Posted by Megan
I have a deep love for themed birthday parties. Especially those that have earlier decades as the theme. My family and I love throwing these kinds of parties. I will be doing a blog post for each of the recent themed parties we’ve thrown but this particular post is about my 1940s / World War II themed birthday party last year.
It was a real production. We took care to make sure the decor, the costumes, the hair, the lingo, the dance steps were accurate to the time and we had an absolute blast. We built a dance floor in the backyard so that there could be dancing at the party. As a ballroom dance teacher, I loved having a chance to swing the night away!
I’ve always loved the ’40s as an era – the style is unmatched in my opinion. I used to pore over the pictures of my grandmother and her sisters and friends in their dresses, suits and gloves from that time. The red lips, the victory rolls, the feminine dresses which cinched at the waist and flowed out over the hips (and offer the perfect amount of twirl on the dance floor) – it is all just so romantic and pretty.
I spent quite a bit of time searching for my dress. I looked at local consignment shops, department stores, costume stores. But I didn’t find what I was looking for until I looked on Unique Vintage. I found them to have the best selection of 1940s dresses. The dresses had the authentic cut, necklines and skirt that I was looking for. I ordered a few dresses because I didn’t know how they would fit. The sizes do vary from dress to dress as they come from different makers. These are the three I ordered:
I went back and forth a million times trying to decide as I loved them all. In the end I chose number three because it fit me the best and I loved the neckline (I will show it from the front below). I gave the first one to my sister and she wore that one to the party and I unfortunately had to return the purple one as it was too big in the waist. The style of it also felt a bit more like the 1950s to me than the ’40s. So with the dress chosen, I went on to choose accessories.
Finding the right, authentic looking shoes was harder than I expected it to be. After an exhaustive search, I found the perfect pair and ordered them online through DSW. I loved them and they thankfully fit perfectly when they arrived. I’ve since worn them many times to teach dance and they have worked well for that as well. They were comfortable and completely looked the part.
I picked up some earrings and flowers for my hair at Kohl’s and Claire’s Accessories respectively and the outfit was complete.
I also had to pick up some makeup – false eyelashes and some eye shadow. I watched a fantastic tutorial on 1940s hair and makeup by Zabena. She has been extremely helpful for a number of decade parties we’ve had. You can see the ’40s makeup tutorial by her at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy7SjCCLWWI
My finished makeup and hair.
We included USO themes to the decor and since my birthday happens to be right after the 4th of July, there was a plethora of patriotic decorations to choose from in the stores at that time. Perfect timing!
My mom and I designed and assembled the photo booth. Everyone had so much fun posing there. We spent close to two hours doing just that!
After the pictures, we had some great food and then ice cream cake (since childhood I’ve always had ice cream cake for my birthday cake 🙂 )
And then we danced. I taught some swing steps to the group and most everyone joined in. We danced as the sun set and then well after into the evening.
The party was a dream from beginning to end – an early summer’s dream. It truly felt like we’d been transported to another time. I already have ideas for my next 1940s themed party! You can watch the party video I put together – it is linked at the top of this post.