I love dresses. I really love dresses. They're an instant outfit - you're co-ordinated without even having to open your eyes, and yet it somehow makes it look as though you made a real effort. But the thing is, dresses don't offer the range of stylistic possibilities that separates provide (which of course is why I'm currently obsessed with sewing skirts, and I'm planning a number of blouses too).
At a time of rationing it was especially important that each garment worked hard to earn its place in one's wardrobe, so it was a chief consideration that every item could do double duty. This feature from 1945 neatly demonstrates how two ensembles can take you from morning to evening:
Wear the suit alone - the jacket buttoned up - and you have a jumper suit. Take off the jacket and add our enchantingly pretty blouse (it has a matching camisole) and you could go to any party. An evening date? Switch the coloured skirt for the black one and you are "dressed". If you want a morning outfit put the coloured jacket of the suit with the black skirt and, without spending another penny, you have got another ensemble.
The same theme is picked up again in a 1949 article, extolling the virtues and versatility of a simple full skirt (it recommends light wool, "black would be most useful").
This three-in-one outfit will see you through any festive holiday occasion and - those of you who are going away - your luggage will be lighter than you thought.
For morning, a sweater or jersey blouse ("the carefully casual collar and batwing sleeves are very up-to-the-minute"). Pair it with a dainty blouse for afternoon (or Christmas tea). Worn with an off-the-shoulder or strapless number it even makes a stylish evening dress.