Wartime trench essentials reach into women’s fashions

Advert for ladies' wear in the form of a rubber, trench-style Mackintosh and 'reducing' underwear at John Noble in Manchester from New Illustrated magazine

Advert for ladies’ wear in the form of a rubber, trench-style Mackintosh and ‘reducing’ corset at John Noble in Manchester from New Illustrated magazine

This semi-display advert from New Illustrated magazine in 1919 shows two fashions for women from John Noble, garment manufacturers, in Manchester. At the top is the ‘Penarth’, a black rubber Mackintosh coat in the ‘popular Trench style’, showing how military influence reached from the trenches of the First World War even into women’s fashions.

In contrast to this practical wartime rubber coat – or perhaps not once you read the details – is the lacey-looking woman’s corset. The lower image of the ‘JN Reducing’ shows a corset made of coutille, a close-woven canvas that was used for mattresses and pillows, and for making stays. Added to the garment is a low-slung belt to give ‘ample support’. In addition, the corset boasts a ’13-inch, wedge-shaped double busk’, this being a strip of rigid material, such as wood, whalebone or steel, passed down the front of the corset to stiffen and support it. All that – and four suspenders – for 12/6 (12 shillings and 6 pence – 62.5p in modern coinage).

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One Response to “Wartime trench essentials reach into women’s fashions”

  1. A happy end to a magazine | Magforum Says:

    […] depression set in as the economy struggled to switch from wartime to peacetime thinking with millions of demobbed troops looking for work. So the start of 1920 saw another relaunch in […]

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