Flappers, bootleggers, excess and fun ruled Black Tuesday, which is what the October 29 1929 Wall Street stock market crash is called. Before the crash, ordinary young people wanted to dress like flappers or bootleggers. After the crash, they went into survival mode and fashion was was put on the back burner.
The good times of the Roaring Twenties ended abruptly. Herbert Hoover was president, and Black Tuesday set the 10-year Great Depression, the largest financial crisis of the 20th century. However, As you already know, the Prohibition law was not repealed until the end of 1933.
Fashion went into hibernation during the depression. There are uncountable theories as to why the Great Depression occurred, but no one argues the fact that the sudden downturn of the US economy was the factor that pulled so many other countries.
Most economists and historians agree that the Depression ended the advent of World War II. At the very least, WWII helped to reduce unemployment.The United States entered World War II at the end of 1941, activating about 10 million US citizens into the war effort. By that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been president of the US 1933.
France became occupied in 1942 and therefore its influence was cut off from the rest of the world. Most French fashion designers had fled the country anyway. Britain, which was used to war and rationing, became the major fashion influence the first time in history.
The garment industry had been doing okay in the US before the Second World War, as the Americans were manufacturing inexpensive clothing using a sizing system for ready-to-wear clothing that they had devised the Civil War in order to produce sized uniforms for soldiers. But this clothing was certainly not fashionable.
By 1943, the US government had placed a ration the manufacturing of civilian clothing and accessories. Leather, rubber and metal were diverted to the armed forces. Clothing was no longer manufactured with zippers, and shoes and bags had no trimmings. Fashion became very low priority.
The US federal government was restricting manufacturers order not only to economize raw materials and machinery, but also manpower. Stanley Marcus (of Neiman Marcus Department Stores) was the head of the textile division of the War Production Board. The WPB set heavy fines and jail time for manufacturers that broke the rules.
For example, wool fabric used for clothing had to be 9 ounces in (about 255 grams) weight or less, and a hem circumference could not be more than 78 inches. (198.12 cm.) Lined clothing was forbidden, as were culottes, reversible clothing and anything quilted. A waistband had to be no more than 3 inches wide (7.62 cm.). If an article clothing had pleating, then ruffles were prohibited, and vice versa. Hoods were forbidden, as were patches and more than one pocket on any article of clothing. No article of clothing could have more than 4 buttons or buttonholes.
Civilians were limited 3 pairs of leather footwear per year. Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian footwear legend, had already been living in Hollywood and working with the famous. He had designed orthopedic wedge-heeled shoes in the mid-30s, but they had never caught on.
As the steel needed to reinforce high heels was now forbidden, he began to manufacture shoes with wedge heels again. He talked a couple of his wealthy, prominent clients using them, and wedgies suddenly became popular in lieu of the prohibited high heels.
The fashion of the time called for height, and wedge heels gave women that height as well as being easier to walk in. Women liked the idea of using a shoe that was new and also politically correct. Ferragamo began to be commissioned both society people and movie stars to design shoes.
Ferragamo used cork, wood or straw to make his heels, and some of them were as high as 5 inches, which is almost 13 centimeters! Clothing manufacturers began to manufacturer both men’s and women’s clothes with shoulder pads, which added to the illusion of height. The government hadn’t remembered to prohibit them. Since wool and silk were needed for military uniforms and parachutes, most civilian clothes were made rayon of viscose.
the war, men’s suits always came with a jacket, vest and two pairs of matching trousers. During the war, the vest and extra pair of trousers were dropped, and it has stayed that way ever since. American men stopped wearing suits on a day-to-day basis at that time, and many have never really gone back to pre-war formality.
Bias cutting, which had only been invented in 1927, was forbidden during the war because it wasted so much fabric. A bias cut basically means the fabric is cut on the cross grain of the fabric rather than the straight grain, creating a fit that hangs beautifully while the same time hugs the midriff and hips. Hollywood designers had turned the the Parisian bias cut into a real trend before rationing began.
Rationing was very strict. Dress or skirt lengths had to be 17 inches the floor. (43.18 cm.) However, the two-piece bathing suit was introduced into the US at that time, created at the suggestion of the US government in order to reduce bathing suit fabric by 10%. Movie stars like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner began to use them in films, but the suits never showed a woman’s naval. The naval-revealing bikini was introduced by a French engineer in 1946, and he borrowed the name for his invention from the Bikini Atoll where the US government was doing post-war atomic bomb testing at that time.
Another result of the war was that American women never gave up the pants they were encouraged to wear during the war. And the hairstyles, which grew creatively elaborate during the war to compensate for their untrimmed clothing, have remained elaborate and a little puffy compared to the style of the rest of the world. The WWII rationing made the difference in social classes less noticeable, as the dress and style of all women became similar government restrictions.
I was born near the end of WWII and raised in a small town in New Jersey, just a little more than a 30-minute drive from NYC. It was a wonderful place to be brought up, feeding ducks and canoeing on the river that meandered through the town in the summer, and ice-skating on that same river in the winter.
My two brothers and I were privileged to be raised in a lovely town that was safe to explore on foot, but close enough to NYC to be taken there on day trips to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily B & B circus, museums, Chinatown, street fairs in the spring and Broadway shows as we grew older. But we thought nothing of it.
Later as teens, we would go into NYC to buy a couple of beers (the drinking age in New York State was 18, and 21 in New Jersey) and hang out in Greenwich Village where we saw singers such as Bob Dylan who were on the first rung of the ladder on their way to fame.
The sixties were a time of speaking out and creating change. I decided to do my part by joining the Peace Corps, an innovative cold war program established by John F. Kennedy in 1961. I arrived in Brazil at the end of 1966, and after an adaptation period, was sent to serve in Porto Nacional, in what was Goias at that time. I can’t say I changed the course of the country, especially as I was immediately called upon to teach English in the local high school.
I have been teaching ever since; high schools, college literature, college language pedagogy, financial English and everything in-between. I married a wonderful Brazilian from Rio and we had 3 boys and moved around some, as he was an engineer who worked on hydro dams. Nowadays I am a widow and live in BH with 3 cats, one of which has extraordinary powers, and I have 4 wonderful and uniquely different grandchildren nearby. Thus far, I have had an interesting life, and this new endeavor called a blog should make it even more interesting.
FYI is an acronym, and an acronym is a word formed by combining the first letters of each word of a name, such as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) that is frequently seen in the news. Another one you probably know is AIDS, which is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Sometimes acronyms are pronounced as a word as in NATO and AIDS, and sometimes the letters are pronounced individually, such as FYI (for your information). And most of the time they are not even pronounced, as they are used mostly in social media, business communication and Internet. But we do hear CNN (Cable News Network) reporters saying ASAP frequently, which means As Soon As Possible and is hard to pronounce.
Sometimes acronyms become words, such as the word scuba. Everybody knows that word, but few know it started out as an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Another acronym that became a word is laser, which began as the acronym Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Most of us are very pleased that these two words became acronyms.
For now, try to incorporate FYI and ASAP into your daily communications, and don’t spend too much time remembering what AIDS and LASER and SCUBA really mean. But you should be able to recognize NATO as it has become a big issue in North America and Europe.
Here are six business acronyms that you should know if you are a businessperson, and maybe aspire to if you are in middle management. Which one would be the lowest stress and the highest salary?
In the Portuguese language, people who have an attitude of boldness, sometimes disrespect or rudeness are said to have a wooden face, which is cara de pau (pau rhymes with cow in English) in Brazilian Portuguese. The expression also describes someone who is hiding their true feelings. It is used in varying degrees, from kidding a friend to angry criticism. Here is how we can say say cara de pau in English. Fill in the…
Choose the words to match the images, and then the word they form