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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Everyday Life

Clothing and Fashion

By Liz Arthur

Advertisement Glasgow was the fashion centre of Scotland by 1914 and despite the First World War fashion continued to develop. In its aftermath more middle class women were earning their own income and their more active lifestyle required practical clothing. By the 1920s dresses were looser with shorter skirts and simple necklines and the introduction of rayon made outfits easier to care for.

Afternoon Dress c 1934 Perhaps the most significant development was the expansion of retail chain stores, such as Marks & Spencer and C & A, supplying cheap mass-produced fashion, while the Scottish Co-operative Society provided dividend schemes to clothe the family. More exclusively establishments such as Murielle's in Sauchiehall Street stocked fashions from Paris and London drawing customers from all over Scotland.

Tennis Courts There were various influences on fashion including sport, more people participating in active pursuits such as tennis, golf, swimming, cycling and rambling. Cinemas and dance halls became popular in the 1930s with Hollywood exerting a potent fashion influence.

Advertisement Austerity followed the outbreak of war in 1939 and to cope with scarcity the Government introduced clothes rationing in June 1941. Although styles, colours, fabrics and trimmings were severely restricted, department stores such as Copland & Lye continued to promote their latest styles and the local press carried fashion hints on how to improve drab outfits. The introduction of the "New Look" in 1947 brought a welcome breath of glamour to those who gazed at the new style in shop windows, but fashion choice did not improve for most people until the 1950s.

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