A display showing the creative styles of 1940s wartime Britain kicked off at the Imperial War Museum on 5 March.

The museum describes how the exhibition, Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style, shows how people living during the Second World War found creative ways to make new clothes as rationing took hold in Britain.

Visitors to the display will be able to see handbags designed to hold gas masks and bracelets believed to be made from material recovered from a crashed German aircraft.

The event is being curated by historian Laura Clouting, who said the rationing of clothes led to a surge in innovation and creativity.

"Wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses made from parachute silk became quite popular as well when that material became surplus as well. So, Make-do and Mend [a government campaign] really saw a burst of creativity, but it's important to remember that this was necessary. This was a vital part of wartime life. You could not buy clothes in the way that perhaps some people with more money had been used to before the war. It was vital to look after your clothing," she said.

Other clothing on display includes Siren Suits, which were one-piece items of clothing people could throw on quickly in the middle of the night when the air raid alarms were ringing and you had to make a dash for an air raid shelter.

In a frugal age where the world was at war, clothes had to be practical and long-lasting.

"During the war people had such little choice about clothing really and about so many aspects of their lives. They had to take such great care to buy clothing that would last, whereas today we are much used to buying outfits, to wearing them once or twice and moving on. That would be completely alien, I think, to people during the Second World War coming back today to see how we shop," said Clouting.

The government also pushed for people to make their own clothes with the material that was available to them and gave advice on how to ration during the war with Make-do and Mend pamphlets.

"People were reduced to finding old blankets and turning them into little child's capes. For example, lots of men were away fighting. Their wardrobes - their wives got in their and turned some of their suits into clothing for themselves. There are some more unusual examples of Make-do and Mend, for example made out of RAF silk maps which eventually became surplus and were sold off."

The Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style exhibition runs from 5 March until 31 August 2015.