Finding 1940s Fashion in Denver
Khyentse George, 1940’s Ball Creator, Producing Director, Marketing & PR Director
Khyentse George is the Creator, Producing Director, and Marketing & PR Director for the 1940’s Ball. The 1940’s Ball is a nonprofit organization that produces two annual events, the 1940’s WWII Era Ball and the 1940’s White Christmas Ball. All net proceeds support our veteran heroes and the preservation of aviation history.
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: SlackJaw Photo
This content was created as a sponsorship trade with Denver Style Magazine Contributor. The opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of Denver Style Magazine.
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High maintenance, high glamour and a strong feminine look all highlight the trailblazing styles that paved way for 1950’s fashion. From Joan Crawford to Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Doris Day, the women of the 1940’s put a lot of effort into their personal grooming; there was no running to the grocery store in atheleisure and trucker hats.
The key to achieving the look of the era is to examine all aspects of your look – from makeup, to hair, to clothes, to accessories.
- Start with the makeup. The staple of 1940’s glam was a bold lipstick in a bright red hue. Simple eye makeup followed with a well-defined arched brow and winged eyeliner to complete the looks. Add a bit of powder and a very light blush to smooth the cheeks and you will instantly look as flawless as the starlets of the era.
- Tame the mane. Take your style cues from Gwen Stefani or Dita Von Teese when you approach your hair. If you wear your locks down, try adding loose curls to your ‘do to add a feminine touch. You could even clip one side or half your hair up, to pull the locks out of your face. If you use a smoothing agent or gel you’ll be able to achieve the soft, sleek look of the era. If you are looking for a quicker fix, try a sleek ponytail and loosely curl the ends of your locks.
- Neat and Tailored. From the American Look of the early 1940’s to the New Look introduced by Christian Dior in the 1947, women’s style was always neat and tailored. The American Look was made of more simple, Utilitarian styles, whereas the New Look romanticized women’s fashion with softer, more feminine, and romantic styles. Either way, the key to achieving the look is to keep your entire outfit neat and tailored.
Finding 1940’s fashion in Denver isn’t as hard as it may seem, but you’ll have to look harder than the closest mall. If you’re looking for authentic period attire, a few places to shop, include:
- Regal Vintage, 1866 South Broadway, Denver - This landmark on the Historic South Broadway Antiques Row specializes in vintage clothing for women, men and children with matching accessories from the 1890s to 1990s. Owner, James Elliott, carries an incredible assortment of high-quality, unique and beautiful authentic vintage clothing and accessories.
- Buffalo Exchange, 1813 Pearl Street, Boulder - Boulder’s hippest consignment shop carries everything from today’s latest styles to designer pieces from yesteryear. A sponsor of this year’s Ball, Buffalo Exchange invites you to bring in your used costumes and vintage clothing and exchange it for another, they will give you a 10% discount on your 1940’s WWII Era Ball purchase. Don’t miss them in the Vintage Fair at the Ball as well.
- Birds & Belles, 1113 South Pearl Street, Denver -This buy-sell-trade boutique in west Wash Park is known for its unique and eclectic selections. Mixing and matching vintage with new, owner Kyla DeTienne keeps the shop full of coveted items you’ve been pining for.
- Wear it Again, Sam!, 140 South College Avenue, Fort Collins - This staple northern Colorado boutique is worth the trip to see its incredible assortment of vintage items. Experts in the field of adult costuming for all occasions, this shop will help you find what you’re looking for.
If you want to dress the part, but aren’t concerned if the attire is the real vintage deal or not, check out these stores:
- Theatrical Costumes, Etc., 673 30th Street, Boulder - Recognized as the best costume in Boulder, Theatrical Costumes, Etc. carries everything you need to get the 1940’s look. From dresses to shoes, wigs, makeup and more, this boutique is a one-stop shop for your entire themed look.
- Disguises, 9797 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood - As Denver’s largest retailer and renter of costumes and accessories, Disguises is known for its expansive selection of costumes, props, accessories, makeup, shoes, and more. From glam pin-up girl styles to Rosie the Riveter war-time looks, this is a great time to find your look.
If you’re looking for more inspiration as you put together your golden era look, click here.
The mission of the 1940’s Ball is to create community and cultural connections that cross generations, genres and borders through celebrating the music, dance and culture of the 1940’s. George’s inspiration can be traced back to the 1940’s when her grandparents met at a Pennsylvania radio station (WCDL Carbondale). Her grandmother was a singer and her grandfather became an announcer upon his return from World War II duty. Years later, their love story inspired James’ passionate interest in the culture and music of the era that brought her grandparents together. It was when George was working at the Boulder Airport and earning her pilot’s license that she got the idea to hold an event in the large hangar to celebrate that culture.