WWII WWII Rationing

WWII Clothes Rationing In Britain

Following in the footsteps of the British people during WWII and their fight against fashion and clothes rationing.

Some background stuff

At the outbreak of WWII all raw materials were redirected including those required for clothing, the demand for military uniforms was growing at a vast rate and so civilian clothing and the fabrics required for their manufacture was rationed.  Many other fabrics and materials were also redirected, including but not limited to Tarpaulins and Rubber.

Shoe and boot manufactures were under tremendous pressure to produce footwear for the armed services, so much so that even the military suffered shortages, however, it was the civilian population that suffered the most.

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1940 saw a replacement of the earlier service dress by the “Battle dress” or “Utility dress” which was designed and modified to make it more efficient to produce, hidden buttons and pleats replaced with normal buttons on pockets and so forth.

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Almost a quarter of the British population were wearing some form of military uniform by 1940 including the women’s auxiliary forces and uniformed voluntary services.

Clothes Rationing Introduced

On June 1st 1941 the British Government announced the introduction of clothes rationing in an effort to save raw materials and workers for the much needed military clothing production.

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The introduction of clothes rationing ment everyone had a fair shot at getting new clothing, this also aided in the distribution and availability in the shops.

How it Worked

Each adult was allocated with 66 points via a ration book “Coupons” every year for clothing items, when purchasing the shopper would hand over the required coupons “Points value” as well as some money.

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Each type of clothing was allocated “Points value” which varied according to how much material and labour went into its manufacture, examples:

Female Dress    –    11 Coupons

Stockings           –     2 Coupons

Male Shirt          –    8 Coupons

Female Shoes    –    5 Coupons

Men’s Shoes       –    7 Coupons

Make do Mend It

Many people had to make do by altering clothing, mending it and handing down clothes to family members and even friends and neighbours.   The British  Government even started producing posters in an effort to motivate the population.

Make do mand it poster

Clothes rationing ended in Britain on 15th March 1949.

 

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