The 1940's fashion-conscious woman incorporated in her wardrobe, puffed shoulders made popular in 1931 by Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 - 1973) an Italian fashion designer, regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars.
Actress Joan Crawford pictured above 1904 (some sources list 1905, 1906 or 1908 – May 10, 1977) helped to make the puffed shoulder styles popular when she wore them in the film "Letty Lynton."
After World War II began in 1939, women's fashions became increasingly militarised.
Jackets, coats, and even dresses in particular were influenced by
masculine styles and shoulder pads became bulkier and were positioned at
the top of the shoulder to create a solid look. Soon the style was
universal, found in all garments excepting lingerie but tapering off
later in the decade after the war was over and women yearned for a
softer, more feminine look.
During the late 1940s to about 1951, some dresses featured a soft,
smaller shoulder pad with so little padding as to be barely noticeable.
Its function seems to have been to slightly shape the shoulder line.
By the 1950s and 1960s, small padded shoulder pads appeared only in
women's jackets and coats—not in dresses, knitwear or blouses as they
had previously during the heyday of the early 1940s.
Beauty came at a price for the fashionable 1950's woman. To achieve the perfect 1950's figure, women wore corsets in combination with a bra, girdle or panties.
Pictured above is American actress Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967) sporting bullet bra under sweater. By the way, the bullet bra was also popular in the 1940's.