United Service Organisation a voluntary force which was formed after the horrifying World War I was a platform which was supported by several leading entertainers like Rita Hayworth, Lena Horne and Lana Turner who provided their services to this gallantry organisation and were the birds who tried to charm the troops of USO with a mission to lessen their load and effects of the war.
The costumes used by these ladies were based on the need of the time which called for “rationing” as the world was facing the horror of World War II and at the same time were equally glamorous too. Read on for a sneak peek into the fashion back then.
The World War II Effect
World as it was fighting its second most heinous war saw a lot of rationing in all fields. The nylon which was earlier used for women stockings and material used to make girdles was rather being used to provide military with certain supplies. Even the rationing of the shoes was also on cards, this stands example to levels of severity.
Each woman of US was just allowed three pairs whereas women in Britain were meeting their demands with just one pair of shoes. Even the entertainers who presided the troop camps in the evening wore these minimalistic USO costumes. None of the extravaganza, feathers and beads of the early Hollywood was seen rather these simple wardrobes too appealed to the troops and were glamorous too.
Influence Of Army On Fashion
Lana Turner’s movie “Keep Your Powder Dry” which put the use of army costumes tuned to feminine tastes on the fashion map of the world. This movie portrayed Turner as girl from a rich family who joins the army and wears military garb as necessary part of discipline there.
The tan coloured uniform of the army was converted into a more fitting and sexier outfit for these beauties of Hollywood to entertain the troops. Several singers wore Khaki shirts teamed with pencil skirts while entertaining the audience. Army hats usually adorned the heads of these beauties.
Navy Pattern Costumes
The navy theme was a favourite among USO costumes. Stripes of navy blue along with white graced wonderful frocks which had buttons on the centre. Sailor’s collar also added to the look of several feminine costumes. Capped sleeves were another addition adopted from naval uniforms with hemlines reaching the knee level. Usually these costumes were teamed with a sailors’ hat of white colour.
The Pin-up Look
The pin-up girl of 1940s was a scantily dressed vixen who was an invention of 1930s but became famous in 1940s. Soldiers would decorate their tents and barracks with pictures of such women creating icons. The costume of the same was seen in conjunction with USO costumes as both were symbols of sex in those times.
Several actresses of Hollywood like Susan Hayward, Carmen Miranda and Betty Grable had pictures with this image. 1940s needed fun and laughter in times of toil and hard war and the USO costume provided this.