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.
Our welcome blog post https://rations2rocknroll.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/rations2-rocknroll/ 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.
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.
Thank you for reading our second blog post and we hope that there will be many more to follow.