Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Women Protest Fashion Decrees - The Hemline Revolt of the late 1940s!

During the war years, hemlines were at the knee in order to accommodate war time rationing of fabric.

Then, in 1947, a hemline change occurred.  In that year, Paris decreed the "New Look" and and skirts dropped from knee length to tea length (mid-calf). This caused a serious protest - women did not like losing the freedom of those shorter hemlines.

News photo from 1947 of women's protest against new fashion skirt lengths
Patterns from the late 1940s demonstrate the return of hemlines to mid-calf lengths (tea-length).

Ultimately, the voice of women was heeded, and hemlines gradually rose closer to the knees in the 1950s. This won't be the only time women protested Paris designs. Next post, I'll talk about the hemline revolt of the 1970s. :)


  1. I love how the woman in front ion the 1947 news photo has a sign that says, "Do you want us to look like this?" and is wearing what looks to be a late 1910s, early 20s outfit... I guess that was the dowdy old lady look back then?! How crazy to think about, the 1910s being today's 1980s!

    1. Haha! Dowdy "old lady" look indeed! And you are very perceptive - the look that Paris was pushing in the late 1940s was a return to the dress lengths of the 1910s and early 1920s (which was reintroduced in the 1980s and called the "midi" look).