Sunday, 6 January 2013

PipneyJane's Wartime Experiment - Fashion on the Ration

As mentioned in my New Year's Day post, I've been toying with the idea of implementing some type of WW2 wartime experiment.  (I first mentioned the idea in this post back in October.)  So far, what I've decided to do is Fashion on the Ration.   Anyone willing to join me?

The 1941 clothing ration was 66 coupons, which had to cover everything:  underwear, stockings, socks, hats, shoes, skirts, jackets, shirts, trousers, coats, knitting yarn, etc.  The idea behind the ration was that it would enable everyone to buy one new complete outfit per year, nothing more, nothing less. Second hand items were exempt.


 Government announcement in the Times, June 3, 1941

In larger print:

Item Of ClothingWomenGirls
Lined mackintosh or coat over 28"1411
Under 28" short coat or jacket118
Frock, gown or dress of wool118
Frock, gown or dress of other fabric75
Bodice with girls skirt or gym tunic86
Pyjamas86
Divided skirt or skirt75
Nightdress65
Dungarees or overalls64
Blouse, shirt, sports top, cardigan or jumper53
Pair of slippers, boots or shoes53
Other garments including corsets52
Petticoat or slip, cami knickers or combinations43
Apron or pinafore32
Scarf, gloves, mittens or muff22
Stockings per pair21
Ankle socks per pair11
1 yard wool cloth 36"wide33
2 ounces of wool knitting yarn11


Assumptions for the challenge:-
  • 1 metre of fabric equals 1 yard.  No penalty for width.
  • 2 ounces of wool knitting yarn equals 50g of any knitting yarn.
  • Based on the quantity of fabic and work involved, a "corset" is the equivalent of two bras.
  • Ditto one pair of Cami-knickers would equal two pairs of modern bikini-style knickers or thongs.
  • Bodice with skirt = shirt/blouse/t-shirt purchased at the same time as a matching or co-ordinating skirt or trousers = 8 coupons.
  • Dungarees = jeans = 6 coupons.
  • Divided skirt = trousers = 7 coupons.

Examining my wardrobe-crystal-ball for 2013, I know that I'll need to acquire at least the following:-
  1. Underwear.  At 4 coupons a pair of cami-knickers, new underwear will be very expensive.  However, I will argue that one pair of 1940's cami-knickers uses the same fabric as two pairs of modern bikini-style knickers, giving the equivalency of 2 coupons per pair of knickers.  So, lets say I'll buy 5 new pairs at a cost of 10 coupons.
  2. A navy blue suit.  Currently, this is the one thing my work-wardrobe is missing.  The question is: do I make or do I buy?  I reckon I could make an entire suit:  jacket, trousers and skirt with 5 metres of woollen cloth and 3 metres of lining fabric, if I line it. Purchased is 25 coupons while home-made is 24 coupons.  Of course, if I find one in a charity shop, that will be coupons saved.
  3. New loafers.  I get through a pair a year so that's 5 coupons gone.
  4. Ditto another pair of trainers.  Another 5 coupons spent.
So that's 44 or 45 coupons spent before I consider t-shirts, blouses, jeans, knitting yarn, etc.  Hmmm......

- Pam

3 comments:

Meg Gosia said...

How funny that you are embarking on a wartime rationing experiment with respect to your wardrobe. Nik of http://www.littlehouseintown.co.uk/ and I of http://thedoublelifeofmrsm.wordpress.com have also embarked on a Wardrobe Wartime Challenge too. Our decision was driven by environmental/ethical/sustainable reasons so we are making it a little tougher than just the wartime coupon value. By all means take a lot at what we are doing:

http://thedoublelifeofmrsm.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/the-wartime-wardrobe-challenge-sustainable-ethical-explorations/

http://www.littlehouseintown.co.uk/2012/12/introducing-the-wartime-wardrobe-challenge-2013/

I hope you have fun with your challenge. Good luck!

Meg



Meg Gosia said...

How funny that you are embarking on a wartime rationing experiment with respect to your wardrobe. Nik of http://www.littlehouseintown.co.uk/ and I of http://thedoublelifeofmrsm.wordpress.com have also embarked on a Wardrobe Wartime Challenge too. Our decision was driven by environmental/ethical/sustainable reasons so we are making it a little tougher than just the wartime coupon value. By all means take a lot at what we are doing:

http://thedoublelifeofmrsm.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/the-wartime-wardrobe-challenge-sustainable-ethical-explorations/

http://www.littlehouseintown.co.uk/2012/12/introducing-the-wartime-wardrobe-challenge-2013/

I hope you have fun with your challenge. Good luck!

Meg


Mother of Chaos said...

You know my favorite thing about this? The idea of thinking about it in the first place.

I'm honestly having trouble calling to mind what-all I already have, and what-all I'd "need" to replace in my wardrobe. I'm so haphazard with it as a category, so just the idea of having a plan around such purchases is a cool idea to me.