Working Woman Series: Trousers


Hello again!  I hit a couple road blocks this weekend with getting posts up according to the original posted series schedule, but I'll get it back on track in the next couple days, I promise!

Today we're talking trousers, 1940s working woman trousers.

I've got some 1940s trend-talk, inspiration, extra info links, and ways you can get your own 1940s trousers!  

So first of all, what exactly were the trouser trends of working women in those days?  How did they fit, and fabrics and colors were common?

1940s women's pants closely resembled and fit like men's pants, largely because pants had not been made specifically for a mass market of women.  Before this, trousers had often been just novelty items or avant garde fashion statements.  However, with the work women needed to do in factories, on farms, and in the military, pants became a requirement of practicality and safety.  The picture below is a great way to compare men's and women's pants:
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Notice the high waist, wide leg, and front pleat/ ironed detail that both pairs share in common.  This style is really the only prominent style of trouser, especially of the trousers worn by working women.  The bagginess worked quite well for the bending, moving, and tough work women were doing, too!

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Another trend of the 1940s has to do with cuffs on the pants.  In the late 1930s and early 1940s before the war, pants oftentimes incorporated wide cuff details on them.  However, as World War II fabric restrictions were put into place, these cuffs were dropped.  The cuffed pattern below is probably from the late 1930s:


Generally speaking, although there are exceptions, 1940s women's pants also had side or back zippers, not front flys.  The ad below does include a front fly option on the right, however!

Trousers, being mainly utilitarian at this point-- though there are definitely examples of evening wear trousers and such-- were made of durably, easily washable fabrics such as cottons, denims, and tweeds.  Also due to fabric rationing, the trousers were usually made in highly versatile neutral colors such as tan, olive green, navy, and gray.  These colors were often worked into designs such as plaid as well:

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Pants

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So now for the big question...... Where can you get your own 1940s working woman trousers?  I've got lots of options for you!


charcoal | navy | black | bergundy

navy | red | blue coast guard pants

Vogue 9690 | Simplicity 3688 | Simplicity 4680 | Vogue 8836 | Simplicity 1306

1 comment

  1. Whenever I think of 1940s trousers back in their original era, I'm always reminded of my maternal grandma, who was immensely fond of them and even got permission to wear them to school at the time, which required a note from her parents. She didn't hate dresses or skirts, she just thought (and was objectively right) that pants made a lot more sense of walking to and from school in the snow and super cold temperatures when growing up in Dawson City, Yukon during the 40s.

    ♥ Jessica

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