Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts

First Committee Member

Judy Ryerson, Chair

Second Committee Member

Michael Tylo

Third Committee Member

Dana Moran Williams

Graduate Faculty Representative

Lynn Comella

Number of Pages



World War II (hereafter referred to as WWII) is a fascinating era in fashion, society, and politics. The fashion of the era was truly representative of the events happening in the world in a most visible way. This era made indelible marks on future designers and the science of fashion as the world knows it. Fashion and costume design were influenced and changed due to the many limitations presented and imposed by WWII. WWII represents a great marker of change socially, technologically, economically, and politically. While it affected the entire world, the main focus of this thesis will explore the effect of WWII on fashion and costume design on the United States and Britain.

Due to the war-time restrictions of raw materials, as well as bans on some imported materials, man-made fibers were created and popularized. The impact of the war was seen not only in fabric choices but also in the style and silhouette of the clothing. There was a new simplicity seen in women's clothing that required designers and everyday women to tap into their imagination and make the government mandates fashionable.

The silhouette lines of the clothing produced in this period are still found in clothing today, as are the man-made materials which were developed during the war. Because of rationing and unavailability of materials, the differences in social classes were not as visibly noticeable, as the dress and style of all women became similar under government mandates. This was reflected in the style of dress for work, formal events, and on the silver screen in Hollywood. This thesis will prove WWII imposed sociological and aesthetic limitations on fashion in the U.S. and Britain.


California – Hollywood; Communication and the arts; Fashion – History; Great Britain; History of fashion; Rationing; Social sciences; Synthetic fabrics; Synthetic materials; United States; War and society; World War (1939-1945); World War Two


Cultural History | European History | Fashion Design | Industrial and Product Design | United States History

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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