The First World War meant ‘total war’, involving whole nations. Britain experienced full employment as the home population was mobilised in service of the war effort. For many this meant a rise in earnings and for others the chance to draw wages for the first time.
In 1916, the National Savings Committee issued this poster to discourage reckless spending on expensive, ostentatious clothing and implied excess earnings be put to more ‘patriotic’ use through investment in war savings schemes to fund Britain’s spiralling war costs. Today the peremptory manner of the poster seems very old-fashioned and evokes a bygone era in Britain.
Poster reads: To dress extravagantly in war time is worse than bad form it is unpatriotic