Where to Find the Best 1940’s Dresses

Are you going to a swing dance? A USO party? A WWII reenactment? Or do you just love wearing vintage clothing? 1940’s dresses are simple and sophistication which makes them very popular with women today.
Here are some ideas on where to shop locally:
Vintage clothing stores – Local vintage clothing stores are a great resource for 1940’s dresses. Good retailers will identify what decade their clothing is from and the condition it is in. If you don’t have a local vintage clothing stores try general antique stores who often have selections of old clothes. Thrift stores also have old clothes or new clothes that have similar looks to 1940’s dresses

Garage and Estate sales – You never know what you are going to find at a local garage or estate sale. Some sellers may not think to clean out their closet for a garage sale so ask them if you don’t see any clothes out.

Friends and Family – You will be surprised to see what people have for you. While some friends may not want to give you their old family treasures, they may be willing to let you borrow one for a special event.
Here are some ideas on where to shop online:
Vintage retailers – Vintage clothing wasn’t always tagged with sizes and definitely not sized with modern numbering. Measure your shoulders, bust, high waist (above your belly button), and hips and then buy dresses that fit your measurements. 1940’s dresses fit tighter in the arms and torso so you may want to add an extra inch to your measurements if you are doing any kind of vigorous activity, like swing dancing.

Reproduction dresses – Vintage dresses can take a while to find you exact size and in a color or style you like. If you don’t have the time to wait then look at buying a new reproduction dress. These are dresses made from vintage patterns but modified to fit a large selection of sizes with a modern cut (more comfortable.) You can also have a dress made for your exact measurements for only a little bit more time and money.

Make your own dress – If you can sew you can make 1940’s dresses from vintage patterns. Reading vintage patterns is different than modern patterns so be sure to pick a how to book or work with someone who has experience. You can also find reproduction patterns that are written like modern patterns.

Buy New Dresses – Fashion designers just love vintage dress styles. You can find 1940’s inspired clothes in your local department store or online. They are usually not reproductions but a mix of 40’s, 50’s and 60’s styling into a new dress. Some look more like one decade over the other. These can be nice, affordable dresses, that many people feel more comfortable wearing in public than vintage dresses.
The key to shopping for 1940’s dresses (or making dresses) is knowing what 1940’s dresses looked and felt like. There are so many myths about what is 1940’s vs what is 1950’s that most people, even vintage retailers, don’t even know. Get educated first and finding the best 1940’s dresses will be easier.