Book Club met last week, the evening before Halloween (Halloween Eve? Can you have an eve of an eve?). The book selection was "War Brides" by Helen Bryan, a novel set in Britain during WWII. My next door neighbor CL and I decided to really get into the spirit of both the book and Halloween by dressing in costume for the meeting. CL was a Land Girl and I was "making do".
Both of us composed our costumes from items that were either thrifted or already in our closets. In my case, the outfit was both from my closet and thrifted. I must say that CL was far more comfortable in her get-up than I was in mine! In order for that dress to stay buttoned, my strongest Spanx-like undergarment was required. Sadly, that meant I could not eat very much of the delicious food provided by our hostess. Drinking a glass of wine wasn't an issue, though!
A Land Girl was a young lady who worked on farms, providing food for the troops. She put in long days of hard labor, serving her country and earning a bit of a living. Her everyday uniform was very similar to CL's costume above: sturdy boots, heavy sweater and brown pants. Usually a cowboy-style hat was worn, but a scarf tied over the hair was also an option.
The shirt dress was simple and serviceable, although the dresses worn in that era had fuller skirts than the one I wore. (I was "making do" with what I had!) Menswear inspired oxfords echoed the practicality of the outfit. The "Victory Roll" was a popular hairstyle, and while my hair really is too short to do a proper Victory Roll, I did the best I could and used a ton of hairspray! Nylons were in short supply since the material was needed for military use, so if a girl didn't have any stockings, she created the illusion by staining her legs and drawing a "seam" up the back of her legs with coal. I didn't stain my legs, but did have CL use eyeliner to draw the lines for me.
We had fun dressing up in our book-inspired outfits, and we certainly enjoyed reading the book. Historical fiction is my personal favorite genre of reading; I have learned more about the past from reading such books than I ever absorbed in school.