Forget the '90s — This Spring, It's All About '40s Fashion

*Reaches for loafers and Bobby socks.*

Forties Fashion
Photo: Givenchy coat. Ginia top and shorts. Mateo earrings. Mizuki necklace. Fendi socks. Church’s loafers. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

If someone from the future took a peek inside our closet, they'd have a pretty hard time determining what year it is. We've got '70s flares, '90s flatforms, and '80s puff sleeves all thrown together, and this spring, we're adding another decade to the mix: the 1940s.

From cardigans to loafers, there's just something about '40s fashion that makes us buzz with excitement. The outfits were simple and almost uniform-like, which in turn made them seem elegant and timeless. And given the propensity toward swingy skirts and bare legs, spring is the perfect time to embrace this aesthetic. Once we're able to ditch those extra layers, the goal becomes easy and breezy yet cute at the same time — and that's definitely this decade's forte.

So, which '40s trends are worth welcoming back for spring and summer 2020? Here are six that we can't wait to wear.


Forties Fashion
Miu Miu sweater and skirt. Fleur du Mal bralette. Earrings (from left), Saskia Diez and Anita Berisha. Machete necklace. Falke socks. Church’s loafers. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists

Fashion in the 1940s leaned more toward the feminine side, and a sweet, button-up knit was considered a wardrobe essential. For 2020, give it a sexy spin by leaving a few buttons open on top and letting a lacy bra peek out.

Knee-Length Dresses

Forties Fashion
Prada dress and hat. Mateo earrings. Fendi socks. Church’s loafers. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

We love minis and maxis, but we can't forget the versatility of a dress or skirt that hits right at the knee. Search for an option with a high-neck or even a front-tie detail, which will surely give your look a fun, vintage feel. Feeling daring? Complete your outfit with Bobby socks and loafers for the full effect.


Forties Fashion
Michael Kors Collection pullover, blouse, and shorts. Mateo earrings. Marc Jacobs belt. Socks, stylist’s own. Church’s loafers. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

We're pretty sure this print never goes out of style, but much like it did in the '40s, it's having a moment in 2020. If you're not into mixing prints, balance out the pattern with solid-colored pieces, which will help the look seem subtle rather than loud and in-your-face.

Pencil Skirts

Forties Fashion
Fleur du Mal bralette. Versace skirt. Mateo earrings. Mizuki necklace. Fendi socks. Church’s loafers. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

Once we're all leaving the house again, it'll be hard to think of an occasion where a mid-length pencil skirt wouldn't work. Sure, you can wear them to the office with your best button-down (or the aforementioned cardigan), but a crop top or bralette will transform this staple into something worthy of a night out.


Forties Fashion
Coach cami and skirt. Saskia Diez earring. Fendi socks and slingbacks. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

Clothes that were sexy and scandalous way back when are now the standard in 2020. Embrace the lacy, satin sets from this decade by investing in a top of a similar style. You can wear it with a modest skirt for unexpected mix or throw it on with baggy black pants to create a model-approved outfit.

Double-Breasted Coats

Forties Fashion
Louis Vuitton coat with belt, shirt, brooch, and loafers. Mateo earrings. Socks, stylist’s own. Photo by Steven Pan/Management + Artists.

In search of an outerwear option that will get you through in-between temperatures? Add something structured, belted, and double-breasted to your shopping list. This is an option you can slip on over a suit, style with a dress, or wear it with your go-to pair of jeans — the possibilities are endless.

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