New York Women From the Early 1940s

Written By bryanboy

New York Women From the Early 1940s

Wow. Just wow. I found these beautiful photos of women in New York taken in 1942 by Life magazine. I must admit my level of interest with the present and the future is much greater than my interest with the past but I don’t mind winding the clocks back from time to time to be inspired.

Women outside Saks Fifth Avenue

Isn’t it incredible how chic women were back then? Fascinating how they dressed up to the nines with full-on, head-to-toe looks. These aren’t fashion models but random women photographed
on street-level — window shopping, walking their dogs, chatting to
their friends on the street.

Click click click to see more.

Two women standing on the sidewalk of Fifth Avenue just outside Saks.

Two friends looking at the windows of Bergdorf Goodman.

Bergdorf Goodman

And yes, they’re looking at the shoes!

Bergdorf Goodman window display

The same women outside Bergdorf at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 58th street.

Fifth Avenue corner West 58th Street

What I want to know is whether the mannequin on the right is a man or a woman. The head indicates it’s a male mannequin with the cropped hair but I see a skirt and a pair of high heels.

Here’s the chicest dog walker I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Woman you better WERQ those poodles like there’s no such thing as Paris Hilton and Tinkerbell.

Woman walking her poodles


Just another fine day on East 54th street with the girls and their furs…

Look, don’t touch! This lady is contemplating which candy to get.

Amazing, no?

Those were the days…

photo credit: life


  1. Gee,they are so glamorous! Very Dita von Teese-ish,this would´ve been my time to live.Could´ve worn my jaguar coat without any worries LOL


  3. yep. “everyday” women actually used to DRESS (yes, in all caps lol)

  4. janinius_nyc

    OMG! Are those CHOCOLATES in the last shot?!?!
    Chocolate boutique shopping in my best fur and my best hat! Wow would just die!

  5. That’s so cool! My grandma actually told me one day that she used to dress up ‘back in the day’ when she went shopping. Fur, heels, hat, stockings, everything! And then she commented on how she sees people wearing pajama bottoms to go shopping hahaha

  6. Reminds me of Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
    New York Women are the VOGUEST on earth..

  7. Amazing photos. Women back then really took the time to look beautiful. Plus, they had the time too! Nowadays, a 24 hour day is not even enough!

  8. These photos are the reason why sometimes I wish I lived in those days, where you don’t have to explain why you are so made up!

  9. All Women Stalker

    Women in the early 40s are so dressed up all the time… so glamorous.. so fabulous

  10. Oh America was great until we because unnecessarily lazy. Its bleak here now and sad, most people are lucky to even go shopping let alone purchase even decent clothing these days.

  11. Divalicious

    That was right after the great depression, low funds doesn’t excuse going out in PJ bottoms and slippers, face not washed, and dragon breath, come on. There are cheap cute stuff at a lot of stores and goodwill, just wash press and wear it- there are NO EXCUSES.
    It’s just people have become really lazy and dirty they don’t bother with basics, throw on a sundress and flats takes less time then squeezing into jeans and sneakers. Men are guilty too, pull your dang pants up, wear pants that actually fit and aren’t all wrinkled up. It’s not dressed up to look clean and look like you actually like yourself, dress like trash you get treated like it. People knew that back in the day.

  12. Divalicious

    Agreed, if they feel threatened or like your doing too much it’s on them, they shouldn’t start asking you where you’re going, or why you’re sooo dressed up-they should step their game up.

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