With the start of the war and a strict rationing on fabric, dresses in the 1940s became shorter. Whereas the 1930s featured dresses down to mid calf, the 1940s brought them up to knee length. The war also affected the top of the dress.
1940s Style Women’s Dress and Accesssories | 1940s Fashion for Women
Women’s clothes took on a masculine militant look with the invention of shoulder pads. Every dress, blouse or jacket was fitted with shoulder pads that extended just past the edge of the shoulder. This made for a boxy or square neckline and shoulder angle. Sleeves were often puffed up a bit with gathers at the top and extended down to just above the elbow.