Denim War Woman -The Women in Denim during World War II in the US
During World War II, the US government decided to include women in the war effort. Patriotism was used as a lever recruitment to attract women into the labor industrial and military.
To urge the female audience, launched large-scale promotional campaigns encouraging women to enter the world of work, to take the places that had been left by the men went to war; were called to work in the factories of weapons, aircraft, tanks, and were also educated on driving and use of these.
· They were defined WOW (Women Ordenance War)
About three million women worked in industrial plants of war, two were clothing styles adopted by them: The overalls or dungarees style “Rosie the Riveter” (a fictional character used for promotional campaigns) and the suits mermaid.
Rosie the Riveter overalls
Coveralls and overalls style “Rosi the Riveter” were usually made of blue denim or heavy cotton canvas in brown, beige or blue. The suits were buttoned up the middle to allow the front to get inside even dressed. Often had chest pockets to hold pens and small tools inside the overalls were characterized by a harness, two shoulder straps that held the pants that were called pants style apron. Large pockets or patch pocket on the front legs also to provide another place to hold things. They were usually worn with a long-sleeved shirt in cotton under. Both shirt sleeves and pants wrists were tied tight around her wrists and ankles to avoid that can catch in heavy machinery.
Lee was the first to create the overalls, which then was called Bill Overall: denim fabric was 8 ounces and had the bib and braces, first fixed and then adjustable. In this time of war a few details changed, to avoid waste of raw materials: the buttons of flap were reduced to three and metal products shoddy, the copper rivets disappeared and was abolished pocket watch, removed the flaps of the pockets, the martingale and all the stitching on the back pockets.
During these years, almost the whole of American textile production was converted to war purposes. The Blue Bell (now Wrangler) who was producer of workwear, put their facilities available to the ‘Army, Navy and Air Force, arriving to pack oletre 24 million garments: denim pants, flight suits, uniforms, jackets. So even Levis Strauss and Lee.
Coveralls or ’siren suits’ were used for another use during the war. Made of soft flannel or chambray, was worn over a pair of pajamas or a nightgown, if necessary you could dress up quickly during an air raid. They had the zipper in the front to make it easy to wear. Tight around the ankle and, equipped with a cap to cover the hair. Hooded capes and coats were a cover-up even faster by air raids.
But not only, the women were employed, as volunteers, in the military corps: WAAC (Woman Army Auxiliary Corps) formed May 15, 1942 and will be in:
· The US Navy first began to recruit female sailors called WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. The number of women in the Navy reached a peak of 86,000 in July 1945, from less than 4,000 in 1942.
· USMCWR (Unitaded States Marine corps Women’s Reserve)
· SPARS (Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard)
· WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots)
· ANC (Army Nurse Corps)
· NNC (Navy Nurse Corps)
· PHS (Public Health Service)
· ARC (American Red Cros)