Influence of the Korean War on Fashion

Street scene in Seoul, September 1953
The Korean War is sometimes referred to as "The Forgotten War" in the U.S. It wasn't highly publicized like World War II and Vietnam, and it was relatively short, lasting from 1950-1953.  However, it was one of the more impactful conflicts that still affects international relations today. The rate of civilian casualties in the war was higher than during World War II and Vietnam as well, and another generation of American GIs experienced war in a place they likely never would have ventured to otherwise.

(Read a summarized timeline of the war here.)

The conflict also affected the people back home. When troops went to war, many of them were traveling overseas for the first time in their lives. They stopped in various countries along the way to the front, oftentimes buying souvenirs and garments for loved ones back home. These little pieces from their travels made their way into the wardrobes of mothers, wives, girlfriends, and sisters all across America. 

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1960s

Ah, the 1960s! Finally, stretch fabrics started to make their way into maternity fashions, and pregnancy style has never really looked back. Just like the rest of the 60s, maternity fashion was fun and whimsical! Common embellishments included big buttons, bows, rhinestones, bright fabrics, and the like.

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1950s

1950s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Now for the era that defines “vintage maternity style” in the minds of many: the 1950s! Unlike during the 1930s and 1940s, fabric conservation and rationing was no longer a big design consideration and, like the other styles of the 1950s, maternity wear became more voluminous and feminine.

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1940s

1940s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Time for part two of the Vintage Maternity Garment Series, this time featuring the 1940s! 

There was not a huge change in maternity styles from the late 1930s to early 1940s, but fabric rationing during WWII seems to have played into designs later.

Vintage Maternity Series - The 1930s

1930s Vintage Maternity fashion style

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have been collecting and saving vintage maternity patterns in the vain aspiration that someday I would sew them all up and have a magnificent pregnancy wardrobe.

Currently, at about 7 months pregnant, I’ve finished just a pair of pants and two blouses, haha!  So the sewing plans are not going as well as I imagined. HOWEVER, in studying all of these patterns, making a couple of them, and supplementing my wardrobe with vintage garments, I have made some interesting discoveries about the construction of vintage maternity pieces that I wanted to share with you guys. For this, I’ll be looking at some patterns and garments from the 1930s-1960s and sharing interesting details from each of them. Today we’re starting with the 1930s!