Apples, the fruit of love and muddy boots.

The atrocities of war are well documented; but out of many dark cobwebbed tunnels of despair and suffering, a warm shining light may often be seen glowing in the distance. This is a story of apples. It is a story of love. It is a story of mud.

Wars witness a displacement of people; and for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to children evacuated from cities to the countryside and, most notably, compulsory enlistment for state (usually in the form of military) service.

Our tale tells of a young woman from the East End of London who, after a successful appeal against a call up to work in a munitions factory, volunteered for service in the Women’s Land Army.  

It tells of a young farmer; also originally from the East End, but now a permanently planted country boy.

Our welcome blog post reports that @Rations2R_n_R shall mainly focus on fashion; both in terms of outerwear, underwear and accessories.

With this in mind, and before our tale grows and flourishes, we would like to provide an outline of pre-war fashion. 

The linear female forms and “boyish” silhouettes of the 1920s had disappeared by 1933; giving way to longer hemlines, and a return to a “ladylike” appearance. A form fitted style with rounded busts and waistlines returning to an accentuated natural “high waist” as opposed to the “drop waist” of the 1920s.

The emphasis was feminine and tidy by day and glamorous at night.

In response to the economic hardships of the time mass production provided cheaper to produce garments. 

By 1938 shoulder pads had become fashionable and, along with full collars and puff sleeves,  heralded a shoulder emphasis that continued into the 1940s. 

Movies influenced women, and their thoughts on fashion; clamouring to look like their Hollywood screen idols.

By 1938 Nylon was being commercially produced to manufacture knitted hosiery. 

World War 2 saw Nylon redirected to the manufacture of parachutes and so, as is well known, stockings were in short supply; often “procured” by way of the black market, the Americans, or gravy browning. 

Women conscripted to the military had their uniforms, and the Women’s Land Army (known commonly as Land Girls) had their own uniform; homogeneous and practical for their service, replacing the male farm hands that had “gone off to war”; and providing the necessary home grown crops to supplement food supplies.

For women not in uniform clothing needed to be practical and stylish with outfits having to be economical; transversing the barriers of seasons, by making the most of clothing coupons. 
Interestingly we read that the majority of Land Girl “recruits” were already domiciled in the country with only one third coming from cities. 

As the daughter of a love affair between two Eastenders; destined to be brought together amongst the apple orchards of the countryside, where mum was found scrumping there is gratitude for her being one of the third. 

We would like to pay tribute at this time to the Land Girls; created during the First World War and reseeded in June 1939, and thank them for their contribution to our country in a time of adversity.

It is no surprise that, both after the end of WW2 and the end of rationing, women elected to pull back on their nylon stockings and step out in haute couture fashion; far removed from the austerity imposed in the war years.

We have touched on apples. 

We have touched on love but where does mud come in; well usually through the back door!

Thank you for reading our second blog post and we hope that there will be many more to follow.


Rations2 Rock’n’Roll

From Churchill’s “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech in 1940, in which he asked the House to declare its confidence in the Government, to Cliff Richard and The Shadows “Travellin’ Light” in 1959 there are rarely two decades that experienced such diversity.

The World War 2 year of January 1940 saw the first rationing of food in the form of bacon, butter and sugar. 

Conversely, and due to a boom in the post-war global economy, Britain saw a dramatic rise in the standard of living leading the then Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, to make a 1957 speech that “most of our people have never had it so good”.

From the Women’s Land Army of 1940, and homogeneous dungarees, to the 1950s fashion silhouette fuelled by a wave “goodbye” to rationing.

From longline bras and girdles to circular knit seamless stockings.  From bullet holes to bullet bras.

From “The Great Dictator”; a 1940 political satire comedy drama starring Charlie Chaplin, to the 1959 Marilyn Monroe classic “Some Like it Hot”.

Two decades a second apart but; from 1940 to 1959, years that could hardly be further apart.

1940; one year after the end of the “Great Depression”. 1959; only two years before President John F. Kennedy declared the start of the “Space Race” to the Moon.

Fashion changed. Films changed. Fred Astaire changed. 

@Rations2R_n_R we look forward to our journey through the 1940s and 1950s.

Our excursion shall be comprehensive although mainly focused on fashion; both in terms of outerwear, underwear and accessories.

We shall adorn and embellish our journey with the arts; in the forms of dance, film and stage.

A guided charabanc tour through the Golden decades of the 1940s and 1950s where Gentlemen were true Gentlemen and it was not viewed as politically incorrect to treat a Lady as a Lady. Conversely the WW2 years saw women take on roles previously restricted to men; and laying the tenuous foundations of a path; although three-quarters of a century later a still incomplete path, towards equality in the workplace. 

We would accept that we may be looking at the era through rose tinted glasses as much of the time was spent in conflict. However the fashion of the time is still easily procured; both online and in stores, and many movies and musical compositions have attained a legendary status.

We look forward to opening our door in the spirit of the era and extending the heartiest of welcomes.