• Brown or peanut colored work boots, no lug soles.
• Black Wellingtons, or gum boots with no visible print or labels
• WLA issued fawn colored wool stockings
• WLA issued "milking coat"
• Tractor jacket
• A scarf over your hair is acceptable, keeping with the prints and fabrics of the time
• The WLA winter or 'Walking Out' Uniform. Please note that if your impression is a land girl using her winter uniform for Parades or Walking Out, light makeup and freshly set hair is acceptable here
• WLA issued tan lace up knee breeches
• WLA issued fawn colored long sleeved uniform shirt with official hunter green tie with WLA print on it in gold and burgundy pinstriping
• Brown leather belt, standard issue is 1 3/4" with gold colored buckle
• Hunter green v-neck long sleeve jumper with the WLA badge pinned in the "V" on the front
• WLA armband, indicating months/years of service
• WLA uniform hat with badge
• Fawn wool stockings are to be worn over knee breeches and turned over
• Dark brown leather oxfords with a 1 1/2 inch heel, or ankle laced work boots (similar to men's British army boots) are also acceptable
Back to Top
Allied Civilian Participants
1. Civilian clothing should be appropriate to the wearers' age, occupation, nationality, and social strata.
a. Clothing should be made of fabric available during war-time rationing. Cotton and rayon were encouraged due to Order L-85 (America) and Utility Apparel Order (United Kingdom). Nylon, rubber, silk, leather, and wool were reserved exclusively for combat and combat support purposes and were thus difficult to access for civilian garment production.
b. Clothing should The war-time clothing regulations produced a slim female silhouette with nipped in waists and narrow skirts with Vogue describing the look as "sharp, cold, and even bold"
|Timeline of Women's fashions from 1935-1949 to illustrate fashion silhouettes worn through 1944 as well as incorrect styles to avoid. Click to enlarge|
c. According to the War Production Board, there was need for 15% less fabric used in war-time clothing styles than pre-war standards. Prohibited during war-time standards: pleats, ruffles, patch pockets, attached hoods and shawls, full sleeves or skirts. Hems could be no wider than 2 inches and garments can have no more than one pocket
|Women's utility dresses May 14, 1942. Dresses are designed to avoid dullness||Examples of women's "utility suits."|
d. Regulations, according to the War Production Board for women's clothing, were as follows:
• Straight Coats: 44" in length, 64" sweep of hem
• Fitted Coats: 45" in length, 64" sweep of hem
• Jackets: Maximum length 28"
• Slacks or pants: Maximum length 45", bottom width 14 ½"
• Suits: i. Skirt: Length 28 ¾" - 30", Sweep according to fabric 65" - 88" ii. Jacket: Length 23 ½" - 28"
• Blouses: Sleeve width limited to 14", Length from neck to hem 22", Only one patch pocket (Prohibited Styles: Dolman, balloon, and leg o'mutton)
• Culottes or Skirt: Length 28 ¾" - 30", Sweep of hem 66" - 97" (Prohibited Styles: All around pleated skirts)
• Daytime Dresses: Maximum length 45", Sweep of hem 74" (Prohibited Styles: Tunics)
• Evening Dresses: Maximum basic length 59", Sweep of hem for all non-transparent fabric 144"
• Evening Jackets: Shall not exceed 25" from neck to hem, Hem limited to 1 ½"
• Evening Skirts: Length 45", Sweep of hem 144"
|Examples of women's hats Left to right: 1942 Canadian pink straw doll hat, American "V" for victory rhinestone trimmed wool turban c. 1945|
e. Accessories should reflect the time period
• Belts are narrow and should not exceed 2" in width
• Nude stockings (denier nylon, mercerized cotton, cotton lisle, or silk), if worn, have a matching in color, seam up the back of the leg. Socks with bare legs are acceptable- to be worn with flat shoes
• Shoes are rounded toe and, if high heeled, would have a sturdy heel (stilettos are incorrect). Popular shoes of the time were Penny Loafers, Wedgies, Oxfords, and Spectator Pumps
• Gloves were most commonly worn by women who left the house to go into public. The rule with glove selection was: the shorter the sleeve, the longer the glove
• Hats were also generally worn in public unless the attire is a sporting outfit. Common styles of the time were: Felt fedoras, Picture hats, Peter Pan, Turbans, Fascinators, Pancake hats, and Doll hats
|Examples of women's shoe advertisements. Note: the thick heels and rounded toes.|
f. Prior to World War 2, when a man purchased a suit, it came with a jacket, a vest, and two pairs of pants. The wartime "Victory Suit" eliminated the vest and second pair of pants. Men's suits were single-breasted, had narrow lapels, no cuffs, and no pocket flaps. Wartime necessity allowed men to wear mismatched jackets and trousers
g. Additional references for civilian impressions
• Flashbak: The CC41 "˜Pac-Man" Utility Label in Wartime Britain
• Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940s by Wade Laboissonniere 2009, Schiffer Publishing)
• Vintage Fashion Guild: Dating Vintage Clothing (http://vintagefashionguild.org/tips-tricks/)
• Blitzkrieg Baby- For fashion and reenacting help: (http://www.blizkriegbaby.de/homepage.htm)
• Early 1940's Fashionable Clothing from the Sears Catalogs with Price Guide. Atglen: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2002 Print
• D-Day Conneaut Allied Civilians Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1557785461130647/)
Back to Top
• Make do and mend - repaired and even stained garments would fit in well If you're taking part in the battles/scenarios make sure you wear something you don't mind getting torn or dirty
Dresses & Skirts
Polka dots, checkered square as well as flowers with big, small and tangled designs were common patterns for dresses Length is just below or right at the knee.
• Wartime dresses and skirts have less fabric due to rationing, so no poofy skirts as they are postwar.
A classic A-line skirt is the best way to go
• Cotton is material of choice since it's cooler, but wool and rayon and were also common
• No polyester or polyester blends. Stay away from elastic as most won't have the proper look
• Leather or cloth-covered belts were common on period dresses and pants, but not essential
• Closures (zippers, snaps or hooks and eyes) for dresses and skirts should always be metal and on the left side of the garment. Short neck zippers are correct. Most full back zippers are post war
Clothing Appropriate for City Dwellers
Clothing Appropriate for Female Maquis & Farm/Village Women
Collared blouses were typical and often buttoned all the way up and paired with a three-quarter length or long-sleeved knit sweater. Shoulders were usually made to look more prominent with shoulder pads. No modern style blouses.
No pants for city dwellers and farm/village women as they were not common. Pants are acceptable, although not preferable, for female Maquisards. High, flat-wasted, full-legged pants with side closures (zippers, snaps or hooks and eyes) are a good option especially if you're fielding.
##VERY IMPORANT LADIES##
If you're taking part in the battles/scenarios as an armed combatant, then you are seen as a Maquis member and not part of the farm village. Therefore, it's very important that your color choices be limited to those that will blend in with the surroundings, i.e. browns, grays, blacks, and not loud, showy colors. As Maquis you would be hiding in the woods and doing your best to not attract attention.
100% Cotton or
100% wool socks and flat leather shoes (or shoes with a minimal heel) or
leather boots to allow ease of movement. Please see pictures here and in
“Allied Civilian Participants” for the correct style of footwear. No
modern-looking soles. Maquisards and farm/village women should wear either
100% cotton or 100% wool ankle socks or be bare-legged.
Female civilians portraying city dwellers can choose the above or wear appropriate seamed hosiery (see Allied Civilian guidelines).
100% wool Basque beret is the common hat of choice in the maquis camp, usually in black, brown or dark blue
Braids, snoods and buns are all easy options. No straight hair or ponytails. Research original photographs for correct styles.
Jewelry and Eyewear
Period correct jewelry and eyewear only. Wedding bands should be thin. Female Maquisards and farm/village women should wear little jewelry (e.g. wedding band, watch) or no jewelry. Other civilian women should wear what would be appropriate for wartime France.
City dwellers-make up/nail
polish should be used appropriately and be consistent with products
available during war-time France.
NO makeup or nail polish should be worn by the following:
French Female Maquis members
French farm/village females
French civilian reenactors who will be present in or around the Maquis camp or the French farm building