I like both periods, 1940s and 1950s but if it's about this book definitively I'd buy "the 1950s look" only.
The 1940s part I already described HERE.
There's so many chapters and details. Men, gloves, belts, cases, children, teenagers... too many to show in one post. That's why I recommend to buy this book!
...and skip 1940s.
The book starts with so famous 'New Look' by Dior from 1947.
Of course everyone knows two main directions: pencil and wide skirts.
In the book you can find description how to make your own swing skirt.
There are two kinds of coat which I really like with pencil skirts.
This 'bum - freezer' jacket looks like the one worn by Elisabeth Taylor in 'What's my line' show. And she looked fabulous !
The main point of this figure look was underwear. Specially designed undergarments gave you what's the most important. Tiny waist and perfect uplifted breasts closed in bullet bras. Without the whole engineering it wouldn't be possible.
The ultimate solution is obviously a corset. And it always works.
However shaping underwear is really hard to find. Charnos looks good and bras fit perfectly but there's not much of shaping. What Katie Did has great bullet bras! stockings! and some corsets! but shapewear... Charnos doesn't even pretend it's shaping but What Katie Did is trying without any significant effect. 6 straps belts are really good but waspies press you everywhere but not in the waist.
I'll never shop there for shapewear any more.
Accidentally I've found Valisere and their, already sold out, Body Perfection:
- shorts with adjustable, elasticated waist
- and suspender/waspie which is constructed in such an amazing way!
It presses only where it should so you will never look like a sausage with your clothes on which is quite possible in What Katie Did.
When you put two together... it's like a gentle corset in your waist.
...and about going to the toilette then...well, I admit it's not so easy but still possible.
Now when I think about it... it's like a totally different skill which you need to eventually improve.
Perhaps somewhere it's possible to find it. If you know where!! Let me know!!
I have few belts and shorts in beige and black but I would get more.
I've never tried but the belt has detachable straps so I assume it's possible to work on your waist without stockings. But who would like to do that?
I have no idea how was it possible that Marilyn Monroe looked like this!
You can't see any corset marks. Nothing.
Knit wear created The Sweater Girl look achieved by using special bra - kind of bullet bra.