Over the span of almost fifty years the British author Mollie Panter-Downes contributed 852 pieces to the New Yorker; this included 153 London Letters during World War II alone. In these Panter-Downes reported on the “everyday” aspects of the British home front experience, including fashion accessories such as the gas-mask case and lipstick. This essay argues that Panter-Downes’s inclusion of these wartime commodities served two purposes. First, she shows how fashion was part of the “total war” culture in Britain, where war equipment (like the gas mask) was sold to British women, but also how a domestic purchase (like lipstick) became a weapon of war. The second and purposely camouflaged result of Panter-Downes’s descriptions of wartime capitalism was to market the war to New Yorker readers to garner American sympathy for, and support of, Britain’s ongoing struggle.

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