1940s Floral Dresses-Understated Elegance

I’m currently in the middle of the amazing and well written book “1940s-Fashion-The-Definitive-Sourcebook” by Emmanuelle Dirix & Charlotte Fiell and I just read a wonderful section on “why floral (and figurative) patterns in the 1940s were favored“.

1940s fashion the definitive sourcebook

The simple reason stated in the book was that designs with floral or figurative patterns were easy to match up and hence generated less wastage in garment production. In a time when “Make do and Mend” was becoming the norm, this makes a lot of sense.

After the war was over floral could still be found on many of the women of the 40s because 1. There was still a shortage of fabric for a while after and 2. Floral dresses were an “Understated Elegance”. Not flamboyant, just wonderful as is.

On a personal level I LOVE a beautiful 1940s floral dress and I own a couple personally and I’m always hoping to add more. So lets take a peak at what beautiful floral dresses were available to the ladies of the 40s, shall we?


Lets start with the stunning woman from the 1940s that I found on Flickr. Her off the shoulder floral gown is simple but just pure perfection on her. I love the black ribbon belt and the ballet slippers with the ties to bring it all together.

1940s dress

Source: Flickr-Hans

How stylish is this beautiful woman? Look at that jacket…wow! And her accessories are amazing (I want that purse!). I love the floral pattern in this dress and I’m sure once the jacket came off the dress was just breathtaking on her.

1940s womans fashion

Source: Flickr-Jasperdo

From the same flickr account the below image is the wonderful woman above’s, neighbours. Well well what stylish neighbours she had! I cannot tell if her dress is really a floral pattern ( I initially thought it was tropical) but does not really matter the pattern is still fantastic.

1940s men and womans fashion

Source: Flickr-Jasperdo

One more photo from the same account shows the friend of our floral dress jacket wearing fashionista 2 photos above. What a collection of fantastically dressed ladies she hung out with. The floral dress in this photo is beautiful and I love her pose too. I wonder what she is thinking?

1940's womans dress

Source: Flickr-Jasperdo

First up…COLOUR! And now..what a dress! That green floral pattern is just wonderful on this mother with her son at the beach. I would totally wear that to work or even a night of dancing.

1940s woman's dress

Source: Flickr-Ross B. CARE

I have shared this image in a past post but it’s worth sharing again because her floral dress AND matching head scarf during what I imagine to be a USO dance is a favorite of mine. Another great example of how a simple floral style like this can look just pure perfection.

1940s dancers lindy swing


Now for a small sampling of “Buy Right Now” Floral Dresses:

What a wonderful 1940s sun dress. This dress would be perfect for the summer time picnic or to wear dancing on a beautiful night under the stars.

1940s womans dress

Source: Etsy-Ella and Frank Vintage

The fabric on this dress is actually flowers AND umbrellas. Fantastic! The label states that it is a “Brucewood Custom” dress.

Source: Etsy-Planet Claire Vintage

Source: Etsy-Planet Claire Vintage

Some one buy this dress because it’s too pretty to just stay online (click on image to go to source)! I would but it’s too small for me 😦

The floral detail is again beautiful but the ruffle detailing really takes this dress to the next level. Don’t you agree?

 1940s Ethel Lou Jrs cotton dress

Source: Etsy-Tuesday Rose Vintage

Lastly here are some vintage advertisements for 1940s dresses:

WANT! Love! So cute! Can I also have the adorable hat with the palm tree and fish on it??

1940s womens fashion

Wakes of Melbourne catalogue, Summer 1946-47

Pretty frocks for all your pinching pennies needs.

BTW if this is a bargain look then sign me up!

1940s cotton house dress


And with that ad, that concludes are journey into 1940s florals.

So lovely readers are you a fan of the florals in 1940s dresses? Or do you tend to sway more towards the sequins and simple elegant styles? Or maybe you love them all!

Liz 🙂


12 thoughts on “1940s Floral Dresses-Understated Elegance

  1. Massive fan here! Florals of all eras top the charts as my favourite kind of print, particularly because they’re generally very feminine looking, which is something I really gravitate towards with my wardrobe choices. 40s floral had a special, gorgeous charm all their own though for sure and I truly, truly love them to bits!

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Thank you very much for your wonderfully nice comment on my post about launching my YouTube videos and for subscribing to my budding channel, I appreciate both immensely, dear Liz.

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