Fashion on the Ration at The Imperial War Museum

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Took a trip out this Wednesday to the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, London to check out the Fashion on the Ration  Exhibition, and what a jolly spiffing trip it was.
The building itself is steeped in history as it was previously The Bethlam Hospital for the mentally insane or “Bedlam” as quipped by Lord Rothermere, it was well known for its excess of lunacy! It became The Imperial War Museum in 1936. The museum closed in 1940 and re opened at the end of the second world war, so that moves us swiftly onto the exhibition…..

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The exhibition is on the 3rd floor and is comprised of six sections

  • Into Uniform
  • Functional Fashion
  • Rationing & Make Do & Mend
  • Utility Clothing
  • Beauty as Duty
  • Peace and a New Look

I loved the ‘Siren Suit’ which was (a much more stylish) version of the modern day onesie, designed to easily put on over night wear to maintain a ladies modesty while traveling to and seeking shelter during night time air raids

Just as much, I loved the handbags with compartments for the ladies gas mask and the luminous paint to apply to hair flowers etc during the blackouts! They went to such effort to still look stylish even through a traumatic time, people were made of much stronger stuff back then, I dread to think what assembles would be worn by a lot of todays’ women to run to an air raid shelter probably a Juicy Couture track suit, Ugg boots and a scruffy dressing gown with yesterdays gravy down the front!! (oh the glamour!)

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I really hope you get a chance to see it,

The exhibition is on until the 31st of this month (so hop to it!)

The Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ

and if you don’t get a chance to see it, there’s always this book by Julie Summers

Style in the Second World War

Fashion on the Ration: Style in the Second World War

Thanks for reading…….

tally ho