Bomb Girls (2012-2014)

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Bomb Girls is a Canadian TV series (set in Toronto) about various women who work at a munitions factory during World War II. It is complete soap opera, and I loved it! I had watched the first two seasons as they aired, and I just now got to watch last year’s 1.5 hour one-off finale, “Facing the Enemy,” so I’m all re-inspired to share to love.

The lead character is Gladys, daughter of a wealthy family who wants to get involved in the war effort and rebel against her parents, so she gets a job at the factory.  There she meets many working-class women, from Lorna (the older supervisor with a difficult home life, played by Meg Tilly) to Vera (the flightly girl who faces a big challenge) to Betty (the strong independent woman) who falls for sheltered Kate (who’s running away from an abusive family).  The stories follow them into the factory and out as the war complicates their lives. The series does a beautiful job showing the many opportunities and challenges that the war caused for women, plus gives some excellently soap opera-esque storylines to keep you hooked. There’s even some cute boys, including Marco, the Italian-Canadian hunk who works at the factory and is frustrated due to not being able to enlist.

Best of all, the costume designer (Joanne Hansen) did a BRILLIANT job.  Everything from the factory outfits to the street and dress-up wear, hair, makeup, etc., is appropriate to the period.  In particular, they either have a stock of vintage rayon prints or a source for making stunning reproductions, because the women wear dress after dress that makes you go, “WHOA, that is SUCH a 1940’s print!”

"Bomb Girls" Day 12 Photo: Jan Thijs 2013

Nice scarves and lipstick to glam up the workwear!

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There’s lots of scenes outside of work where the girls wear FABULOUS rayon prints.

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Marco (center) is hot.

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Gladys (far right) is the rich girl, so her wardrobe is OTT fabulous.

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More fabulous prints on various ladies, including sheltered Kate (far right). Who, of course, I love in part because she has red hair.

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Both Vera and Marco struggle with some serious stuff, bringing them closer together.

"Bomb Girls" Day 11 Photo: Jan Thijs 2013

Meg Tilly is really good as the older, protective supervisor. Her husband is also on the show Orphan Black, in case you’re a fan.

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Betty (blond in front on the left) is a tomboy, so she’s a fan of the 1940s menswear-inspired styles.

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Another great print on tomboy Betty’s blouse.

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Glamorous Gladys gets some real dress-up occasions where she gets to bust out the serious gowns.

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You can watch all of the episodes of Bomb Girls season 1 and 2 on YouTube. There was also a final, 1.5 hour movie called “Facing the Enemy.” Canadians can watch it on GlobalTV.com. The whole series is currently on Netflix, too.

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

6 Responses

  1. Michael L. McQuown

    A tremendous show. My mother worked in an office and my grandmother ran a rooming house at that time. All the women I knew worked. Any men who were around were either too old to fight, too young to fight, unfit to fight, or necessary to the war effort. I was very small, but I do remember the hairstyles and the snoods as well as some of the prints. I have a better memory of the period covered in Foyle’s War and The Bletchley Circle.

    Reply
  2. Jamie

    This looks amazing. Have you seen it recently on YouTube? I am only finding trailers, not whole episodes.

    Reply
  3. Ginger

    I love the prints and clothes! SO pretty and accurate. I just really wish they’d put the same effort into the hair by bothering to do pin curls. Lorna’s looks right on, but the rest are just too loose and flat on the head. So I just look at the clothes. :)

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