Monday, 31 May 2010

Wardrobe Woe

In these days of bargain filled clothes stores where you can pick up three t-shirts for under £5 or a pair of shoes for not much more, most people have an awful lot of clothes. Thanks to the handy invention of child labour, women up and down the country can wail "I have nothing to wear" in front of increasingly bulging wardrobes.

Pictured below is Minna Reid of Rousay's clothing card which ran out on the 31st of May 1942.

On the reverse of the card, there is a list of the number of tokens needed for each item of clothing. When this rationing was sneakily introduced (the original clothing rations were initially labelled 'margarine' to prevent shops being inundated) in 1941, the amount of coupons per adult, per year was 66. This meant that over the course of an entire year, a woman could buy only one coat, one dress, one blouse, one jumper, one skirt, pajamas, one pair of shoes, a scarf, a pair of gloves and but two pairs of pants.

The different colours of tickets were, again, to stop people exchanging all their tokens at once. You could not use a colour until it had been announced by the government.

In 1942, the annual allowance of coupons was cut to 48 so it's not unreasonable to assume that most people spent their war years either knickerless or constantly rinsing out their drawers.

Reference: D1/979/1

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