1940’s Vixen: A 1940’s Fashion Paper Doll

Bodacious & Buxom logo- 1940's VixenThere are some periods of fashion I’m naturally drawn too. I love the regency era and the 1870s. I have a strange soft spot for the 1920s and the mod looks of the 1960s. However, 1940’s fashions just doesn’t do so much for me. Still, one of my goals for my paper dolls in 2015 is to do more historical paper doll sets and to stretch myself into eras that I’m not naturally interested in.

As a result, today’s paper doll is clad in 1940’s fashion finery.

Truly, the 1940s is a fascinating time in fashion history. World War Two interrupts the middle of the decade and the end of the war welcomes in a whole new style of clothes thanks to Dior’s New Look. Prior to 1947, however, there is cloth rationing in many countries, most notable England, and an emphasis on “Make Due and Make Mend”. Magazines would publish articles on how to transform a man’s suit into a woman’s suit or how to turn dishtowels into aprons.

A printable paper doll with 1940's fashions including three diereses, three hats, purses and shoes. Free to print and color from paperthinpersonas.com. {Download a PDF of this paper doll to Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll to Color}
Hats were still required for day wear. Our paper doll is sporting three different hats and two purses. Marie Claie UK published these wonderful photos of 1940s fashion on their blog- photo number 27 inspired one of her hats. Her black purse is from 1945 and is based on this purse from the V&A. Her shoes are from 1943, based on this pair at the Met.

A red-headed printable paper doll with 1940's fashions including three diereses, three hats, purses and shoes. Free to print in color from paperthinpersonas.com. {Download a PDF of this paper doll in Full Color} {View a 150 dpi PNG of this Paper Doll in Full Color} {More Bodacious and Buxom Printable Paper Dolls}
All of her dresses come from vintage pattern covers- Vogue 5667, Simplicity 3296 A (one of my favorite designs, I used it here too) and Vogue 5802 A. My 1940s fashion Pinterest board contains more images that influenced this set.

A Quick Poll…

What historical era should B&B visit next?

  • Vikings! (AKA 800s) (28%, 18 Votes)
  • 1950s (20%, 13 Votes)
  • 1860s (17%, 11 Votes)
  • Regency (15%, 10 Votes)
  • 1300s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • 1700s (8%, 5 Votes)
  • Other, and I'll tell you in a comment (5%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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13 comments

  1. I like the 1940s era of fashion. It was the youth of my grandparents and so I always wonder what my grandmothers may have dressed like when I see fashions from this decade. I have always liked the decade of the 1920s fashion designs as well as the early 1800s. Dolly Madison is my favorite first lady and she lived during the time of the Regency in Great Britain. In this country it was called the Early Republic, and in France, it was the Age of Empire during the reign of Napoleon and Josephine.

    1. Yeah, the early 1800s is one of those periods with many names depending on which country you’re actually talking about. I tend to use Regency, even though technically the dates are pretty narrow, because most people seem to know that term over other terms.

  2. I love this one!
    I have always been partial to 1940s fashion, especially the ingenuity of women (and designers) during the fabric rationing times, to make do with basically nothing, and still be dressed elegantly.
    My grandmother (born 1921) used to tell me stories how often one piece of fabric was used before you eventually did rip it into pieces and use it as cleaning rags. Something being first a sunday dress, then with some changes, a regular dress, then a blouse, then a child’s frock or a child’s pillow cover wasn’t at all uncommon.

    As for the next historical era, I’d love to see a 1630-1640 paper doll. I’ve always loved French and English dresses of that time! It does have a LOT of lace though… 😉

    1. Somehow, try as I might, I just can’t get into the 1600s. There’s something about the hair and the necklines and the lace and the sleeves… for both men and women, I just struggle not to find it absurd. I feel the same way about 1830s and 1840s.

      Perhaps, however, that’s a good reason to try to stretch myself into those periods. Of course, that would mean drawing my nemesis- Lace.

      1. Awww, we have a lot of periods in common that we like, but I also like the early 1600s AND the 1830s! 😀
        Something about the poofy sleeves and lace, I guess, even though I am not a fan of lace on my own clothes.

        Anyway, you have yet to make a paperdoll that I didn’t like, so I am looking forward to anything new that you post!
        And you actually made me do more research on periods in fashion that I wasn’t particularly interested in before a couple of times, so your paperdolls aren’t just very pretty – they also make me go and learn new stuff! 🙂

  3. Oh wow! Just found you tonight while looking for some insane ideas for my retro pyjama party I’m having next Saturday (vision of half a dozen 50 something women, bouncing around a loungeroom singing along to ‘Grease’ into hairbrushes and you might have the idea!)

    My vote would be something resembling the pyjama party from Grease!!!! or something a bit more 1969-72 (yeah right. . . I’m that specific in my retro collections)

    thank you for all your great ideas… going to be a fun night!

    1. Wow, that is a narrow date range. 🙂 Actually the late sixties to early seventies is a really fun period of clothing. One thing I haven’t really thought about is the complexities of decades for historical fashion vs eras based on trends.

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