While the rest of Europe was gripped by World War II, Spain was struggling to recover from the devastation of its Civil War.
Textiles were in short supply, and the fabrics available were rough and of poor quality. Hard times meant sober, simple clothing, often of quasi-military style, with sharps angles, shoulder pads, and belted waists. Necklines were high, and hems low. Winter colours were black, grey and brown, and in summer navy blue and white was used. The height of elegance in these times was a black suit relieved by a lighter-coloured mantilla.
Department stores began to appear in the cities, and they offered ready-made clothes, but most of the stock was run up from recycled fabrics by dressmakers and even housewives, using patterns from contemporany magazines, chiefly French ones, or imitating the clothing seen in popular movies.