In Vintage Inspiration

Casual Fall Style – 1942

I started collecting WWII era women’s fashion and home periodicals because they’re truly the best, most authentic source for 1940’s inspiration. I get so many ideas for new sewing projects when browsing images such as these photos, scanned from the Fall/Winter 1942-43 Sears and Roebuck catalog. I think they’re a nice peak into the casual working woman’s wardrobe during that era.









I don’t know about you, but I’d buy one of everything! Especially at the 1942 prices 😉 If only… guess I’ll just have to sew some things instead!
What outfit would you recreate?



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  • Wow! I want to buy everything, so perfect outfits. I also buy all old catalogs I see. I think It is the best inspiration.

  • I love the skirt suits in the first picture. I’ve always wanted one. When my sewing skills improve, I’m going to make one of those and a retro swimsuit (to be worn on separate occasions, of course).

  • I like the expressions of the people in the 5th picture. You can see the two ladies on the right are just waiting for the one on the left to tell them what she just read. Quite artistic for a store catalog!

  • Crowbird

    I love this post, thanks so much for showing. I love the blue with white polka dot dress, but to be honest they are all fabulous and I would be happy with any of them!
    I can’t get over how some of the footwear being so on trend- my daughter has a pair of turn-back cuff ankle boots not too dissimilar and brogue shoes are very popular here in the UK at the moment see (my favourites are the ones with the fringe fronts).
    If only we could time travel!

  • What a fabulous resource. I would make the stripe shirt waist dress, in fact heading to pin it shortly!

  • How can you choose just one – they’re all fabulous. I would want to work my way through them all one at a time 🙂 If only we could still get some of those gorgeous fabrics! Sigh!

  • I can definitely see you in all of those! I think I’d be after the second photo’s dresses. Very cute!

  • What I sometimes love about looking at catalogs, magazines and old pictures is the little *teeny* bits of info that you can gather about how things were sometimes styled. For example, I see at least one pair of pants with a wide-ish waistband and belt loops, but no belt! I always feel self-conscious when I wear pants with belt loops without a belt, but I see there’s no reason to be. 🙂

    I’ll take one of everything too… in fact that green cardigan with the ribbon buttonbands? I made the yellow version 2 years ago and have the yarn to make a green one just like that. I need more hours in the day! lol

  • Olivia

    All of the dresses! I love the green one with pockets. I also love the peek at shoes. I think that can be the hardest part is finding shoes to complete the outfit.

  • Can I order a pair of those boots on the bottom left please!!!

  • I would absolutely have a shirt dress in every style and shape. So attractive and flattering!

  • The red and white stripped dress or the green gingham. If I had a time machine I would buy them all.

  • Thank you so much for sharing things like this! I agree that it is just a fantastic source for inspiration and a true look into what they wore. I actually think I just spotted the hat on the middle girl in the top photo the other day on Etsy! Love it!

  • I would totally make the red striped dress with the chevrons on the front skirt and the pockets with the stripes going all different directions, wow!

  • One of the suits, I have some great patterns and thinking after I am done with a couple of projects, I am going to give it a go. Thanks for sharing such wonderful pictures and LOOK at those prices…..

  • Though the leaves are still as green as a snap pea around these parts, and will be for a few weeks more, I’m yearning for autumn’s return something fierce already. I’ll miss summer certainly, but autumn is my favourite season and – short lived gem that it is – I can’t wait to dust of my not too cold, not too warm vintage wardrobe again.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Ooh, the blouses! I just love the long sleeves. The striped ones are fabulous! Oh, and all the dresses, particularly in the second image.

  • Oh my goodness, thank you for posting these. So much 1940s goodness. I love the dresses and the knitwear. I wear any of those right now 🙂

  • The tan trousers, please, to go with the moccasins for $3.19. And the dresses and belts from the second image–I could use all those too 😉

  • Katherine

    Fabulous pictures! Anything in gingham or candy stripes wins my vote every time. I love the pocket details.

  • Loving all of the pants in the third last image. So I would definitely be making a pair similar to these

  • I love the plaid suit.

  • I’m loving that blue suit in the first picture. I really like the front pleat in the skirt, got to make something like that one of these days!

  • Oh, those white majorette boots….drool…