What-ho chums, there is a definite late 30s early 40s vibe to this spring's fashion, and Jane and Beryl are that happy breed of WOACA who love a little vintage inspired clobber. At last, a genuine trend a gal can wear with confidence. Something a la mode, in which ta-tas and bums can be commodiously accommodated. Chin chin, darlings and bottoms up. 

Trousers House of Foxy £79 (still available) Jacket Somerset by Alice Termperley £150
 (last summer) Blouse Indi and Cold £45, espadrilles Phase Eight £79 (still available)

During the war coats and jackets were restricted by regulation L-85, which curtailed the use of excessive fabric, and limited the number of pockets to two. Beryl's pink jacket has a nipped in waist and square shoulder pads, a look borrowed from men's uniforms of the time. Beryl has pinched the colour inspiration from Elsa Schiaparelli who had shown a shocking pink gown in Paris in 1937. 

 The joy of modern dressing with a vintage twist, is that you can borrow anything that suits your figure, but there is absolutely no compulsion to recreate the look authentically, as this tends to tip over into fancy dress. Beryl's trousers are cut from an original 1940's pattern, but are made in an up to date fabric. These do come with a slight health warning, the high waisted thing can give a WOACA a bit of an unwelcome tummy. Nothing to do with the consumption of cakes and crisps whatsoever.  

Blouse £32, Jacket £65, both this season's River Island
What a beautiful colour, thinks Jane (that's modern dyes for you, says Beryl, cynically) as she dons this flattering blouse - and it is definitely a blouse. Its princess line seam smooths out her commodious stomach (although on reflection, perhaps the neckline is a tad too decoletee - more on this next week). At least its not made out of tea towels as her mother's blouses were by her seamstress granny, circa 1942.  She has paired it with another nipped in jacket with added shoulder paddage for that 40s feel.

One Hundred Stars £75
Beryl is currently on an unprincipled spending spree mostly because she is cross with him indoors Funny how that happens. There is nothing more complicated than the female psyche, when it comes to purchasing justifications.

  So on a recent visit to her friend's lovely 1930s villa in Southend on Sea, she felt compelled to buy this dressing gown, not to mention the Saint candy-striped blouse £45. Her plan is to wear this house-coat with a white maxi dress or white linen trousers. Jane is a little concerned that people will think Beryl has just wandered into the street in a confused manner in her jim-jams, (where is her carer?) rather than making a 1930s inspired fashion reference. 

Scarf £45, Free/Quent trousers £49.95, pumps Victoria £39, Nice Things cotton knit £85,
all from Spirit Devizes    
Mmm, these trousers are scrumptious. Stripes AND wide legs, what more could Jane ask for? She didn't buy, although the price was reasonable, as there was an issue with hip wings - that bit of extra fabric both Jane and Beryl get on the hips as their waists are too big - proportionally speaking, natch.

Blouse £55, trousers £90 both King Louis

Marvellously this trend involves actual tailored clothes, not baby-grow fabric masquerading as grown up outer-wear. These are proper trousers with side buttons and blouses with bust darts. Bust dartsthe very words thrill our fashionistas. These King Louis trousers were a fabulous fit, but depressingly Beryl had to wear a larger size than normal. Remember if this occurs, It is always the fault of the garment, not your lovely body. 

Jane is very over excited by this dress from Ghost. After some years in the doldrums, Jane's favourite brand seems to be back on form and these tea dresses are the sort of go anywhere kit that should be somewhere in every WOACA's wardrobe. Coming in at £160 they are not the cheapest of their type, but will certainly have built in longevity (Jane's first Ghost purchase more than 25 years ago is still worn and admired - you can't say fairer than that).

Jane and Beryl are slightly obsessed by wide trousers at present, and these River Island ones (£46) are very wide and in a nice 1930s orange. On the down side they have paper bag tops which Beryl is trying to obscure with her hands. What are these all about? Few WOACAs, Jane and Beryl find, need extra fabric folding in the waist area. The blouse (£30) has that charming retro vibe they seek, but is so low that Beryl will be arrested by the ARP Warden and sirens will go off, if she attempts to wear it in the street.

Jacket Top Shop £49, trousers £42, T-shirt £10

GI Jane - wasn't she an actual character somewhere in the war? All this Top Shop kit is easy wearing at its most fashionable but ties in neatly with Jane and Beryl's theme this week. And bizarrely, Jane felt quite young and hip although she was wearing kit that is hard to place on a fashion continuum.


Ok, everyone can relax, Beryl is not getting this Weill dress, 1940s inspired or otherwise, because it costs a whopping £470. It is not even made from the underbellies of unicorns, but just cotton. Why are 1940s shapes so chic and enduring you might ask? Mostly because the exigencies of a wartime economy demanded that clothes were simple, well cut and constructed to last.  

Sunglasses 1950s originals £38, cardi M&S via the charity shop, £7, blouse,
The Seamstress of Bloomsbury £39.99, trousers M&S £45.99, plimsolls £3, Primark

In these eco-conscious days, they tell us that the best thing is not to buy anything at all that is new and shiny, but keep going with what we've got until it falls to pieces: if you must buy, then make it secondhand. Taking this to heart, Jane tries her best with what she can find in her wardrobe: the only new item she has on her back are the black plimsolls which are almost exact copies of those her father is wearing in a photo circa 1946 and therefore she has let them stand.

With huge thanks to Beryl's lovely friend Gill, for the loan of her beautiful house as a backdrop. They met aged 18 at Uni, and have spent many happy hours together pursuing their shared passion for all things vintage. Cheerio, tat-ta for now. 

Next Week: Jane and Beryl explore necklines

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