Trend report: Forties blue

Jenessa Williams

Where did the trend come from?

(images from Escada, Mui Mui and Le City Kitty)

A catch-all term for muted shades that range from duck egg to pale navy, forties blue made a big impact in last season’s shows, thanks in part to a sense of patriotic nostalgia.

As we celebrate 200 years of women’s suffrage in 2018, politicized work wear has become a big talking point, with specific focus on the unsung female heroes of the movement as well as during the two world wars.

Flattering on all skin tones, forties blue has become a tribute to our fore bearers’ uniforms. More mature than a pastel or baby blue, it can be integrated into nearly any outfit, or become the star of the show.

What should I be looking out for?

(From left to right: Topshop Blouse, AndOtherStories Clutch, Weekday Faux Fur, Acne Blazer, H&M T-Shirt, Clarks shoes, Miss Selfridge Necklace, H&M Slip Dress, Miss Selfridge Stud Earrings, Joanie Clothing Dress, Whistles Suede Biker Jacket, Roksanda Belt, H&M Cami Top, Zara Phone Case)

Soft, textured fabrics. Light, breezy chiffons or impossibly soft mohair—whatever your wardrobe requires, a certain air of delicateness is the best way to pull off forties blue.

Steer away from high shine or stiff fabrics just as leather and polyester, and opt instead for buttery suede and high-thread cottons that give that dulled, dusty shade naturally.

Forties dressing naturally came before the era of short hemlines and skimpy fits that we enjoyed so much in the swinging sixties, so the finished look is much more in keeping with the trend if you opt for a longer hemlines.

Midi dresses and tailored trousers are professional and can be easily styled from winter to spring.

How should I style this trend?

(Outfit 1: Topshop Blouse, Weekday Culottes, Dolce & Gabbana Bag, H&M Boots : Outfit 2: Orla Kiely Knit, MIH Jeans, Marks & Spencer Boots : Outfit 3: Zara Dress, Primark Leggings, River Island Coat, ASOS Shoes, Marte Frisnes Earrings)

Tap into the uniform element of this trend by opting for blue from head to toe. Floral motifs work well as homage to the era of the land girl, modernized with ankle boots, oversized earrings and brocade detailing.

If matchy-matchy isn’t your style, this particular shade of blue works particularly well with rust or burgundy tones. Mix eras by pairing a forties top with a seventies flare, or keep it casual with a soft coat thrown over a more laid-back outfit.

For a real finishing touch, look to your cosmetics—an icy blue eyeliner is particularly flattering on warm skin tones and a welcome alternative to a smoky eye.

Where can I get this look?

(From left to right: Joanie Jumper, Topshop Bag, Weekday Bomber Jacket, Hobbs Heels, Miss Selfridge Blouse, Oliver Bonas Necklace, Zara Trousers, Solid&Striped Swimsuit, Le Coq Sportif Trainers, Whistles Pumps, H&M Silk Dress, Miss Selfridge Wrap Jumper, H&M Tracksuit, Oliver Bonas Earrings)

The likes of Miu Miu, Celine and Fendi all made it a staple of their AW17 colour palette, with some beautiful investment pieces to be found online.

Net-A-Porter and Matches Fashion both provide a one-stop-hub that allows you to browse high end brands by colour, ideal for finding your perfect shade of blue.

If your budget is a little more modest, the Scandinavian brands are providing the best value for money on the high street with this trend.

H&M and Weekday in particular hold a versatile collection of work and gym wear in timeless styles and shapes, while Monki also offers some great basics.