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wartime fashion  • Utility Floral Print Dress

from Spring 1942 • From 1941 clothing was rationed.

A Utility dress is a dress made from Utility cloth.

Utility LabelLabel denoting goods made from Utility material.

In Spring 1942 the Government introduced the Utility Scheme which applied to cloth manufacturers.
The scheme set standards of fabric quality.
Additionally austerity regulations were introduced restricting wasteful decoration and styles, wasteful methods of production and cost. These applied to all clothing manufacture.
This is a typical Utility dress probably made of Rayon A man-made fibre: Cotton or silk would need to be imported by ship fabric and printed with a limited range of strong colours. Short sleeves were almost obligatory.
Even the close print floral design is aimed at economy. In dressmaking, when matching seams, there is less waste with small close prints.
The popular "Up" hairstyle worn in this photograph was influenced by American films of the time.

• Inscribed on the back: Jean Xmas 1943

Date 1943: Age about 15 years old  • Estimate: born 1928± 3 years