Black and Latinx Styles of the 1940's
Classic looks that should be brought back in 2021!
When I think of 1940's fashion and beauty, some of the first things that come to mind are elegant long dresses, red lips, and beautifully styled curls.
The staples of 1940's fashion were constructed using simple materials, as all clothes needed to have the least amount of fabric incorporated into the look as possible. This trend was due to heavy rationing of goods in World War II, as many deemed it inappropriate to wear fuller dresses or have an excess of clothes. Once the war was over, women's practical looks soon morphed into bolder fashion trends that took a leap back into full statement pieces!
Several popular celebrities, such as Vivien Leigh or Katharine Hepburn, showed off some gorgeous fashion during this time. The most recognizable looks, such as "victory rolls" in hairstyles and a sleek makeup routine, became some major highlights of the 40's. Overall, the styles of this era were effortlessly show stopping!
But, as much as I love reflecting on some of these shining hollywood stars, I often find myself drawn to the forgotten groups of history. Many Black and Latinx women of the 1940's had impeccable style, but this point is not always talked about!
These women were trendsetters, and developed styles that paved the way for modern fashion. Unfortunately, they tend to be overlooked when we think back to what is considered iconic representation for this time period. For this reason, I want to bring some much needed attention to the lovely Black and Latinx ladies of the '40's!
The 1940's for Black and Latinx Women: A Short History Recap
In 1943, the Zoot Suit Riots in LA created immense tension between Mexican-Americans and white Americans. Many Mexicans did not want to assimilate into white standards of society, thus they rebelled against the Anglo norms in language and fashion. The "Pachuca" fashion for Mexican women was born from this movement, and can even be seen in hints of "Chola" style in the early 2000's. This type of fashion screamed independence, and was intimidating. It had broad shouldered blazers, saddle shoes, bold lips, and high volume hair!
For Black women of the 1940's, violent racism and discrimination happened in all forms. Especially, within beauty standards. Displaying one's natural hair was not well accepted, which meant that many women had to resort to straightening or coming up with new ways to style their hair. Hair maintence included using hot combs to straighten, putting on hair oils, and wrapping with do-rags to protect the hair and keep it in place. Faux bangs, wigs, and updos were also popular, as many of these routines are similar to what is used by Black women today!
Overall, Black and Latinx women experienced multiple forms of racism that isolated them from the "desirable" white beauty standards. Yet, these women were the inspiration for timeless trends in fashion. Most non-white women of the '40's did not fit into this ideal of what was considered "beautiful", so their additions to the fashion industry are left unspoken!
Regardless of this dark history, I rest my case here that Black and Latinx women had some pretty cool style choices. For instance, Billie Holiday wore these short curls with gardenia flowers on the side. Let me just say...this combo looks amazing! I would love to see women bringing this style back today for formal events or summer workplace looks!
The 1940's for 2021:
What exactly do I want to see making a comeback? Here's my list:
- Pin Curls & Flowers in Hair- tight curls and sweet flowers would be dreamy!
- Bold Lip Liners and Lipstick- Browns, Dark Reds, and Purples!
- Thin Eyebrows: They're not cringe...they are cool!
- Updos: taking a "bun" type of style to the next level!
- Vintage Waves: voluminous, classy, and flowy
- Pompadours and Bouffants of Pachuca Women!
Check out these videos, too!
~A 1940's Modern Twist from A Black Youtube Creator~