Dress and Food During World War II

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Quite a range of fashion shifts occurred during and after World War II. Some of the major changes included: an increasing shift to casual dress, less elaborate fashions, and the disappearance of knickers. Short pants began to be worn as summer attire, and American boys stop wearing knee socks and long stockings. Short hairstyles become popular for boys in America after the War. Anything using vast amounts of cloth or thought unnecessary were not allowed, such as: leg-of-mutton sleeves, aprons, overskirts, decorative trim, patch pockets and petticoats. Men’s suits consisted of two-piece suits—a jacket and pants without cuffs, although before 1942 they consisted of four pieces—two pairs of pants, a vest and a double-breasted jacket. (Feldman) The war, bringing on many civilian shortages, substitution became a way of life stateside, affecting daily life. Even though, powder, eye makeup and lipsticks were considered necessary for persevering wartime spirits, some ingredients were no longer available. Military and civilian provisions included the same manpower, facilities and fibers. The government wanted to conserve materials to prevent shortages and also keep the prices up, without harming standing industries. Private citizens had to adjust any new clothing to the conditions with very few exceptions. These were not the only changes being made. There were changes in the food supplies also. The Nazis made the living conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto as terrible as possible. There were curfews, and guards were put on duty at all times near the walls to make sure no Jews escaped from the ghetto. Many Jews suffered from unemployment and diseases. A typhus epidemic, which killed many Jews, broke out about a year after the ghetto was created. Due to low food rationing, many Jews starved to death. Some chose to kill themselves because they could not stand the physical and emotional pain anymore. From the moment that the Jews were isolated from the Polish society and were surrounded by a fence, their food distribution was entirely controlled by the Germans. A strict food rationing was in effect. A working person was given food rationing that was sufficient barely for one person. In order to feed the sick and the old, they were put on the list of the producing people and their relatives had to cover for them by working even longer hours and producing a larger quota. The quantity of allocated food was insufficient and many basic food items were non existent in the ghetto.
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