1940’s Radio Hour Costumes and Clothing Guide for Women

Performing the 1940’s Radio Hour show is a very fun experience. My first 1940’s Radio Hour show was in high school and since I loved old clothes and music it was a dream come true. For 1940’s radio hour costumes everyone had to find their own. Are you looking for 1940’s style clothing to wear in your 1940’s radio hour show? If so here are, some tips to help you get started:

The clothes you choose are all about your character. Are you a jazz singer? An Actress? A military nurse? A Housewife? A Rosie the Riveter type? You are representing  real person so knowing who your character is will determine your outfit.

Jazz Singers/ Performers- These smooth voiced singers soothed the troubled hearts of men overseas. At home they kept life upbeat performing big band swing music.  For live shows these ladies looked good but not over the top like a movie star. They wore shorter evening dresses in the typical pinch waist and a line skirt that all women were wearing. The material was usually made of chiffon or velvet- a fancy fabric for evening wear. Regardless of the dress a singer would wear lots of sparkle. Rhinestone earrings and pearl necklaces, colorful patriotic brooches, and long black gloves. A performer was more than her voice- her clothing had to match the show.

Actress/Movie Star- This was the golden age of film. Young women were hot “bombshells” on and off stage. They wore the latest formal fashions with long gowns, covered in beads and sequins. Fur capes and feathers draped their shoulders. Shoes had heels and sling back straps. Hairstyle were perfectly curled and manicured. Be sure to pull out all the glitz and glam a 1940’s singer did with your outfit.

1940's victory roll hairstyle

Victory Rolls

Military dress- There were many uniforms that women wore in WW2. Finding vintage uniforms can be tough and making a new one even harder. The easiest style would be a WAVE uniform with a navy a-line skirt and slim fitting jacket, white blouse, and a small felt hat. The next easiest uniform is Red Cross nurse. These all white shirtwaist dresses were worn with white stockings, white shoes, and white apron with a red cross on the bib.

Housewife – 1940’s Housewives became excellent radio spokeswomen in commercials, reading short plays, and making news announcements. These ladies dressed in war time Victory suits or dresses. They were minimally decorated and usually were made of Rayon material. Necklines were high with a square to slit style opening. Add a pair of comfortable peep toe shoes, matching purse and cute little hat are you’ll be looking stylish in no time.

Factory Worker- The Rosie the Riviters of the 1940’s were important women. At first they had to wear mens clothing- pants, button down shirts, even socks. Soon after the war started long pants or overalls, flat oxford shoes, short sleeve blouses and hair snoods were made for women. They weren’t pretty but they were practical for factory workers. Show off your women power with a Rosie outfit.

If you are still stuck on what exactly 1940’s clothes look like or where to buy them, then you should pick up a copy of the 1940’s Style Guide. It’s an easy to follow guide through 1940’s fashion history with tips and advice for finding clothes locally or online, styling your hair and makeup, or sewing your own clothes. With this illustrated guide you’ll be able to choose a 1940’s style outfit that is right for your character. Tell your cast mates about it so everyone can be dressed well for the 1940’s Radio hour.


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