Clothes rationing began on June 1, 1941, two years after food rationing started. Clothes rationing ended on 15 March 1949. They were rationed because there was a shortage of materials to make the clothes. People were also urged to ‘Make do and Mend’ so that clothing factories and workers could be used to make items, such as parachutes and uniforms, needed in the battle against Germany.
Everyone was given a Clothing Book with coloured coupons. Every item of clothing was given a value in coupons. To buy clothes people handed over their clothing book to the shop keeper who cut out one of the coupons. Then they handed over the money to the shop keeper to pay for their clothes. The coupon system allowed people to buy one completely new set of clothes once a year.