The blog post this week is the start of a series that I’m doing for the annual ‘Swing Out To Victory‘ at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. The series will be focusing in on the Home-Front in Canada during WW2. 

Today’s post is about my Eaton’s Catalogue Fall/Winter of 1940-1941 that I picked up at the Toronto Vintage & Antique show last year (Which by the way is back March 5th & 6th). The catalogue was in great shape, considering it’s age and is filled with many wonderful images.

Eatons Catalogue 1940s 1941 Fall Winter

Some background information before we jump in:

What is interesting about this catalogue as you are about to see, is that at the time of the creation of this book Canada has been involved in the war now since Sept of 1939, so we are moving into year 2. However when you look inside the book you would NEVER of know there was a war on expect for some teeny tiny little hints (which I will be showing you).The catalog is filled with furs, silk, every piece of machinery you can find, rubber tires etc. etc. etc.

Why was it like this?

Well after some poking around I found out that Canada did not start coupon rationing till 42′ (we did have in place a system called ‘Honour Rationing‘ at the time of the creation of this book. How Canadian of us), and clothing items like Silk started to be rationed in the later part of 41’ so it would make sense that the Eaton’s catalogue would carry on like it always had because nothing had really changed at this point.

Now onto the images!

Our first grouping of ladies are sporting ‘that better-dressed’ look at an in-expensive price’. I would love the second last dress on the right.


We do stumble upon a mention of the war with the bolero jacket dress description and the interesting colour choice you can have the dresses in called: ‘British Navy’. I’m wondering if it was changed from ‘Navy Blue’ to reflect our British ties?

Eatons Catalogue 1940s 1941 Fall Winter Fashion

The Junior section is always were I tend to see of the cutest dresses like the plaid one on the right. She is ‘Mad for Plaid!’. PLUS you can clearly see the militant look that came into vogue during this time in the 2 dresses on the left.

1940 1941 Women's Fall Winter Dresses

It’s always a treat when the catalogue posts some of their items for sale in colour. Look at those wonderful patterns and dress designs!

1940 1941 Women's Fall Winter Dresses

Oh my…….I would like an order of all 3 please! Once again dress 2 & 3 are in the military style. And their hats are fantastic!

1940 1941 Women's Fall Winter Dresses

As I stated above rationing was not at all in mandatory in Canada, so seeing a full ad for ‘Silk Hose’ was still 100% okay in Canada.

1940s Silk Hosiery Advertisiment in Eatons Catalogue

Your outfits are NOT complete without smart-looking shoes, that are moderately priced.

late 1940, early 1941's womens fall winter shoes from Eatons Catalogue

Even dancing shoes are featured.

1940s women's dance shoes

Lets also not forget that this is the Fall/Winter CANADIAN Catalogue, so take your pick of the warmest, classiest footwear on the block.

late 1940, early 1941's womens fall winter shoes from Eatons Catalogue

And now for most amazing shoe in the book. ‘Sled’ Heels!! Sorry Irregular Choice Eaton’s 1940/41 was here first.

1940, 1941 women's vintage shoe with a cut out in the heel from Eatons catalog

Hats Hats Hats! Here is a small selection of what was posted in the catalog. I’m a huge fan of the ‘Sideliner’.

Late 1940, early 1941 women's fall winter hats

Interesting find alert!, # 4 ‘The Crepe Topper‘. I have honestly never heard of this idea but now that I have, I want one…badly. According to the description below it’s “Finely pleated rayon crepe, encircling the neck and tying about the waist. It allows you to lend variety to a plain dress”. How cool!

Eatons Catalogue 1940s 1941 Fall Winter Clothing for Women

Don’t worry men, Eaton’s has stuff for you as well. Monogrammed ties, that go with any of the shirts featured are perfect for everyday wear.

Late 1940, early 1941 Men's vintage shirts and ties from Eatons Catalog

I love how the men socks below in their vibrant colours and patterns are also very popular right now with the gentlemen of today. Good style never goes OUT of style.

Late 1940s, Early 1941 Men's socks and women's hosiery

Other items you can purchase:

1940s Accordions for sale in Eatons Catalog


Machinery from 1940 Fall winter Eatons Catalog

Fruit necklaces (very popular with the vintage crowd right now).

Early 1941 vintage fruit necklace in Eatons Catalogue

And hair tools for the ladies. This page is always a favorite of mine, especially since I’m into vintage hairstyles and it’s fun to see the items I use today being sold 70+ years earlier.

1940, 1941 women's hair styling accessories from Eatons Catalogue

And that was the last image for this post today.  I will be doing a part 2 soon featuring other catalogues during this time period. Will the Eaton’s Catalogue change as Canada gets deeper into the war, or will it remain the same as we have seen here? Stay tuned!

Question time: Do you have a favorite item featured above? If you do please share.

Liz 🙂






9 comments on “Highlights of a Canadian Eaton’s Catalogue, Fall/Winter 1940-1941”

  1. Canada was full of class! That first dress you mention almost looks like it has rivets from an airplane on it. The buttons did make it look like that military style. I don’t have much use for power tools or an accordion, but those dresses are fabulous. Wish I could wear those hats in public without having people think I was going to perform in a play.

    • Even in the winter, we still keep it classy, yes yes we do 🙂 I will leave the tools to my husband but the accordion, I kind of love. Maybe it’s the German in me 🙂

      I say wear the hats and let people think what they want, you will look awesome and they will be bummed they did not think of that first 🙂

    • I love the accordion photo too! That is why I shared it. Having German roots, I kind of have a soft spot for the instrument 🙂

      Good timing on the documentary too, very cool.

      Liz 🙂

  2. Do you still have this catalogue? I’ve been trying to date a vintage sewing machine that I know came from Eaton’s but I haven’t been able to find an advertisement of one. I wish they had an online archive somewhere. >.<

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