Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 306

XY2081_sourcewear_UK_001 3/9/12 4:15 PM TK_UK

XY2081_sourcewear_UK_SP_002-003 3/9/12 4:15 PM TK_UK

Published in 2012 by Laurence King Publishing Ltd

361373 City Road
London EC1V 1LR
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7841 6900
Fax: +44 20 7841 6910
e-mail: enquiries@laurenceking.com

text 2012 Doug Gunn, Roy Luckett and Josh Sims

This book was produced by Laurence King Publishing Ltd, London
Doug Gunn, Roy Luckett and Josh Sims have asserted their right
under the Copyright, Designs, and Patent Act 1988, to be identied
as the Authors of this Work.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced

or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval
system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-1-85669-883-2

All photographs by Nic Shonfeld /www.nicshonfeld.com

Design: Studio8 Design

Senior editor: Peter Jones
Printed in China
XY2081_sourcewear_UK_SP_002-003 3/9/12 4:15 PM TK_UK


Introduction 6


University boxing blazer 14 Hussars tunic 108 Tweed jacket and waistcoat 210
College blazer 16 Boer War keepsakes 110 Three-piece suit 212
School rowing blazer 20 Royal Navy grouping 112 Farmers corduroy work trousers 214
Utility rugby shirt 22 Duffel coat 116 Buckle-back work trousers 216
Cable-knit sports sweater 23 Stokers pants 118 Peasants boro jacket 220
Sports blazer and cap 24 Foul weather deck coat 119 Sapeurs-pompiers uniforms 222
Racing coveralls 26 Foul weather suit 120 Work jacket 226
Driving gloves 28 Anorak 122 Spanish postal workers tunic 228
Driving jacket 30 Ursula suits 124 Denim sailors smock 230
Double-breasted motorcycle jacket 31 Military-issue motorcycle suit 128 Sailors smock and jacket 232
Motorcycle suit 32 Despatch riders jacket 130 Fearnought smock and jacket 236
Aviation jacket 36 Paratroopers smock 132 Donkey jacket 238
Phantom racing jacket 38 Paratrooper jump jacket 134 Work jacket 239
Trialmaster motorcycle jacket 40 Paratroopers Denison smock 136 Railway conductors jacket 240
International motorcycle jacket 42 C-1 survival vest 138 Leather work vest 242
Motorcycle trousers 44 Aviators kit bag 140 Horsehide work jacket 244
Trialmaster motorcycle jacket 46 B-15 flight jacket 142 Firemans jacket 246
Sporting club top 48 Sidcot flight suit 144 Expedition parka for USARP 250
Car club jacket 50 Buoyancy suit 146 Riding boots 252
Sailing coat 52 Escape and evasion boots 150 Metal workers jacket 255
Mountaineering smock 54 Pilots suit and accoutrements 151 Ammunition workers canvas overshoes 256
Norfolk jacket 56 Pressure jerkin 154 Foul weather smock 258
Alpine walking suit 58 B-7 sheepskin flight jacket 156 Fishermans sweater 260
Skiing trousers 60 D-2 mechanics parka 158 Brown denim work jacket 262
Mountain pack 62 Pilots Channel jacket 160 Metal workers jacket 264
Walking smock 64 Cold weather parka 162 Merchant navy trousers 266
Mountain jacket 66 Military snow parka 166 Patched denim chore jacket 268
Solway zipper walking jacket 68 Mountain parka 168 Denim waistcoat 270
Hunting coat 70 Mountain jacket 172 Work jacket 272
Gentlemans walking coat 72 Snow parka 174 Denim work jacket 273
Hunting jackets 74 Prisoner trousers and boots 176 Railroad jacket 274
Canvas hunting jacket 78 HBT POW grouping 178 Blanket-lined chore jacket 276
Fishing jacket 80 Summer uniform 179 Denim ranch jacket 278
Game bag 82 Tropical uniforms 180 Work jacket 280
Hunting parka 84 Jeep coat 184 Riders letter wallet 282
Sportsmans hunting coat 86 Smock and trousers 186 Miners work belt 284
Hunting trousers 90 Windproof camo smock and Workers belt 285
Hunting jackets 92 combat trousers 190 Buckle-back work trousers 286
College sports jacket 96 Camo tank suit 192 Salt and pepper overalls 288
Varsity jacket 98 Chindits sweater 194 Bonedry loggers boots 290
Hockey club jacket 100 M1934 water-repellent jacket 195 Denim work trousers 294
Native American US varsity jacket 102 Mackinaw jeep coat 196 Denim work bibs 296
Officers trench coat 198
Despatch riders coat 200
B3 flying suit and boots 202 Index 300
Military greatcoat 204 Acknowledgements 304
he Vintage Showroom is one of the worlds

T leading dealers in vintage menswear and

The Menswear Sourcebook is a collection of
some 150 of their pieces. The London-based
company was established in 2007 but has already
built a prestigious archive, elements of which it hires
out and sometimes sells to the design teams behind
some of the biggest names in fashion. These brands
find inspiration in the design details the way a collar
is shaped here, the way a buckle is set there in the
fabrications, even simply in the mood of a garment.
Many are highly evocative of a bygone time historic
artifacts as much as pieces of clothing. Increasingly,
The Vintage Showroom is asked to help brands
organize their own archives the vintage garments of
the future.
Vintage as a clothing category is widely
misunderstood as representing simply the old. This is
why younger generations will regard any clothing from
as recently as ten years ago as vintage, all the more so
since vintage has become a fashion in its own right.
Not so for the curators of The Vintage Showroom: it is
rare that a piece in their collection is not both at least
50 years old and a benchmark example of its kind.
Many are hard to find, now that history has taken its toll
and old clothes have been lost, destroyed, fashionably
customized (which for The Vintage Showroom
amounts to the same thing) or recycled. More than
that, many are one-offs coveted by those companies
who perhaps should but do not have examples in
their own archives or have been improved by their
wearers in order to meet some need or circumstance
unseen by the manufacturer. These are the pieces that
The Vintage Showrooms founders Douglas Gunn and
Roy Luckett spend many months of the year trawling
through dilapidated barns, warehouses and outhouses
all around the world to uncover.
Every vintage clothing collection has its leanings,
and The Vintage Showroom is no exception. Gunn
and Luckett favour those pieces with some technical
or design pedigree functionality before fashion.
Consequently it leans heavily towards items of deliberate

utility: sportswear, workwear and military clothing, the
three areas expressed in the three chapters of this
book. For each of these areas clothing had to be fit-
for-purpose, an ethos that has permeated menswear
design more broadly throughout the twentieth century
and into the twenty-first. Men tend to like their clothes
to be functional, with style following from that. The
garments in this book may belong to the era of
Gunn and Lucketts grandfathers, or even their great-
grandfathers, yet they are recognizable templates for
what is worn today.
Without becoming a victim of nostalgia, there is,
of course, a class and a quality to menswear of the
1960s and earlier that is hard to find today. In part
that is because the economics of mass manufacturing
do not allow for investment in considered design
or acceptable pricing. In part it is because the attire
of some professions and activities have come to be
dominated by overtly technical clothing no doubt
superior in function if not in aesthetics. And in some
small part it is because of a lack of pride in appearance:
cheap, everyday casualwear seems enough for most
men today.
Small wonder that Gunn and Luckett, and other
often fanatical enthusiasts of vintage clothing, feel
there is also a romance in this choice of vintage
menswear in the adventurousness of sporting,
working and even fighting men that is less apparent
in the todays clothing, not even in the rapidly growing
vintage reproduction market that seeks to tap into this
romance. A garment that has lived is not the same as
one that merely looks as though it has: patina is more
than superficial, more than physical.
The Vintage Showroom might well have selected
a different 150 garments for this book. There was just
an indefinable something about these that made them
stand out at the time. Many of them have since been
sold into private collections (and parting is such sweet
sorrow), possibly not to see daylight again. Others Gunn
and Luckett say they will never part with. But they keep
hunting too. Theyre going to need a bigger studio.


ooking at todays sportsmen and women, you everyday setting. Not that speciality design did not play

L might imagine that science and technology were

as much part of their performance as training and
talent all the futuristic materials that go to make
their clothing and footwear. There was a time when
sport, however, was a more genteel affair, practised
a part: many of the leisure pursuits before World War II
were almost ancient rituals: hunting, for example, for
which a stout, thornproof, dirt-hiding fabric was
basically all that was needed, such as the deep, rich
cord of the archives French jackets or the ochre yellow
largely by the well-to-do if only because leisure of the American jackets. Even with wind and
required money and for which dress was as much waterproofing held at a premium for the outdoors life,
a matter of codes and class distinction as their everyday what passed for technical fabrics in the early decades
attire. Indeed, the clothes were little more than of the twentieth century were no more complex than
readily-identifiable alternatives to weekend wear waxed cottons, and the patina these have taken on over
cricket sweaters rather than argyle ones, flannels rather the years is as alluring as the changes in well-worn
than worsted wool trousers, a striped boating blazer to denim or butter-soft leather. But many leisure pursuits
show ones elite education rather than the plain kind were new ones, based around then newfangled
one might wear to ones club. Even the most extreme of machines: aviation and motorcycling pioneers
activities still conducted by gentlemen amateurs approached tailors and outfitters for suitable clothing,
entailed simply the wearing of more rugged versions of cut to allow the right ease of movement, protective
what one might wear for the country: George Mallory, where it was required, with pockets in the right place.
the British climber who died in his attempt to climb Many of these garments among those featured were
Everest in 1924, wore no more than several layers and the fore-runners of styles that would later become
heavy tweeds. standards in the male wardrobe. But what such
This is the era of sports and leisure clothing that garments always seemed to maintain, unlike military or
The Vintage Showroom collection celebrates: those workwear pieces, was a certain timeless elegance.
clothes that, while clearly designated for sports, barely Those pieces selected here from The Vintage Showroom
looked out of place (at least to todays eyes) in a more collection aim to show as much.
Castell & Son A boating blazer might conjure up ideas of Below: This style of covered
button in contrasting colour blocks
student life at the elite universities during
to match the cloth of the jacket
the early twentieth century. Indeed, such was frequently seen in sporting
boating stripes can still be seen worn by blazers from the 1930s.
boxing the rowing competitors and spectators of
blazer Henley Regatta, a major annual event on
the British social calendar, and around
1930s the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
This makes sense; after all, the blazer
derives from naval uniforms. It was reputed to be the invention of one
Captain Wilmott of the British Navy ship HMS Blazer, when he was
under pressure to smarten up his crew in readiness for inspection by
the newly crowned Queen Victoria. The blazer is based on a sailors
short, double-breasted reefer-style jacket.
This blazer goes against expectations, however. Look closely, and
the raised silk embroidery on the breast pocket (see below) indicates
not crossed oars but a pair of boxing gloves. This boxing blazer is a
reminder of a time when the sport was as much an upper-class pursuit
as a working-class one pugilism as a noble activity for gentlemen
and also of a time when the blazer denoted membership more than the
wearers style.
The blazer would have been worn by an Oxford Blue an
undergraduate hailed as a local hero for his sporting achievement, for
which he was awarded a full blue and granted entitlement to wear
just such a garment. He (most definitely a he) was probably a member
of the universitys Amateur Boxing Club, which was founded in 1881
and remains the UKs oldest student boxing club (these days it admits
women, too). Castell & Son of Oxford still run the varsity shop and are
official suppliers of such specialist garments.

sicut lilium

college blazer

This blazer from Magdalen College,

Oxford University (motto: sicut lilium;
like the lily), dates from 1949. It is
typical of clothing made in the austerity
era: while the jacket is only half-lined,
the more expensive materials have
been used on the exterior. The body
is made from broadcloth, with lapel,
pockets and cuffs given a grosgrain (silk)
detail both would have been rare and
expensive fabrics of the time. Despite
this, the blazer was made under the
CC41 label, representing the controlled
commodity scheme introduced by the
British government in late 1941. This had
been a way of controlling the amount of
fabric, thread and buttons used in clothing
design in a bid to conserve raw materials
for the war effort; it continued for a few
years after the war.

bespoke This classic, three-button
rowing blazer with
school Rowing contrasting white piping
and notched lapels
BLAZER would not have been
worn for actual rowing
1940s but instead would have
been put on after racing
for the presentation of cups or medals. The competitor
passes found in the pockets (see below) suggest that
the blazer was used in the summer of 1948 but, given
its near pristine condition, perhaps not beyond this one
season. Made of wool but unlined, it was light enough
for summer wear and would have been worn with white
cotton trousers. The white eagle embroidered onto the
pocket is the emblem of Bedford School Rowing Club.

BELOW: The original competitor

enclosure passes found in the
pocket from two different regattas
in the south of England, both still
run today.

CC41 Although sports clothing This rugby shirt shows the distinctive CC41 label discontinued only as late as 1952. By then the distinctive
might have been considered on its hem. As part of the scheme, the government CC41 label designed by Reginald Shipp had become
UTILITY inessential during a battle
for survival, the British
took control of the import of all raw materials, fabrics,
and so on; clothing manufacturers were encouraged
far more common in Great Britiain than any fashion label.
The white eagle emblem on the chest is the same
RUGBY government extended its to produce longer runs of more basic, hard-wearing as that on the pocket of the rowing blazer on page 20.
SHIRT CC41 scheme (see pages
1617) of World War II
uniform-like garments in which no decorative excess
(such as long tails on shirts, or turn-ups on trousers)
1940s and in the years following was allowed. Prices were also controlled, comprising in
the war to sports clothes, part a money value and in part a clothing coupon value,
with football shirts and cricket whites subject to strict these coupons having been issued to consumers by the
maufacturing controls equal to those for more essential government through a tightly regulated programme. The
work clothes and civilian uniforms. scheme, which was later also applied to furniture, was

Harrods From todays viewpoint, to the sweatshirt in the US. It would have been just as heavy wool, it has a degree of natural water-repellency
this sweater machine- commonly worn for tennis, golf this was before the (it is able to absorb some 30 per cent of its own weight
Cable-knit made and hand-finished
during the mid-1950s
Prince of Wales favoured a short-sleeved version and
made that the fashionable choice. The cable-knit was even
before it begins to feel wet to the touch), while the
natural fibres offer a degree of breathability ideal for any
sports for Harrods, the London worn for bob-sledding: the sweater came to be the warm strenuous activity. Of course, for colder climates or more
sweater department store would
be called a cricket sweater,
layer of choice for the daredevils throwing themselves at
50 miles per hour down the 514 deadly feet of the Cresta
sedentary sporting activities fly-fishing or deep fielding
in cricket wools insulating properties help keep its
Mid-1950s so synonymous with the Run in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Indeed, the sweater may wearer warm.
sport has the cable-knit have its origins in fishing, the cable knit believed to be
pattern and deep V-neck with coloured border become. symbolic of the strength of fishermens ropes.
But until the post-World War II period, the design was Like the sweatshirt, the cricket or sports sweater
regarded as a general-purpose sports garment, akin is more functional than it might at first appear. Made of

bespoke This British sports jacket
was typical of the first
SPORTS BLAZER decade of the twentieth
century, with its distinctive
& CAP high break, scalloped-
edge hem, and four-button
closure taking its cue from
traditional horse-and-hound hunting jackets. The ticket
pocket especially is expressive of a dandyish element
creeping in from mainstream menswear to the sportswear
of the time.
Following the end of World War I, the Edwardian
look was revived by young men of all social classes in
Britain, with Guards officers and working-class men alike
adopting the tapered trousers, brash waistcoats and the
long, lean, high-buttoning jackets. This phenomenon was
one of the first instances of fashion revivalism, as well as
the first time in which it became acceptable for British
men to take particular interest in their appearance.
In the early 1950s, a less precise take on the
Edwardian style gave rise to one of the first teenage
subcultures. The so-called Teddy Boys (named after
a 1953 edition of the Daily Express newspaper headline
that shortened Edward to Teddy) combined the
influence of US rock n roll with an exaggerated take on
Edwardian menswear. The look was characterized by
expensive tailor-made drape jackets, brocade waistcoats
and drainpipe trousers.



These cotton coveralls were made in

Britain during the 1950s with factory
work in mind. Their practicality and,
when made in white, dash soon came to
be adopted by the playboy motor-racing
drivers of the period, among them Stirling
Moss, Graham Hill and Juan Manuel
Fangio. Each of these helped to make the
British racing tracks of the period the
likes of Brooklands and Silverstone
The utility and style of coveralls had
already been spotted by Britains wartime
prime minister, Winston Churchill; his
siren suit was essentially a zip-front
version of the coveralls, donned in a
hurry over clothing or nightwear before
entering an air-raid shelter. Although
Churchill and members of his family had
worn such suits since the 1930s (they
called them rompers), the coveralls
became a wartime sartorial signature for
the PM. The dapper Churchill had several
siren suits made in other fabrics, among
them red velvet.


Much as the English leather driving
coat shown overleaf features a double-
buttoning front for extra protection, these
sealskin driving gloves, also dating from
the 1920s, follow a similar, clever logic,
with the gloves sliding into a mitten-
type pouch and providing additional
warmth to the fingers. This arrangement
also allowed the driver greater dexterity
without removing his gloves entirely.
Since the 1840s, sealskin had seen
a steady growth in popularity hats,
scarves, cloaks, boots, the first parkas
(based on the traditional Inuit garment),
sporrans and even dolls were all made
from the skin, with trade between Alaska,
Canada and western Russia booming
thanks to the steam mechanization and
increased sophistication of sealing vessels.

unknown brand

driving jacket

This early 1920s leather driving coat was

almost certainly an expensive item in its
day, since motoring was then still more a
hobby for a wealthy minority than a mass
pursuit. The coat lacks the protection of
a high collar as it would have been worn
with a thick scarf or, for motorcyclists,
perhaps a helmet (although these did not
become widespread until after 1935, when
the death in a motorcycle accident of T.E.
Lawrence a.k.a Lawrence of Arabia
brought widespread consideration of
safety issues).
The seemingly plain coat is not
without its detail: the button front has
a second leather flap, for example, to
prevent wind or rain entering at the front,
while a press-stud fastening at the hem
allows the coat to expand or contract
depending on the ideal driving or
riding position.

unknown brand


This English, custom-made leather

jacket dates from the 1920s when hobby
motorcycling was in its infancy. It sets a
benchmark for subsequent biker jackets,
though this one buttons up, lacking the
signature asymmetric zip of later models.
The hobby of motorcycling soon became
a craze and manufacturers rushed to cater
for it, each vying to create the definitive
article and many basing their designs on
hunting jackets of the period a fact seen
in the pocket positioning of this example.
It stretches the idea to say that these
makers liked to romantically compare
the motorbike to a trusty steed, but early
bikers did tend to wear jodhpurs too, if
only because they were easy to wear tall
boots with. This jacket, with its fleeced
cotton lining, flapped pockets, hand-
sewn buttonholes and horn buttons may
lack any of the double-layered leather
or safety features of later jackets, but its
cropped style (allowing a crouched riding
position), waist belt adjuster and elegant
proportions make it much classier.

James grose Specialist clothing typically
requires specialist rather
Motorcycle than mainstream fashion
design. So, when London-
suit based company James
Grose Ltd established
1930s in 1876 and at one point
declaring itself to be the
worlds largest sports store created a motorcycle suit
in the 1930s, it was given the credibility it needed. The
suit was designed for the company by racers themselves,
who were best placed to know what would and would
not work, and by the end of the decade was approved by
the Auto Cycle Union.
Founded in 1903 as the Auto-Cycle Club, with
the intention of developing motorsports through clubs,
the ACU (renamed such in 1907) was enjoying boom
times during this era. The motorcycle had been used to
such good effect during World War I that peacetime saw
a rapid increase in leisure riding. Some 18,000 members
joined in the six months after World War I alone, sparking
a new market for civilian clothing in which to ride.
James Grose, selling under its brand name
Jagrose, developed not only effective jackets and
cropped trousers, but distinctive ones, with the shoulder,
elbow, hip and knee quilting effect shown here becoming
a signature. This tight-fitting jacket has a woollen inner
part that buttons into the same in the trousers to provide
top-to-toe insulation beneath the leather cocoon.

RIGHT: Squared, reinforced padding
for protection give the suit a
distinctive look unique at the time
to the manufacturer James Grose.

RIGHT: Typical of motorcycle jackets
of the period, this was to be worn
tight on the chest and tucked into
the trousers of the suit almost
like a shirt.

Abbey Leather The label shows what looks to be a
bearded pipe-smoking shepherd, but
aviation also proclaims Abbey Leather, the British
manufacturer of this 1940s sports jacket,
jacket to be a producer of motor & aviation
equipment. Certainly civilian and some
1940s private flying continued during World War
II, which would have necessitated the
necessary kit. However, fuel shortages made such flying rare, possibly
dating this jacket to the postwar years. Its similarity to leather jacket
designs for military pilots, especially those of the US Army Air Force, is
clear. Of course, the jacket could have been used for various activities,
whether motorcycling, riding or other outdoorsman pursuits.
One unusual design detail of the jacket is its side-adjustors: rather
than simply pulling the jacket in at their placing, on this jacket they are
attached to an elastic belt that runs along the full waistline at the back,
making for a snug fit.

LEWIS LEATHERS The biker jacket had long been a fashion D. Lewis Ltd. had been in business since 1892 as a pioneering ABOVE: The jacket has double-
staple by the time this Lewis Leathers maker of clothing for early motorists and aviators; for this latter market buckle cinch straps at the waist

and a caf racer-style round collar.
Phantom model was created in the 1970s. it even introduced its own Aviakit brand. By the 1950s, it had entered the
The famed Perfecto model had been biker clothing market with styles that defined the ton up boys of the era
racing jacket developed by Schott for a Harley Davidson also the British Rockers so stylistically and culturally opposed to the
dealer during the 1930s; it reached scooter-riding and army-surplus parka-wearing Mods. Two decades on,
1970s iconic status and sealed its rebellious the company was reinventing the biker jacket in the most obvious way
image thanks to Marlon Brandos misfit by producing it not in the standard black or dark brown, but in bold
wearing one in the 1953 film The Wild One. Although specialist pieces had hues. In 1972, one catalogue proclaimed the colourful world of Lewis
been designed for riding before, this became the benchmark for biker Leathers. This heralded a brash new look for motorcyclists, although it
jackets, especially in the US. In the UK, however, Lewis Leathers was proved to be just an interlude in fashion terms before punk rock made
devising a more European feel more fitted, longer and more blouson black the biker jacket colour of choice once more.
in style.

BELSTAFF The Barbour Internationals the company specialized in outdoorsy friction-, wind- BELOW: The ghost of the original
bright red colour can be seen
arch-rival in motorcycling and waterproof garments (although its logo, a Phoenix
around the stitching of the
circles has long been the rising, did so from a fire rather than a muddy field). Later reinforcements on the arms.
Belstaff Trialmaster. Today such garments resulted from experiments with rubber
motorcycle the jacket has four patch coatings. This led to Belstaffs successful Black Prince
jacket pockets, but initially it
shared the same drunk
clothing line, including the companys first motorcycle
jacket, and the waxing of cottons, the use of natural oils
1960s left breast pocket, and was giving the fabric greater water-resistance while retaining
distinguishable only be its breathability.
being slightly longer in the body and by a few minor Like Barbours International jacket, the Trialmaster
details. More distinctive perhaps was Belstaffs readiness too won a stamp of approval from many professional
to use colour: this jacket, although now broken down motorcyclists, chiefly of the 1950s and 1960s. The
with time and use to a shade of maroon-black, was once champion trials rider Sammy Miller wore the jacket for
a bold red. many of his record 1,250 victories. Adding to its later
Like Barbour, Belstaff grew out of a business appeal for some was the fact that the revolutionary
built around the development of early technical fabrics. Ernesto Che Guevara wore this jacket for his legendary
Established in 1924 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, motorcycle ride across South America.
England, by Eli Belovitch and his son Harry Grosberg,

BARBOUR Few specialist clothing designs
can be said to have been adapted
International for use by the military and then
to have found life with civilians
motorcycle jacket again. Perhaps one of the most
successful examples is Barbours
1950s International trials jacket.
The Barbour company was
founded by John Barbour in South Shields, north-east England in 1894.
He built a drapery business specializing in boiler suits, painters jackets
and oilskins for the shipbuilders, sailors and fishermen of the local
coastal towns, and later the farming community too. It was a hobby of
John Barbours son Malcolm that saw the company build a motorcycling
range during the 1930s more or less exclusively kitting out the British
International motor-racing team from 1936 onwards. One such design
was adapted to make the Ursula suit for submariners during World War
II, initially as a private order, and later as an official piece of wartime kit
(see pages 12427).
Adapted slightly further, the jacket part of the suit found a third
life with motorcyclists again from 1947. The jackets profile rose through
the 1950s and 1960s thanks to its use by most of the riders at the UKs
Six Days Trial international motocross competition, as well as by keen
cross-country biker and Hollywood actor Steve McQueen. The 1st
Pattern civilian jacket, as with this example still referred to as the
Barbour Suit in its labelling and only later coming to be known as the
International used the small-gauge, lightning zip of the Ursula and the
moleskin-lined eagle collar. Later models replaced the zip with a larger
lightning pull, the collar lining with corduroy, and the plain interior lining
with what would become Barbours signature tartan.



Belstaffs extended interest in producing

motorcycle clothing the Trialmaster is
reputed to be the best-selling motorcycle
jacket of all time and readiness to
explore colour resulted in such pieces as
these motocross over-trousers. They are
made of red waxed cotton and feature
stress points at the crotch, seat and
knees, all having an additional layer of
white leather.

LEFT: The trousers are unused

ordeadstock, complete with
theoriginal labels and ticketing.


motorcycle JACKET

Like the red Belstaff Trialmaster jacket

featured on pages 4041, this leaf-
green 1960s version has darkened and
broken down over the years to create a
camouflage effect. The waxed cotton is
hard to clean and the jacket would be
repeatedly caked in dirt, so such pieces,
like denim, gradually take on a unique
look of their own. The checked cotton
lining has a green, horizontal stripe that
matches the green of the outer shell.

Dura Craft

sporting club toP


This simple sports shirt dating from the

1930s and made by Dura Craft of New
York represents an early example of
two developments in textiles science
coming together. It is made of rayon, the
semi-synthetic cellulose fibre. Although
first developed as an artificial silk as early
as 1855, rayon only became widespread
during the 1930s, when experiments with
broken waste rayon revealed that the
filament fibre could also be used as a
staple fibre. This greatly increased its
commercial potential, and gave rise to the
popularity of the Hawaiian shirt during
the period.
The lettering and picture on the
chest is flocked, a process developed
in the early 1920s by the Knickerbocker
Knitting Company (also known as
Champion) for use on sweatshirts; it was
only later applied to other textiles.

champion This is a simple, zip-up jacket with Rebuilding and boosting cars for feats of both spectacle and speed
fish-eye buttons at the cuffs and a short often 1930s Ford Model Ts, As and Bs, stripped of extraneous parts,
CAR CLUB collar. What it signifies, however, is so
much more. The hand-embroidered,
engines tuned or replaced, tyres beefed up for better traction and a show-
stopping paint job as the final touch became an issue of social status
JACKET chain-stitched imagery on its back places among hod-roddings participants; a status expressed through clothing
it squarely in the 1950s, at the height too. There were the hot-rodders of the 1930s, when car modification
1950s of the hot-rodding craze in the US. for racing across the dry lakes of California was more an innovative
Hot-rodding was said to have been driven sport than a subculture, complete with the Southern California Timing
by young men returning from service abroad after World War II who Association of 1937 providing official sanction. But by the 1950s, hot-
had technical knowledge, time on their hands, and the habit of spending rodding was a style too. A decade later it was, as many niche tastes are,
long days in male, if not macho, company. commercialized and mainstream, with car design showing hot-rod traits.



Made of hi-vis rubberized cotton, with a

corduroy-lined collar and armpit breathing
holes for comfort, a single-breasted but
deeply overlapping storm flap for the front
fastening, throat latch and elasticated
sleeve innards for protection, and even a
whistle at the neck should the wearer fall
overboard, this 1960s sailing coat was
designed for serious deep-sea conditions.

unknown brand

Reminiscent of the parkas designed for
the US and German elite mountain troops
of World War II (see the examples in the
Military chapter), this 1950s smock too
pulls over the head and would have been
worn over full mountaineering kit of the
time, which mostly comprised layers
of hardwearing natural fibres. A key
difference, of course, is the colour, the
burnt red being devised to attract attention
rather than to offer camouflage. The small
envelope pocket would most likely have
held basic rations, allowing eating on
the go without having to remove any
heavy pack.

F.A. Stone & Sons The Norfolk jacket was, as
the British trade journal
NORFOLK The Tailor & Cutter put it
in 1888, especially suited
JACKET for bicycling, business,
fishing, pleasuring and the
1950s moorland. It was, in other
words, tailorings answer
to the stout walking boot, typically made of a hardy
cloth, like tweed, high-buttoning to afford protection,
with tough leather buttons, deep bellows pockets and
with a characteristic buttoning belt, fed through two box
pleats down the facing of the jacket and down the back.
Shoulder patches and a poachers pocket were often also
found on the style.
The jacket sometimes called the Norfolk shirt
is said to take its name from the fifteenth Duke of Norfolk.
Its practicality was originally designed for Rifle Corp of
the Volunteer Movement in 1859. The jacket was soon
taken up in civilian life or, more typically, that of the
well-to-do for stalking or sport shooting, with pleating
allowing the easy raising of the arm to fire.
The patronage of the garment by royalty
specifically the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, who
had a residence in Norfolk ensured that it became a
staple of the active male wardrobe of the time, even
for boys, and internationally: in early twentieth-century
Germany, for example, boys would be dressed in the
Norfolkanzug. The Norfolk jackets popularity was
influential in introducing the idea of men wearing
trousers that did not match the jacket (as was standard
in suiting).
This particular example was actually made in
Norfolk by tailors F. A. Stone & Sons of Norwich and
Savile Row, London.

above: Distinctive, one-button

working cuff with handstitched
button holes.

LEFT: The belt is held in to the back

of the jacket by long pleats down
the back panel.

Bespoke Although smart and well-
tailored to modern eyes,
ALPINE this two-piece grey self-
stripe suit was bespoke-
WALKING SUIT made during the 1940s
specifically for rambling
1940s or hill walking. It has
multiple deep pockets
(with flap fastening to secure all contents); a collar
buttoning to the neck; the use of a thornproof, water-
resistant fabric; and trousers lacing from the calf, the
better to tuck into high walking boots or to go under
thick socks.
This slightly Tyrolean style would also have
been worn for skiing at this time. Indeed, from the
late 1930s (and from later still in the US), Alpine-
style clothing remained highly fashionable; German
and Austrian companies such as Lanz of Salzburg,
makers of traditional folk costumes, had an established
international export business from 1935.


SKiing trousers

Probably dating from the late 1930s,

these ski trousers in heavy wool with
flap pockets, braces buttons and integral
fabric belt would have been among the
first items of clothing designed specifically
for the sport. Until 1936, something of a
boom year for interest in skiing, skiers
would have worn warm layers and a
ragtag assemblage of riding breeches,
heavy work boots and gaiters. These were
replaced by dedicated short gabardine
jackets that were warm, tough, and easy
to move in; fitted sweaters (often with a
regional Austrian or Norwegian theme);
and specialist loose, tapered trousers in
dark colours (the better to hide soiling)
such as these.
There was a short window for the
style such was the sports popularity
that by the late 1940s it had increasingly
become the subject of fashion whimsy
and technical advances. The likes of the
Sun Valley Ski Clothing Company in the
US introduced more streamlined styles,
with 1952 seeing the first stretch-fabric
ski clothing, designed by the Bogner
company of Germany.

unknown brand


This French mountain pack from the late

1950s was less for serious climbs than for
rambling or exploring the countryside.
It is big enough to carry provisions and
spare clothing for the day, but not so big
as to be cumbersome. The distinctive red
canvas is reinforced in leather at all stress
points, including the base. The opening
has an innovative closure system: the
shoulder straps themselves bring the
fabric together, and a leather latch and
stud keep the gathering tight.

thor Made in Britain during the 1950s, this BELOW: Distinctive button-
downcentral map pocket
typical mountain anorak would have been
designed for the growing postwar interest
in rambling and the great outdoors, in an
SMOCK era when holidays abroad remained rare
and austerity measures made them less
1950s likely still.
This jacket, by Thor (named after
the Norse god associated with thunderstorms, oak trees and fertility) is
made from Ventile (see page 167). It has been gently waxed to provide
additional waterproofing. The anorak is close in design to the traditional
original a short Inuit garment made from fish-oil-coated caribou
or sealskin and designed to protect from the damp and windchill of
wide-open Arctic regions, it was worn pulled over the head, with hood
attached and cinched waist and cuffs.

grenfell for Harrods When Walter Haythorn-thwaite,
owner of a mill in Lancashire,
mountain jacket attended a lecture by Wilfred
Thomasen Grenfell in 1922, he
1950s did not expect to leave with a
challenge. Grenfell had led a
pioneering medical mission to the most inhospitable Arctic parts of the
Labradorean coast and was giving forth on the lack of available clothing
for the missions needs. It had to be light, strong, weatherproof and
windproof. And above all it must allow body moisture to escape, he said.
It was just not on the market.
Haythornthwaite, owner of Haythornthwaite & Sons, put his
business to resolving this. After a year of experimentation, he produced
what he called Grenfell cloth permeable enough to breath, but dense
enough to keep out the elements; so dense, in fact, that the looms had
to be strengthened to weave it and special methods developed to dye
it. Grenfell himself was rather pleased with the result and adopted it for
future missions. It was, he expounded, light, durable, very fine-looking
a boon to us.
It was a boon to others, too. By the 1930s, Grenfell cloth was
the choice of the decades explorer-aviators, used by pioneering aviator
Amelia Earhart; by the US Navys Admiral Bryd, for his ground-breaking
flight over the South Pole in 1931; by Charles Kingsford-Smith, for his
Pacific crossing; and by Jim and Amy Mollison for their Atlantic crossing.
The racing driver Stirling Moss and other heroes of the sport had suits
made from the cloth, as did Malcolm and Donald Campbell during their
land- and water-speed record attempts during the 1930s and 1960s.
Many everyday outdoors people benefited too. This walking
jacket, made for Harrods, features a foldaway hood, a chin strap and
reinforced shoulders to take the weight of any backpack. It is made of
two layers of Grenfell cloth to make it doubly protective.

BARBOUR The British brand J. Barbour It was not until the 1930s, however, that, after two years of ABOVE: Early Barbours of South
& Sons did not invent waxed development by Barbour and other companies, a waxed cotton Shields label used prior to the

Solway Zipper
company receiving the first of the
cotton the process of was produced that neither stiffened nor yellowed with time. A new three royal appointments which it
waterproofing fabrics with generation of comfortable, attractive and functional clothing made from
walking jacket
now holds.
oils and waxes pre-dates it was possible, including motorcycle gear prior to World War II and,
the company founded in following the experimentation in design and manufacturer encouraged
1950s 1894, possibly by millennia by demands of the conflict, many other styles.
if the treating of skins this way is taken into account. British clippers of This Barbour Solway Zipper of the 1950s was one such item.
the late eighteenth century used oiled flax sails (pioneered by Scottish In keeping with Barbours manufacturing practice of the time, the coat
sailmaker Francis Webster), and later, in order to save weight, waxed would have been lined with one of the proprietary tartans the company
cotton sails. Indeed, the methods for producing such sails did not differ wove itself, and would have been made by one machinist from start to
much from that used by Barbour to produce waxed cotton items under finished garment, including the waxing of the thread used to stitch the
its Beacon brand when the company was launched. coat together.

bespoke The red hunting jacket is characteristic of
a bygone age in Britain, when fox hunts
hunting COAT were a common countryside sight. As part
of an ancient, if controversial, tradition,
1950s the jacket is replete with symbolism.
Often referred to as pinques or pinks
(it is said after the tailor who originally designed the jacket, though
this may be more folklore than fact), the jackets red or scarlet colour
is an echo of royal livery from the time of Henry II, who first decreed
fox-hunting a royal sport.
Only Masters of the Hunt, hunt staff and those who have received
their hunt button given by Masters for long service to the hunt are
entitled to wear the red jacket. All other participants wear a navy or black
one with plain black buttons, or, if under 18, a jacket in tweed (known
among fox-hunters as the ratcatcher, the look also traditionally worn by
all for hunts taking place outside of the season). The five brass buttons
on this jacket shown left reversed with its Tattersall check lining, also
a signature style of these jackets denotes that it was worn by horseman
or a whipper-in, as hunt staff are known. Four buttons would denote
a hunt master.


walking coat

Burberry may be better known for

creating the trench coat an adaptation
of its officers coat commissioned by the
British War Office in 1914 but their macs
have become staples of the menswear
wardrobe too. This is the most popular
model, being a direct descendant of Mr.
Thomas Burberrys original design, as a
1950s newspaper ad for this style of coat
has it. Cut on classic lines, it is suitable
for all occasions. It has a Panteen collar,
fly front, buttoning pockets and back vent
sleeves with a strap and button. All seams
are overlapped and stitched. The check
lining can be of wool, cotton or Union.
But, for all the salesmanship, the mac has
been celebrated more for its simplicity
it is effectively, a loose-fitting waterproof
outer layer. It is waterproof especially
if made of gabardine, a hard-wearing,
water-resistant, breathable fabric made
by treating the yarn before weaving and
popularized by Burberry from 1880. The
functionality of Burberrys early clothing
was recognized beyond civilian life by
more than the army: Roald Amundsen,
the first man to reach the South Pole
in 1911, was outfitted by the company,
Ernest Shackleton and his team on their
expedition of Antarctica in 1914 wore
Burberry too, as did George Mallory in
his fatal attempt to climb Mount Everest
in 1924.

LEFT: Though now known for
its house check, Burberry used
variousdfferent tartans and
checksfor its linings in the early
part of the twentieth century.

unknown BRAND


French hunting jackets of the 1920s

through to the 1950s are among the most
distinctive of sporting jacket designs,
combining practicality with panache.
After all, no function is served by the
characteristic outsized, originally painted
steel buttons, embossed with fanciful
impressions of hunt quarry rabbits, wild
boars, deers and the hunters friend, his
dog, all typically feature. In addition, the
fit is often tailored to suit the strenuous
nature of the activity. On the other hand,
the multiple pockets, including a lined
game bag at the rear, the belted cuffs,
and the high-buttoning front all make for
a suitable garment in terms of protection
and storage.
The fabric is pique or coutil, as it
is known in France; this is a dry, extra-
strong variant of corduroy with a flatter
nap, also commonly used for French
hunting and work trousers, not to mention
to hold boning in place in corsetry. This
fabric was able to withstand hard wear
and contact with tough undergrowth alike.

left: The poachers pocket at the ABOVE: These jackets typically
back of the jacket shown here feature pressed metal buttons
on the right of the image could embossed with animal motifs
be accessed from either side by to keep to the hunting theme
the button-down, scalloped-edge commonly wolf, boar, hound,
opening. It allowed the hunter to or stag.
store small game (or sandwiches).

the motorist In contrast to the more
typical cord hunting jackets
CANVAS (see previous pages),
this more elegant, 1920s
HUNTING summer-weight hunting
JACKET jacket was designed by
a gentlemens outfitters
1920s and sporting goods shop
in Paris, namely the
long-defunct Motorist, which no doubt also catered to
the drivers of the newfangled four-wheeled horseless
carriages. A more upmarket, lighter-weight and lighter-
coloured version, this rarer example has been tailored
in pale, unlined cotton canvas. As is characteristic of
pre-war hunting clothes from France, the distinctive
brass buttons feature the hunters prey. The jacket also
has an unusual arm gusset to allow maximum freedom
of arm movement (see below right).

unknown brand This canvas fishing jacket
from the 1940s owes its
FISHING JACKET unusual if characteristic
shape to the needs of the
1940s sport for which it was
specifically designed. The
severe cropping allows the jacket to be worn with high
waders, while the deep breast pockets provide as much
room as the jacket allows for flies and other equipment
without the need for a pack or returning to the riverbank.
One additional pocket on the sleeve means that the
fisherman can, with practice, retrieve an item while
keeping both hands close together on the fishing rod. In
its original state, it is likely that the canvas would have
been gently waxed to provide some water repellency.
The wool patch on the chest served to hold spare hooks
and for the fisherman to dry his fingers.

hand-made BELOW: The mixture of cord
and leather on the strapping

GAME bag adds extraresilience, while the

drawstring features fine, hand-
crafted detailing.
early 20TH century

This French, hand-strung hunting bag,

dating to the early twentieth century, has
a series of metal loops around the closure
that allow the bag to expand to hold larger
game. The open weave of the bag lets
blood or water drain without collecting
much as later, more structured, game
bags would have a separate oiled or
plastic-lined section to allow it to be
washed out. The detailing here reflects
the care expended on what is a functional
but beautifully made item.

Alaska Sleeping The writer Hunter S. Thompson was not BELOW left: Capacious patch
pockets with side access feature
Bag Company impressed with goods from the Alaska
narrow openings resulting in
Sleeping Bag Company, of Portland, a snug fit for cold hands.
HUNTING Oregon. He wrote to the company
requesting a refund for a hunting coat he
PARKA had bought for $24.95 in the 1950s. His
complaint was with what the catalogue
1950s had described as the leather-lined
pockets and leather shoulder-patches.
If the garbage on this coat is leather, he wrote, Ill eat it. The jacket
was, he added, simply not up to the standard he had come to expect
from the likes of L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer, other brands he regularly
bought from. In fact, the week before he had returned an Everest Down
Parka to the Alaska Sleeping Bag Company, one just like this one.
I suggest, he added, that you be more careful about the wording of
your catalogue. A second edition of the catalogue deleted the offending
reference to leather.
But the coat is not as poor as Thompsons sharp missive might
suggest with a goose-down filling and a wolverine fur trim hood, it
would have been exceptionally warm. Indeed, the Alaska Sleeping Bag
Company was at one point a major player in the catalogue business for
outdoors clothing, competing with the aforementioned companies as
well as the likes of Orvis and Corcorans. But it folded during the 1960s,
probably less as a result of its quality than its inability to deliver. The
US mail-order business even has legislation named after it: the Alaska
Sleeping Bag Law states that a seller must refund the buyers money if it
cannot ship the goods bought within 21 days.

LEFT: The double stitching around
the various pockets and pouches
on the jacket gives it a quite
distinctive look


From the 1920s onwards, the makers of

hunting jackets were keen to stress the
utility of their garments as much in their
name and branding as in their design.
References to weatherproofing, dryness
and ducks for their own ability to fend
off the water but also for being the game
in question were commonplace, despite
the jackets being essentially simple,
loose-fitting, thick canvas constructions
with functional pocketing, notably the
characteristic game pocket. The cloth
itself is also typically known as duck
not from the hunting association, but
rather a corruption of the Dutch word
doek, meaning a plain linen canvas
woven with one yarn on the warp and,
unusually, two on the weft. The simplicity
of the cloth belies its strength. The weave
gives duck fabric the kind of toughness
that has seen it used, in different weights,
to make sandbags, tents and sails. It
is one of the most popular fabrics for
vintage workwear, since it is smooth-
finished, tear-resistant and, given its
unusual weave, wind-resistant. Duct or
duck tape was originally made by adding
an adhesive backing to strips of duck
cloth. This example by Duxbak was
patented on 9 February 1926 at the US
Patent Office by William E. Conover and
Bert D. Bush for their invention of new
and useful Improvements in Sportsmens
Hunting Coats.

BELOW: A quote from the original RIGHT: The button-down side
patent gives an idea of the purpose: pockets allow access to the
The object of the invention is poachers pocket at the back which
toprovide a sportsmans hunting would have been concealed when
coat that will be provided with a empty but could expand like
pocket adapted to be expanded a bellows when used to capacity
for carrying game, shells or
other objects.

C.H. Masland & Co. The construction of these hunting BELOW: The trousers are
trousers melds both the traditional factory-sewn with a leather trim

Hunting trousers and the technical. Unusually for

throughout for reinforcement,
which would have made them
styles of the 1950s, their base is extraordinarily hard wearing but
1950s made from a cotton sateen of a kind also expensive.
typical of much military clothing
of the World War II era. Since this would have been softer and more
comfortable than simple cotton duck, but not as strong, the designer
has added leather patches to the front of the legs from the hips down
suggesting that lining up the target would have been done on ones front.
Leather also reinforces the edges of front and back pockets.
The military feel of this piece of workwear is no surprise when
the manufacturer is considered. C.H. Masland & Co. was established in
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1866 by Civil War veteran Charles Masland.
His business was making carpets, including, throughout the 1920s,
carpets for Fords ground-breaking Model T cars. Carpets remained
Maslands business until 1940 a year before the US joined World War II
when its looms were turned over to the war effort and the production
of various canvases for military use. For this, it even scooped the Board
of the Army and Navys Excellence Award.
The war over, Masland successfully turned his looms to the
making of outdoorswear, much of it featuring military touches. In the
mid-1950s, production reverted to making carpets, which continues at
the time of writing.

unknown brands adapted

1940s 1950s

If the leather patches on the Masland

hunting trousers featured on the previous
pages were affixed by the manufacturer
to provide added wear protection, these
hunting jackets have been customized
by their owners to much the same ends.
This first British home-made jacket made
out of a rough canvas used by the British
military in the 1940s and 1950s for varied
purposes, including the construction of
camp beds and water-carriers has been
reinforced using scraps of sheepskin for
comfort at the shoulder (to soften the
recoil of the stock on firing) and for wear
at the elbows. The right elbow shows an
additional layer of leather, probably a
repair to a hole caused by shooting from
the horizontal position.
The second, Field Master, jacket
(opposite) sees similar basic patches of
fabric added for reinforcement or repair
with little regard for camouflaging or
colour co-ordination.

this page bELOW: From left to
right the details show: steel closure
for internal poachers pocket; a
cord-lined cuff to give additional
strength; a shotgun cartridge
pouch. The triple-layered pockets
on the main image are from top
to bottom: hand-warmer pocket,
cartridge pocket, patch pocket.

LEFT: This back view of the jacket
shows hand-sewn red panels for
maximum visibility from behind.
Why? So that your buddy doesnt
shoot you in the back.
Sport Chief

college sports jacket


The letterman-style bomber jacket has

come in many guises, even if traditionally
best-known as having a wool body and
contrasting leather arms. This 1950s
model by the now-defunct New York
company Sport Chief opted for a wool
body with unusual knitted sleeves that
allowed for the addition of the extra
stripe decoration.

HERCULES Hercules has become one of
the most widely recognized
VARSITY and desirable workwear brands
of the first half of the twentieth
JACKET century, even if the name was
first applied in 1908 by its
1930s US owners Sears to an early
heating system. Sears went
on to apply the brand name to a range of household
appliances and even to an insurance scheme, until the
winter catalogue of 1964/65, when it was used for the
last time, specifically on a range of cotton bandanas.
But Hercules was best known in conjunction with
workwear given a lifetime guarantee in keeping with
the sense of strength and endurance suggested by the
name from chambray shirts to over-trousers. Hercules
clothing was widely worn by munitions and industrial
workers on the US home front during World War II.
Also under the Hercules name came this 1930s
letterman-style jacket, with its wool body, horsehide
arms and distinctive American football-shaped pocket
detail. The jacket lacks the chenille cloth letter (typically
that of the first letter of the schools name) awarded to
a student for success in studies or sports as part of the
letterman system that was widespread in the US until the
late 1950s.

Royal Canadian The bomber jacket, once in a rich
Air Force Royal Air Force blue, was worn by a
member of the Royal Canadian Air
Hockey Club Force (RCAF) Hockey Club and,
dated 1940, prefigures an unlikely if
jacket memorable victory.
The Canadian Aviation Corps
1940s itself had inauspicious beginnings,
being formed in September 1914,
comprising two pilots, one mechanic and one biplane bought from a
Massachusetts company for no more than the $5,000 allocated. Later
renamed the RCAF, the forces hockey team also started small. New
guidelines for the Olympics of 1948 set down stringent rules on the
amateur status of entrants to events, leaving Canada unable to field a
team for the ice hockey event. But on hearing this, Squadron Leader
A. Gardner Watson sought permission to form a team from RCAF
members, which the various authorities gave without much hope in their
advancement, especially since they gave him just 48 hours to build his
team. The RCAF team, however, went on not only to compete in 1948,
but to win gold, beating the Swiss team on home ground in the final.

unknown brand


This 1940s US varsity jacket is unusual

for its contrast insets of different leathers
both in terms of texture and colour
across the shoulders and upper arms, and
on the pockets. The embroidered bird
design on both shoulders is of unknown
origin, but is possibly Native American.
The eagle traditionally represented
honesty, courage and freedom, among
other positive attributes; this could be
a home-made logo for a perhaps now-
defunct American football team, birds
having long been adopted by the likes of
the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals,
Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks,
among others.


ilitary clothing forms a considerable part of only that national output was turned over to the war

M the Vintage Showroom archive a reflection

of the influence of military clothing on civilian
menswear. Indeed, its functionality has
repeatedly made it appealing to the civilian market, with
surplus meeting an ever-green demand for affordable,
effort (including that of clothing manufacturers, while
civilians saw their clothing strictly rationed), but that the
scope for clothing types was greater. The conflict raged
in all climates and conditions. The period may have
been a low for humankind, but it was a creative peak
hard-wearing garments, often dyed or customized to for standard- and specialist-issue clothing.
disguise their military origins. Equally appealing are The pieces here lean heavily to the British and US
those service dress items worn less by the rank and file armed forces (and to a lesser extent those of France
and more by the officer class tailored to imbue authority and Germany). The reason for this is simple: their
rather than work well in the field. All military tailoring, in considerable war machines, colonialist policies and
fact, finds its ancestry in a time when commissions were central involvement in both world wars made them
bought, and officers had to supply their own uniforms. frontrunners in the design and manufacture of military
But the wide appeal of military clothing lies in large clothing, much of which was copied by the armed forces
part in the way it has traditionally been created: designed of other countries.
not by fashion teams but specialists in ergonomics Their military clothing was typically produced in
though they may not have carried that name at the such vast numbers that a buoyant surplus market grew
time who sat in government departments, coping with up after the end of World War II, with governments keen
precise budgets (so no room for wastage) and then to offload as much excess stock as possible in order to
contracting out for production to reliable manufacturers at least break even on production costs. At the end of
who would produce them in often huge numbers. Or, that conflict there was demand for such items out of
as the Vintage Showroom archive suggests, in much pure necessity; their appeal lasted longer both because
more limited numbers when the end user had a more of their affordability but also their durability. Indeed,
particular purpose: submariners and special forces, surplus military clothing has arguably been the prime
parachutists and bomber pilots. mover in the utilitarian design of clothing that remains
Many of the pieces shown here inevitably stem from central to menswear today.
World War II. The vast scale of the conflict ensured not
Stohwasser & Co.

Hussars tunic

In the British coronation year of 1937

and perhaps for related ceremonial
purposes tailors Stohwasser and Co. of
Conduit Street, London, bespoke-made
this braided tunic for a lord, who was a
lieutenant in the 11th Hussars. The tunic is
made of black barathea in the eighteenth-
century style adapted from uniforms
worn by Hungarian cavalry, specifically
the dolman, a short jacket with horizontal
gold braid and so-called Austrian or
Tyrolean knots at the lower sleeves. This
decoration was typically worn only by
officers except, that is, in the Hussars
where the knots were worn by all ranks.

British Army

Boer War keepsakes


The First Boer War (188081) proved

a rude awakening for the British Army;
their red-jacketed uniforms proved
dangerously conspicuous against the
desert surroundings, while the Boers
themselves were clad in khaki uniforms
(khaki comes from an Indian word
meaning dun or dust-coloured). As
imposing as the red may have looked
designed more to be impressive than to
hide blood the camouflage afforded by
khaki came to be appreciated by the time
of the second Boer War (18991902),
when the British Army made the colour
switch. A long way from their loved ones,
soldiers would cut or tear patches from
the surplus cloth, hand-draw the lettering
and send the patches home as keepsakes.

Gieves ltd It was in 1835, 50 years common sailors) of gold wire of 2.5 per cent gold and
after its foundation, that 90 per cent silver, regulations that were later eased in
Royal Navy James Gieves mens
outfitters business really
tougher economic times. At first, however, there was
little distinction between dress and service uniforms, and
grouping took off with officers of the such splendour the coatee with slash pockets for white
Royal Navy. Although the gloves, the bicorne hat with embroidered fouled anchors
1910s company had established (worn by this time fore and aft, which is to say, with one
a reputation for excellence end to the front of the head), the braided sword belt and
such that Admiral Lord Nelson was a customer that slings would have been worn at sea.
year it acquired Joseph Starkey Ltd., gold lacemen and The company went so far as to publish a guide,
wire embroiderers. These were artisans who worked to How to Become a Naval Officer, outlining the often
give their pieces the dazzle at cuff, collar and shoulder, a complex details of naval uniforms of the time. This was
move that made the company the pre-eminent, one-stop a great help to a fledgling officer, especially since well
shop of bespoke uniforms for senior ranks. into the mid-nineteenth century he is likely to have been
At the time, no standardization of uniforms appointed to his position without necessarily having
existed within the Royal Navy, leaving officers in the ascended through the ranks, and would have been
trusty hands of a specialist tailor. Gieves achieved expected to provide his extravagant uniform at his own below: The velvet-lined tin box
particular distinction through its use of a special colour expense. By 1914, Gieves (then called Gieve, Matthews for storing hat, sword belt and
epaulettes. The interior of the
silk in their gold lace, while remaining true to the strict and Seagrove) had begun to publish for naval men what hat shows Gieves royal
Admiralty standard (applied at least to officers if not was in effect a forerunner of the mail-order catalogue. appointment label.

above: The gold epaulettes shown far right: Ceremonial sword
are stored in their own velvet-lined belt showing the royal warrant of
tin box along with the sword belt, appointment given to Gieves Ltd
hat and aiguilllettes. by King George V. Royal warrants
were first recorded in 1155 with
right: These are aiguillettes, the a royal charter granted by Henry II
word is French and means small to the Weavers Company. By the
needle. Originally the word was fifteenth century, royal tradesmen
used in reference to the lacing that were recorded with a royal
linked plate armour together. warrant of appointment.

left: This original wooden toggle
with rope loop offered a simple
yet effective closure for duffel
coats; they were commonly
referred to as walrus teeth .

john hammond and co This 1943 Royal Navy duffel coat, style (along with his beret). The coat was designed to offer a cheap,
made by John Hammond and Co., warm, protective outer layer for Royal Navy personnel of all ranks when
duffel coat is a twist on the classic. In navy, on deck. Indeed, the duffel coat came in loose, non-specific sizes and
shorter, without the hood and made was designed to be thrown on by whoever needed it most at the time:
1943 in huge numbers the orginal was the coats were rarely owned by one individual. The two-piece hood
used during World War II, issued to was cut loose so that it could be worn over a thick beanie hat or even
captured or rescued enemy sailors and used widely by dockworkers. a peaked cap. The name duffel is thought to come from the Belgian
The version shown here has the originals most characteristic elements: town of the same name, where a similar coarse woollen cloth has
it is made from dense, blanket-type wool and the opening is secured been produced for centuries. But it was sharp-eyed business people
using large, wooden torpedo toggles and rope loops, which are easily who really made its name: in 1951 the Ministry of Defence approached
fastened with cold, wet or gloved hands. The original model, of course, Harold and Freda Morris to help dispose of surplus duffel coats. They
owes its fame to a landlubber General Montgomery, allied commander saw its civilian potential immediately and soon after began to make the
of British forces during World War II and an army man, adopted the coats. Their company, which had long made gloves and overalls, was
longer, camel-coloured and hooded version as something of a signature reborn as Gloverall, and is still the maker of the authentic duffel today.

royal navy


Standard trousers for ratings (non-

commissioned officers) of the Royal Navy
during World War II were distinctive for
their historic touches the wide, flared
leg, for easy rolling up when decks
needed to be swabbed, a lace-up back
and a multi-button drop-down front
panel. What makes the trousers pictured
distinctive is not their zinc buttons (made
in Birmingham, England), but the fact that
they come in densely woven white canvas
rather than the traditional, heavy navy-
black wool, providing a more protective
layer and a degree of fire-resistance. This
is because they were worn by a stoker, the
rating (non-commisioned sailor) charged
with firing the engines of steam-powered
warships. Hard, hot and dangerous work
(the engine rooms were so deep within
the ship that the chance of escape should
it be shelled or torpedoed was very slim),
the stokers was an officially recognized
job from 1842. A century on, it was
no more glamorous. Today, the term
stoker is used only colloquially in the
Royal Navy to represent any marine
engineering rating.


foul weather deck coat


This foul weather deck coat was devised

for Kriegsmarine (Germany Navy) U-boat
crewmen who had to go up to the exposed
surroundings of the conning tower deck
while the submarine surfaced. Everything
about it was designed to cope with water.
It is made of rubberized cotton (being
just half-lined), has a storm yoke across
the shoulders to drain water off and away
from the body, was double-breasted,
helping to keep clothing underneath
protected, and has wooden (and hence
rustproof) buttons. Even so, the low profile
of the submarine on the surface and
the harsh weather of the North Atlantic
meant that waves frequently engulfed any
watch crew on the conning tower, which
not even this coat could cope with
entirely successfully.

Belstaff/royal navy Just as manufacturers whose both wind- and waterproof, a drawstring toggle at the neck to pull
main business was to create the hood across the face, and an integrated neck support to assist in
foul weather suit clothes for the public found flotation by keeping the head back should the wearer find himself in
themselves either co-opted to the sea. It also used a brightly coloured, heavy-duty waterproof nylon
1960 s a war effort or, in peacetime, then an advanced fabric.
winning contracts to supply A decade later, Belstaff began to use the fabric as an alternative to
the military, so often the designs and fabrics created to this end would waxed cotton for its famed motorcycle jackets (see pages 3637). The
later find their way back to the civilian market. foul-weather jacket itself underwent various improvements during the
This Belstaff foul weather jacket for the Royal Navy was 1970s too, with this models asymmetric, button-front fastening being
manufactured by Belstaff during the 1960s, either to their own design replaced with a Velcro storm flap.
or to a military spec. This included fully taped seams, making the coat
Special Boat Service One of the simplest garments in the That design possibly a customization by the jackets original
Vintage Showroom archive is perhaps owner was likely to have been added to provide easy access to
ANORAK one of the most elegantly designed. This
World War II-era anorak or anarak,
contents when sitting down, since this anorak would on occasion have
been worn while canoeing. It was the Special Boat Service, an Army
1940s as the specifications label states was commando unit charged with special amphibious operations and for
designed to provide maximum utility which this jacket was designed, that pioneered the use of submarine-
with minimum complication, being modelled on the original anorak launched, lightweight folding canoes easily hidden or carried over
made of fish-oil-coated caribou or sealskin native to the Inuit of the land to use waterways to reach deep into enemy territory or attack
Arctic region. Pulled over the head, the anoraks hood and back section coastal or harbour targets. Originally created as the Special Boat Section
are made of one piece of oiled, windproof cotton fabric the fewer in 1940, its most famous operation was in 1942 the sinking by limpet
the seams, the more waterproof the jacket. The neck is tightened with mines of four German ships on the Gironde River in an action that won
a basic pull, while an inset zip pocket on the chest provides storage. its participants the sobriquet of the Cockleshell Heroes.

royal navy This page and opposite: The suit
on this page shows the original

Ursula suits
fabric colour of a suit that has seen
very little use. By contrast the suit
on the opposite page was used by
1940s the owner both during his time
in the navy and then afterwards
as a foul weather suit on his
Away from senior officer oversight, motorcycle. The suits pre-date the
servicemen of World War II would often International by Barbour and the
Trialmaster by Belstaff and were
adapt civilian clothing to their own use. picked up and used along with
As with members of the Long Range much military surplus in the
Desert Group (see pages 18485), the 1940s and 1950s.

unforgiving work given submariners

afforded them a degree of laxity. They
also best knew the conditions they
worked under.
Lieutenant-Commander Richard
Barklie Lakin was a daredevil figure
whose hobbies included racing Bugattis
and his 1000cc HRD Rapide motorbike,
then the worlds fastest. For this he
wore a one-piece, tan waxed-cotton
waterproof garment from Barbour that
had two chest pockets, a velvet-lined
collar and a zip-fly front. This he took
with him when he joined the submarine
HMS Ursula as navigating officer in
1938. Its Lieutenant-Commander, George
Philips, quickly seized on the Barbour
as a waterproof garment superior to the
ones officially issued but ill-suited to the
soaking conditions of the conning tower.
At his own expense, he adapted it as a
two-piece version jacket and matching
over-trousers and tested it, albeit
with the rather unscientific method of
aiming a fire-hose at it. In 1941, the suit
gained official sanction to be adopted as
standard submariners clothing at least
for the crew of his submarine. Its cost
meant that what became known simply as
the Ursula suit was never widely issued.
Made by Barbour and Sons of South
Shields, England, and also by Lawrence
Nedas and Co., of Kent, England, the
Ursula suit was ahead of its time. The
only consolation [of being a submariner],
as World War II Royal Navy submariner
Gus Britton noted, was the comfort that a
Barbour suit gave when those seas were
coming solid over the bridge rail. Those
poor bastards in the destroyers still had
oilskins, seaboots and a towel around
their neck, which did nothing to keep the
seas out.
The Ursula suit also inspired
Barbour after the wars end; it was a direct
ancestor of the companys International
biker jacket, with its signature drunk
chest pocket (see pages 4243).

opposite top: The suit was made opposite below: The waxed below: The suit featured both a
to a very high standard, with a cotton outer shell was lined with chin strap and a storm flap for the
heavy-gauge, lightning zip-pull at wool for extra warmth. The edges face. It is really here that you see
the front, and extra-large Newey of the pockets and zips were the influence this jacket had on
press studs to snap-close the wind strengthened with leather for later waxed motorcycle jackets.
flap that conceals the front zip. extra durability.

barbour The British outerwear manufacturer The jackets most distinctive characteristics are the drunk or
J. Barbour and Sons may have angled chest pocket, designed to hold maps and give easy access,
Military-issue pioneered waxed cotton for civilian
purposes, but its utility for military
and the stand-up eagle collar, short so as to not interfere with helmet
fastenings and moleskin-lined for comfort against the neck (this was
motorcycle suit garments had obvious application later replaced with corduroy on civilian models).
and was not overlooked. This One tell-tale sign of the jackets military origins is its heavyweight
19451951 jacket is now better known as the Newey press studs, also found on British Army-issue Denison smocks
International a staple Barbour (see pages 13637), among other kit. Indeed, for military purposes the
motorcyclists jacket, launched in 1936, that was popular among jacket is itself an evolution of the Ursula jacket (see previous pages),
motocross riders and made iconic by its being Steve McQueens choice designed by Barbour, again to a military specification, for Royal
during his trial-riding days of the 1960s (see pages 4243). The jacket Navy submariners. In terms of functionality and protectiveness (and,
also saw life between those periods with a military specification and although hardly important during wartime, stylishness), this was as
with the British Army motorcycle couriers of World War II in mind much an advance on the oilskins or unwieldy overalls typically worn
hence its being described as a suit, since this would have been worn by submariners as the Barbour suit was on the motorcycling capes
with matching waxed cotton over-trousers. Indeed, after the war it commonly worn prior to its issue. Similar in style, the Ursula jacket
was the jackets rising popularity as wet-weather gear among civilian named after HMS Ursula, the submarine that trialled the jacket and
motorcyclists who picked up surplus examples that probably trousers in 1939, although they were not standard issue for another two
encouraged the Barbour company to make more of its civilian version. years lacks the biker styles distinguishing angled pocket.

swedish army

Despatch riders jacket

1930 s

This Swedish Army despatch riders

jacket, dated to the 1930s, is designed to
protect both rider and documents. Made
of goat skin, with a grey wool blanket
lining and with an asymmetric cut akin
to Schotts classic Perfecto biker jacket
of the same era the front flap fastens
down using a curious series of buttons,
toggles and horn clips, with leather lace
side-adjustors further ensuring a tight,
streamlined fit. The asymmetric cut in this
case also leaves room for the atypically
large document pocket. Empty or full, this
would have provided added insulation for
vital organs during Scandinavian winters,
but also ensured that all but the largest
of documents stayed with the rider,
should he fall from his motorcycle. This
model jacket was replaced in the 1950s
by a heavy green canvas version, which
was issued by the Swedish Army into
the 1980s.

right: The unique design of the

jacket with its asymmetric fastening
allows for the over-size document
pocket that dominates the chest.
The toggle fastening at the neck
isunusual on motorcycle jackets.

INDIAN ARMY The Denison jacket was widely
copied by armies all over the
paratroopers world, each making their own
slight adjustments. This Indian
smock Army paratroopers division jump
jacket has, for example, buttons
1940s rather than the press studs of the
World War II British Army original,
is zip-through, and has knitted wool cuffs and two internal pockets.
The Indian Army also made changes to suit the local environment its
version of the Denison is unlined and the brushstroke camouflage is
more exaggerated, with a reddish-brown frond-like effect.
The Indian Army founded its parachute division in 1945. It saw
action in World War II and during the 1950s in Korea and Kashmir.

us army Perhaps no better designer
of military equipment can be
M1942 paratrooper found than the people who
will use it and depend on
jump jacket it. The M1942 paratrooper
jump jacket is just such an
1940s item, having been devised
by the US Armys Lieutenant
General William Yarborough, along with Corcaran jump boots and the
parachutist badge. It was Yarborough who effectively moulded the US
Armys famed Green Beret parachute regiments, himself seeing action
during World War II in Algeria, Italy and France.
The jacket went through several variations before arriving
at this version. It is reinforced by tough canvas at the elbows and
characterized by its four signature bellows pockets with asymmetric
flaps parachutists were often cut off both from each other and from
main forces and so had to carry provisions that allowed them to be as
self-sufficient as possible. Bellows pockets also featured on the trousers.
When all pockets were full and they had two rows of steel press
studs to allow fastening when fully stuffed the figure appeared to be
somewhat inflated, giving rise to the Green Beret nickname devils in
baggy pants. A further design detail is the double-sided pocket built into
the placket. This contained a small knife to be used for cutting parachute
lines if snagged on landing. The general idea of the jackets design
proved so successful that it was adapted for the US Armys tropical
combat uniform, which saw extensive use throughout the Vietnam War.
Yarboroughs other contribution, the jump boots high-lacing,
soft-soled boots with a double-buckled strap at their top were less
successful, since the buckles could catch on parachute lines. Despite
this potential danger, members of parachute regiments are said to
have preferred them as a symbol of their distinction from humble
infantrymen, who continued to wear standard M43 combat boots.

far left: The concealed knife

pocket that runs vertically down
the front of the jacket just above
the chest pockets could be
reached with either arm due
to its twin-zip opening.

left: The signature bellows

pockets with press studs were
used to store provisions.

british army When Winston Churchill warm. Some troops continued to wear the overalls dyes, one alleged idea being that it would fade away over
ordered the formation over their Denison. High-ranking officers, the likes of time to leave the jacket looking like a civilian labourers
paratroopers of a corp of 5,000
parachutists based on
General Montgomery, would typically have their Denison
bespoke-made in gabardine.
jacket and so help its wearer evade capture if cut off
behind enemy lines. The jacket was also worn by glider
DENISON SMOCK the German airborne This smock was worn over webbing equipment troops and agents of the Special Operations Executive.
troops who played so but under parachute pack and harness, had four external A more fitted version was introduced in 1959, but
1940s successful a part in the pockets fastened by heavy-duty Newey press studs (the variations on the Denison were issued until the
occupation of France in bottom two typically for holding grenades that could be mid-1970s.
1940, War Office designers immediately began work on thrown during descent), two internal pockets, a fabric-
specialist clothing for the job. They based their initial covered half-front zip, and a crotch flap to bring the
designs on the Knockensack, or bone sack jacket jacket close to the body and limit inflation on descent.
worn by German troops akin to overalls with thigh- The flap often worked loose when walking, encouraging
length trouser legs. The overalls were often removed the Arabs of North Africa to nickname parachute troops
and abandoned on landing. By 1942, they had been various versions of men with tails.
replaced by the more comfortable, more functional The camouflage was hand-painted and later
Denison smock, pulled on over the head, loose-fitting screen-printed in a distinctive, broad brushstroke
and consisting of an unlined heavyweight twill, making effect believed to be best suited for African and Italian
it windproof but not entirely waterproof or especially landscapes. The pattern was made using non-colourfast

above: The cuff has been
customized with the addition
of woollen, army-issue socks.
This was common practice to
make the sleeves warmer and
more windproof.

right: Detail of the steel,

half-length zip fastener.

aircraft appliance Survival vests aimed to do
corporation just what the name suggests
keep their wearers alive long
C-1 survival vest enough to be rescued. This
was particularly the case if the
1930s airman found himself ditched in
water or crashed in deep cover
for example, the orange colour typically used, known as Rescue or
International Orange, is designed to be highly visible from the air. The
USAAF C-1 Sustenance Survival Vest, made by Aircraft Appliance and
later Sears Roebuck, was issued during World War II but used during
the Korean War and to a limited extent even during the Vietnam War.
The vest was designed to be worn over uniform and A2 leather
jacket, and under body armour, parachute harness and Mae West (an
inflatable buoyancy aid). However, it proved so bulky with its pockets
full of standard survival equipment (including first-aid kit, compass,
knife, signalling mirror, fire starter, insect repellent, waterproof matches,
sun goggles, water bladder, flares, gloves and survival manual), that
it was eventually housed in a musette bag attached to the parachute
harness ready for bailout. It could then be donned on landing.
The vest was made from heavy-duty cotton or, later, as with
this example, in ripstop nylon. It is much like the later RAF-issue T67
Firefly tabard (also used by the SAS and still standard-issue airmans kit
for NATO forces in the twenty-first century), which also has pockets in
glove leather. Both are one-size-fits-all, adjustable by laces up the rear.

US military

aviators kit bag

1940 s

Although designed to hold a US Army

Air Force pilots personal effects, the
powers that be were always on hand to
remind him that even his canvas kit bag
was, as the stencil here states, property
of US government. This particular
1940s model could also be used by
Navy personnel the AN prefix on the
stencil denotes army/navy but its
preference among flyers is what won
it its nickname, the parachute bag.
This kit bag entered pop culture
when it was used by Captain Hilts,
the American pilot POW played by
Steve McQueen in the 1963 war film
The Great Escape.

reed products inc Tough, warm leather and followed by enhancements that saw the issue of the B-15A, this jacket,
sheepskin had long been the B-15, followed by the B-15C and D models.
B-15 FLIGHT JACKET the preferred choice for
flying jackets especially
The B-15 featured an off-set zip closure and leather clips for
oxygen lines and press-stud clips for radio wires. The olive drab cotton
1940s by aviators, many of whom sateen body designed for the temperate weather of the European
continued to use their leather theatre of war covered a windproof alpaca lining and had a high
jackets (against regulations) well into the Korean War era. But World mouton collar with a storm flap. The collar was later replaced by a knit
War II saw the start of a process to replace them with styles designed collar, primarily because thicker collars were found to interfere with new
using more modern fabrics, chiefly with the intention of making them helmets. It also had several details that have survived to flight jackets
lighter and less bulky (a serious consideration given the amount of today, including knit cuffs and waistband, vertical slash front pockets
other equipment that also had to be worn). The B-10 was the first step, and, most characteristically, a pen pocket on the sleeve.

Royal Air Force The early history of the below left to right: Rear
of suit showing part of buckle-
Royal Flying Corp (later
back fastening belt and side-hip
the Royal Air Force) saw entry pockets allowing access
its flyers poorly dressed to the uniform underneath;
flight suit for the cold they faced button-fastening crotch flap; top
of asymmetric zip showing wrap-
at altitude. Its first official
1940s garment, in 1912, was
around collar for added warmth
and windproofing.
just a wool-lined, thigh-
length, asymmetrically fastening jacket with map pocket,
to which was later added a pair of leather trousers. It
was not until 1916 that the RFC saw fit to issue any kind
of waterproof clothing. But a happy accident by Flight
Sub-Lieutenant Sidney Cotton of 3 Wing Royal Navy Air
Service was to change all this. He found that his grease-
impregnated maintenance overall was more windproof
than the purpose-made flying clothing. He took the idea
and, with J. Evans of Robinson and Cleaver, created the
first aviators overalls-style suit. It was made of proofed
khaki twill over rubberized muslin and a mohair liner,
with a fur collar, pockets above the knees and a map
pocket on the chest. The War Office approved the
so-called Sidcot (after Sidney Cotton) design in 1917,
and it became the standard right up until World War II.
Later adaptations of the Sidcot suit saw it follow
progressive military clothing design of the period in
thinking in terms of layering systems clothes that could
be added or removed to provide more or less heat and
protection depending on the environment (while also
allowing crew to be at least part-dressed and ready for
short-notice take-up all of the time). By World War II, for
example, the Sidcot could be worn over a quilted kapok
liner (which could also be worn without the Sidcot and
a heated waistcoat), while the Sidcot itself had options
one was a detachable fur collar. The last version of the
Sidcot, issued in 1941, was electrically heated, attaching
by press studs to electrically heated gloves and boots
too (the suits apparently too short arms and legs being
designed to allow a seamless connection).

Baxtor, By 1942, British Air Ministry Below: Clockwise from top left: pads could be added for further buoyancy (since
designers were having to cuff pull tabs; parallel full-leg zips; a Mae West was not worn with the Taylor suit in already
Woodhouse collar fastening; Air Ministry stencil
& Taylor respond quickly to the high and label inside the Taylor suit; cramped conditions).
casualty rates among the number marking on back. The suit was heavy internal braces help its
buoyancy crews of bomber aircraft
shot down over water, by
opposite: Detail of the
wearer take the weight but also designed to be quickly
removable; one zip fastens neck to crotch, two more
torch pocket.
providing clothing that the entire length of the legs. This was a point noted in
could aid survival without overleaf: Early example Taylor promotional materials (presumably used when pitching
1942 making operation of either
buoyancy suit issued to aircrews
for Air Ministry approval). It [the suit] has been designed
of the Boeing Flying Fortress.
aircraft or its weapons to give comfort, freedom of movement, warmth, electric
unfeasibly cumbersome. The so-called Taylor suit heating, buoyancy, fire resistance, quickness of removal,
after Baxtor, Woodhouse & Taylor Ltd., the company it notes. Taken on, it was worn notably by crew of
that made it was heavily padded with kapok (a Lancaster bombers and, for the USAAF, of Boeing
kind of silk cotton, good for buoyancy), fully lined in Flying Fortresses, although few benefitted from the
a heavy cotton with a shell made of the same yellow electric heating claimed. This came only from a heated
material used for Mae West life preservers/buoyancy waistcoat worn, along with standard battle dress, under
aids to assist Search and Rescue in sighting crew in it. Often the elements were so unreliable shorting out,
the water. On later variants, the external pocket at the causing burns that flyers would remove or disconnect
waist housed a signalling lamp and dye pouch for the them. That left the main intended beneficiaries of the
same purpose (both items taken from the 1941 Mae Taylor suit, tail gunners, shivering on, separated from
West), while additional pockets were placed across the the elements only by a thin Perspex shield, or sweating
chest, legs and back of neck, into which kapok flotation profusely come summer or a delayed take-off.

Royal Air Force



The functionality of military clothing

such as these flyers boots for the RAF
did not only take in such considerations
as durability, comfort and warmth.
Designers had to ponder, for example,
how distinctive potentially dangerously
so they would be on an airman who
had been shot down over enemy territory
and wanted to pass unnoticed among the
civilian population.
Working for the War Office during
World War II specifically as a technical
adviser to intelligence service MI9, the
branch responsible for escape and
evasion Christopher Clutty Clayton-
Hutton created many useful devices for
air crew. These included escape vests,
torches concealed in bicycle pumps,
compasses concealed in buttons and
pens, and maps printed (by Waddingtons,
the board games manufacturer behind
Monopoly) on silk handkerchiefs
the cloth able to survive a soaking, its
road markings and so on sometimes
camouflaged amid a bigger, seemingly
innocuous, pattern.
For these boots, Clayton-Hutton
ensured that the top, sheepskin-lined
section could be easily cut away, using
a blade concealed in the boot, turning a
hefty boot into a plain black Oxford shoe
that would not draw unwanted attention.
Other models saw escape aids fixed into
a hollow section of th e heel, an idea later
to appear in the cinematic exploits of
James Bond. Clayton-Huttons 1960 book,
Official Secret, was one of the first post-
war memoirs to divulge the techniques
developed by MI9.


pilots suit and


Clothing for combat flying during World

War II quickly became highly technical
and specialized, as advances in aircraft
design meant flying higher and for
longer, resulting in increased exposure to
pressure variations and the cold. Some air
forces were more prepared than others,
with the Royal Air Force among the most
advanced in its designs.
One US Army Air Force pilot,
Lieutenant Royal D. Frey, noted how he
and his crew wore a ramshackle selection
of warm clothing everything from
tank crew jackets to GI high-top shoes
and silk gloves, for an additional layer
under leather ones when he began
flying sorties over Europe from bases in
England. A few of us lucky ones in the
55th Fighter Squadron had well-used RAF
helmets given to us by our British friends,
he added.
They modified these to accommo-
date AAF earphones rather than wear the
AAF helmets issued. This RAF leather
helmet and 1941-pattern leather gauntlets
would have been particularly in demand;
the gloves have the welcome improvement
over their predecessor of the diagonal zip,
which made putting them on over an Irvin
sheepskin jacket much easier. The RAF
Mk3 goggles, however, were of mixed
appeal, largely because the Perspex
lenses, while shatterproof, scratched
easier and melted in high temperatures,
such as during cockpit fire. Despite
service throughout the Battle of Britain,
they were replaced by superior designs
later in the war.

opposite: The Irvin jacket is below: Type-C helmet, suede-lined
synonymous with World War II at the front. The elasticated strap
RAF fighter pilots. It was made of the Mark V111 goggles is held
of thick-pile sheepskin fleece in place by a series of leather
and coated on the outside straps and fastened at the back
with a brown, waterproof dye. with a buckle.

P. Frankenstein The RAF Pressure Jerkin, issued
& Sons/raf from the 1940s, took its nickname,
the Frankenstein, not from its
Pressure Jerkin seemingly frightening arrangement
of zips, toggles and straps, as its
1963 manufacturer, namely the Victoria
Rubber Works, also known as
P. Frankenstein & Sons of Newton Heath, Manchester. The company
specialized in making rubberized fabrics and, on the outbreak of World
War II, survival equipment. It would later make the orange spacesuits
used in Stanley Kubricks 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Frankenstein had the standard attributes of survival vests,
such as the Rescue Orange colouring and survival equipment, but was
also more advanced than many models of the time. The Mae West
inflatable was built into the garment, which also went some way to
negating the impact of G-forces on an airman bailing out of his aircraft
at speed and high altitude (trousers with the same function would have
been worn with it to protect the lower half of the body, since the RAF
never issued a full-body pressure suit). As such, it prefigured the jet age
and was worn by crew of Lightning fighter interceptors, as well as the
Canberra, Victor and Vulcan bombers throughout the 1950s and, as
with this model, into the early 1960s.

aero leather The choice of white for century than anything typically worn three decades later. shoulder tabs are to hold markings for rank, since the rest
company/USAAF this military garment Sheepskin was an ideal choice for high-altitude flying of the wearers uniform would have been well covered up,
is easily explained: up until World War II leather in general being a flyers though fully sewn-down tabs were also used by some to feed
B-7 sheepskin it was designed for
camouflage effect in
choice for its warmth and strength long after the open-air
cockpits of early aircraft became a thing of the past. But
through parachute straps an action that military command
dissuaded after parachutists became tangled in the lines. The
flight jacket Arctic environments. it was quickly replaced by lighter-weight technical fabrics patch/map pockets ensured that gloves essential to avoid
But the use of shearling after the conflict. crippling frostbite were always at the ready.
1930s sheepskin warm but As befits the tight budgets to which military garments Later versions of this shearling sheepskin parka in
heavy and slow to dry have been made, especially during wartime, the coat is brown were created for US ground crews of the Aleutian
is unexpected, making this piece especially rare, and not made from large sections of sheepskin as a modern Islands campaign off Alaska during World War II (from
evocative more of pioneering Arctic expeditions by the equivalent might be but from sections of skin, each seam June 1942 to August 1943) and were in production for just
likes of Ernest Shackleton at the turn of the twentieth reinforced by a leather trim in goat or horsehide. The one year.

Aero Leather While the US Army Air often in below-freezing conditions, and were subject cloth in an attempt to find the ideal compromise between
Company Force used much standard to being splashed by highly toxic aircraft fuel. Required warmth and a lightness that made the mechanics work
equipment across various was the D-2 mechanics parka, in this instance made more manageable.
D-2 roles, certain jobs were
sufficiently particular, in
by the Aero Leather Company of Beacon, New York,
a company that fulfilled many military contracts from
Unusually for a still hefty garment, it was pulled
over the head, both to minimize openings that could let
mechanics working conditions and World War II onwards. out heat, but also to reduce the metal on the jacket the
parka hazards, to require specialist
garments. Aircraft mechanic
In 1936, mechanics were issued with B-3 winter
flying jackets and trousers, just as pilots were, but
scraping of which could cause sparks (hence the press
studs at the cuffs are set on the knitted cuff under the
1943 was deemed to be one of these when this cumbersome kit proved tough for mechanics sleeve). Leather patches also prevented the cord used
jobs worthy of some of the to work in, a replacement was developed. This was to tighten the neckline from fraying the fabric. The hood
vast research and development budgets the US military the heavyweight, thick, dark brown shearling, fleece- and lining were both fully removable to make the coat
at times applied to the design of its uniforms. Mechanics, trimmed D-1 of 1940. But it was still too bulky. So in 1943 wearable in warmer weather, and to make the shell more
after all, had to spend long hours exposed to all weathers, came the D-2 parka this time made of alpaca-lined boat easily cleanable.

Luftwaffe This jacket, designed in many
fabric types for Luftwaffe pilots
Pilots Channel during World War II, had one core
function: to keep its wearer warm,
jacket either at high altitude in bombers,
for which this fleece-lined blue
1940s shearling version was probably
created, or when ditched in water.
Hence the German air force pilots somewhat bleak nickname for
the garment: the Kanal or Channel jacket, after the stretch of water
separating Britain from the European mainland.
This example was made from several pieces of leather, since
larger pieces were prohibitively expensive and offered no advantage of
utility. All channel jackets shared key details zip cuffs with elasticated
inners, large map pocket and a large-toothed zip which was less likely
to snag on gloves or equipment wiring.

RAF Mountain Aircraft could be built by
Rescue Service the thousands, but pilots
were not so easily replaced.
cold Consequently, World War
II saw the RAF place a
weather growing emphasis on the

parka importance of search-and-

rescue operations, with
1950 s the RAF MRS, or Mountain
Rescue Service, being
formed by a medical officer,
Flight Lieutenant George Graham, at RAF Llandwrog
in North Wales in 1943. Since the MRS members were
volunteers, no official uniform existed this despite the
obvious need for clothing that could withstand the elements
without hampering mobility. Most members would wear an
ad-hoc selection of warm and waterproof clothing.
However, one jacket that the MRS did later make
its own was this; part of the RAF flying uniform of
the 1950s. Many of its design details are ideal for the
conditions in which the MRS operated (many have also
appeared on other military garments): an angled map
pocket, a pen pocket on the sleeve, wooden toggles and
outsize buttons that would be easier to use while wearing
gloves, the beaver flap that pulled up between the crotch
to create something of a cocoon, and an internal belt
that cinched in the warmth but also in part supported
the back when carrying a pack. No wonder, then, that
despite the RAFs habit of destroying outmoded kit
rather than selling it to surplus dealers the jacket was
also popular with explorers and mountaineers including
Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest.

RAF The cold weather parka on the
previous pages also came in a
military snow rare polar-white version, used by
the RAF for winter operations.
parka This example has a wool lining, an
angled map pocket and heavy wood
toggles (see below) so that the neck
fastening could be easy undone
when wearing gloves. The beaver tail (shown below right) would drop
down at the back if it wasnt buttoned in to the coat. The zip pull, also
shown here, was reinforced with leather.
Perhaps the stand-out feature of both this and the previous jacket
was the use of Ventile, one of the technical fabrics developed during
World War II by the Shirley Institute in Manchester, England, initially
for pilots immersion suits. This was a densely woven cotton, using
long staple cotton fibres, which provided excellent breathable wind-
and waterproofing for the time (the weave expands on contact with
water, closing any gaps between it). For covert military purposes, it also
had the advantage of being soundless, unlike the rustle of competing
technical fabrics. Since it also used up 30 per cent more yarn than
conventional woven fabrics, the military provided garments made with
it rather sparingly.

Gebirgsjger How to camouflage oneself in
a terrain that might go from
Mountain parka the extremes of snow plains to
fir forests? The solution for the
1940s Gebirgsjger, the German Armys
elite mountain riflemen during
World War II, was twice the
jacket. It was a simple (if expensive to produce) reversible anorak
known as the Windbluse, one side in white, the other in one of several
tones of tan, grey, brown or green depending on the landscape in
which it was to be worn. It provided a windproof layer over the
standard uniform. As with this example, buttons were made from
composite pressed fibre, created to deal with the damp and cold of
the operating conditions, but also to allow dyeing to match the fabric
colour on which they were set (although other versions also used
buttons in metal or glass). A series of pockets, front and rear, were
placed in positions that would not interfere either with the use of
a backpack or during skiing. Cuffs, neck and crotch all had enclosure
mechanisms to minimize the effect of windchill, the cuffs on more
advanced versions using a complex, spring-loaded buckle that was
widely used on mountaineering jackets of the time.
The jacket was originally made using a blend of 67 per cent
cotton and 33 per cent rayon, although this was soon replaced by
a cheaper 100 per cent rayon version. As World War II advanced
further cost-saving measures led to the white side of the jacket being
produced by covering the fabric with a white rubber paint, and
non-reversible versions.

this page: The three distinctive
pockets across the chest make
this parka instantly recognizable.
To ensure maximum protection
against the elements, the parka
featured a button-fastening,
asymmetric neck and face
protector that sits over the
lace-up storm flap.

this page: The pockets which
give this parka its unique look and
include the small back pockets
shown here, were positioned to
allow maximum accessibility.

US ARMY The US Army mountain jacket has one of below left: The internal system
of harness straps that allows the
the most striking features of all specialist
wearer to redistribute the load of
clothing designed in 1942 for service the built-in rucksack.
during World War II a large-capacity
JACKET cargo pocket across the back, closing on
the left side by way of a zip, effectively
providing a built-in rucksack. Although
not strong enough to carry heavy items,
this space did allow clothing and food to be carried when a backpack
was deemed impractical, such as on short or covert missions. An
internal harness system of canvas straps even allows the wearer to
better distribute the load of any supplies carried in this outsize pocket.
Indeed, this device together with the hood which folded down
into an integral pocket on the back was an example of consideration
given to the needs and operational requirements of elite forces, in this
case the 10th Mountain Division and the First Special Service Force.
The jacket, devised for the European theatre of war, is made of
a rain- and wind-resistant cotton. It has two large chest pockets,
fastened with both zip and buttoned flaps, and a channel through which
any belt could have been slipped; again a means of helping to cope with
heavy loads by keeping the full integral pack close to the body. The
jacket would have been worn as the outermost of a number of layers,
including a wool undershirt, a standard-issue flannel shirt, and several
wool sweaters.

US Army
10th Mountain Division


The simplicity of the US Armys reversible

snow ski parka closely modelled on
traditional Inuit examples belies its
functionality. The A-line cut allowed
freedom of movement, two chest pockets
allowed hands to be warmed against
the body when necessary, an over-the-
head fit meant fewer opportunities for
heat to escape, while the fur trim also
kept in warmth. Wolverine fur was used
specifically since it was found to have
superior frost-shedding and de-icing
properties compared with other furs,
real or synthetic, both of which tests
showed would be damaged by having
the frost knocked or brushed out of
them. This, a 1955 report to the US Patent
Office noted, was probably down to
wolverine fur having the greatest filament
diameter within the Carnivora order, with
consequential exposure of less surface to
ice per given weight of hair.
Several versions of the parka led
to this one, of 1942, worn by the 10th
Mountain Division during World War II; it
was later replaced by one with a zip down
the front.

broad arrow Founded in the early a derivative of the pheon, a two-barbed arrow used as a heraldic device.
twentieth century in Rushden, Its use can be traced back to the first Office of Ordinance, created by
prisoner trousers Northamptonshire, England
the epicentre of the Goodyear
Henry VIII in 1544, and generally used to denote government property
(or property purchased using the monarchs money) until 1855, when
and boots welted footwear industry the War Department alone continued to use it.
John White has two seemingly The arrow used as a symbol of imprisonment as with these
1940s contrary accolades. It was the prisoners trousers, issued by the British Army to POWs similarly
first British mens footwear denoted crown property and again pre-dates its more familiar use
company to have a department in New Yorks famed Macys store, and on military equipment. The idea of covering prisoners uniforms with
co-opted to the war effort, as so much industry was it was also the arrows was that of Sir Edmund du Cane, Chairman of Convict Directors
biggest supplier of boots to British troops during World War II, making in Britain during the 1870s, who considered the arrows a hindrance
some 1.25 million pairs of its Impregnable model every year. to escape (akin to the striped or boldly coloured uniforms worn by
The company did not only make boots for soldiers; it also made prisoners in the US today). The same felons brand broad arrow pattern
them for prisoners of war. The broad arrow stitched onto the front was indented on the soles of prisoners boots, each step leaving its
of the upper of the pair opposite was a sign typically used to denote impression in dust or earth. Its use was discontinued in 1922.
the Ordnance department organizer of suppliers to the military. It is

this page: This pair of leather
shoes featuring the stitched broad
arrow would have been worn by
a prisoner of war.

Us Army HBT, or herringbone twill, tropical climates was realized, on its own. HBT became a A new pattern was introduced in 1943. Gone were
was adopted by the US Army signature fabric of the US Marine Corp, with the HBT utility the 1941 versions small chest pockets and adjustable
HBT POW initially as a blue-dyed, 232-
gram heavy cotton fabric for
uniform (comprising trousers, shirt and cotton canvas hat)
in use as late as the Vietnam War.
waistband in favour of a much simpler shape and more
carrying space, with two large cargo pockets each on shirt
GROUPING work uniforms worn for Its hard-wearing nature meant that there was always chest and on trouser hips. It was also now made in a much
base maintenance tasks surplus of HBT hence the uniform being stencilled PW and darker shade.
1940s as a replacement for those used as a uniform for prisoners of war held by the US during
originally made in denim. But World War II. Ironically perhaps, the nature of the light sage
the utility of such a hard-wearing fabric as HBT meant that, green dye meant that repeated washing would slowly bleach
dyed light sage green or khaki, by 1941 it was soon seeing the uniform into a shade closer to grey a tactical concern
active duty, initially as a cold-weather layer to be worn over given both its visibility at night and its similarity to German
standard wool clothing, and also, when its suitability for uniforms leading to potential friendly fire incidents.

US ARMY Military uniforms typically of the fit, the stand-up collar and the button decoration are Mexican-American war, when the desert dust suggested
show a progression an more about maintaining a military bearing in the ranks. soldiers sprinkled with flour.
Summer emphasis on appearance
in which dress and service
After World War II, one Lieutenant-General Edmund
Gregory noted that military uniforms tended to revert to the
It was from the experience of the Spanish-American
War that 1899 Army Uniform Regulations first provided
uniform uniforms are close in style to dressier, tighter fit during extended periods of peacetime. a uniform in khaki for field service, to be introduced in
one on functionality, in which The buttons may be one reason why soldiers of 1902. The war had seen both olive drab and blue uniforms
1910s smartness is secondary to the US Army Expeditionary Force during World War I used, the wearers of the latter recording disproportionately
utility. This US Army summer were given the nickname doughboys: some argue higher casualty rates. World War I saw the introduction of a
uniform dating from 1917 is a case in point. The colour, the that the outsize buttons of the jacket and the white single khaki uniform for active service and non-combat or
four large patch pockets and the blackened brass of the spats typically worn over boot tops and below puttees ordinary duty alike. The US military did not introduce special
buttons are utilitarian (the latter do not reflect light, which suggested the traditional gingerbread man. Another uniforms for specialist environments or uses until 1940,
might attract an enemy sniper), while the nipped-in waist suggestion is that the moniker comes from the era of the when involvement in World War II looked increasingly likely.

Japanese Army While most innovations
in military clothing were
tropical pioneered by the armed
forces of the US, Britain or
uniforms Germany in the run-up to
and during World War II, the
Japanese Army were ahead
in their switch to khaki
colouring. Indeed, it was the first army to discard bold
colour for ceremonial duties as well as for clothing in
the field. This occurred at the end of the Russo-Japanese
War, when only the cavalry of the Imperial Guard
and officers of high rank were allowed to retain dress
uniforms for certain special occasions.
For most servicemen, this style of tropical-weight
tunic (below) and parka (opposite), from the 1930s, was
standard. The parka is allegedly the inspiration for the
robes worn by Jedi knights in the Star Wars series.

Left: The coat has a removable
hood which in this case looks to
never have been worn. The fabric
on the coat has broken down to
a much lighter shade than the hood
which was found in the pocket.
The removable chin strap isheld
inplace with bamboo buttons, as
isthe hood which buttons off.

Right: These images showing the

partially lined shoulder and the
back of the garment that appears
on page 180 and highlight the
tailored aesthetic of Japanese
military clothing of the period.
Single-stitched throughout, the
lightweight cotton tunic is designed
for tropical warfare and fastened at
the front with bamboo buttons.

private During World War II, it was
purchase/LRDG not unknown for members
of special forces to buy
jeep coat their own equipment
less out of necessity than
1940s as preference for some
functional detail that they
chose over the standard-issue clothing. Doing so was,
strictly speaking, against service regulations, though
the outsider status of special forces often meant that
officialdom turned a blind eye to such activity.
Such was the case with this jeep coat, a private
purchase for a member of the British Armys Long-
Range Desert Group. This group was founded in Egypt
in 1940 by Major Ralph Bagnold as a reconnaissance
and raiding unit, operating deep behind enemy lines,
typically in the deserts of North Africa and later the
eastern Mediterranean. The work of the LRDG was
highly dangerous and the group never numbered more
than 350 men, all of whom were volunteers. The jacket,
below: From left to right: epaulette heavily lined in kapok, shows signs of having had patches
showing the ghost of majors
regimental ranking; internal kapok
removed from the epaulettes; this was done either to
lining; collar heavily stitched for hide the soldiers rank in case of capture, or because the
both strength and flexibility; belt jacket saw further use on return to civilian life. The LRDG
buckle with the remnants of the
original leather.
was disbanded at the end of the war in 1945.

British army/LRDG The smock and trousers
worn by members of the
smock and Long-Range Desert Group
were made of an unlined,
trousers tightly woven fabric, with
drawstrings to pull both in
tight to offer their wearers
protection against sand
and wind (although design departments of the time
never referred to such items as being windproof). But
their primary purpose was one of camouflage. Worn
over a standard uniform, the plain colouring of the set
was ideal for the desert setting of North Africa in which
many of the LRDG operations took place. Ironically,
perhaps, the same pieces often found a second life after
the war, worn by RAF Search and Rescue teams, but also
by mountaineers for whom high visibility rather than
camouflage is typically considered the wiser option.
The smock and trousers were also produced in
white; they were supplied in huge numbers by the British
government to American troops ill-prepared for winter
warfare during the Battle of the Bulge, and for forest
camouflage in other theatres of war.

British special forces Waste not, want not. When many camo designs of the era, giving it a more general-purpose utility,
excess stocks of so-called and here was made up into trousers issued to a member of 15 Para in
windproof camo SAS Camo were left over at
the end of World War II, it
1945 that are an unusual hybrid of previous patterns.
The camo smock here uses a subtly different camouflage pattern,
smock and combat was made up into a small run lacking the trousers tell-tale paintbrush streaks. Like the Denison
trousers of new windproof uniform
sets issued for elite forces
smocks (see pages 13637), it was designed by the Royal Engineers
Major Denison, also of the British Armys Camouflage Unit during World
1940s British Army operations over War II. The design was considered so versatile that it was subsequently
the remainder of the 1940s, adopted by armies in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It also inspired
notably in India, Burma and around the Malaysian insurgency from 1948 derivative camo designs, notably lizard during the 1950s and tiger
through to 1960. The broad brushstroke pattern was less intricate than stripe during the 1960s.

British Army

Camo tank suit

The nicknames coined by servicemen
for some military pieces are often tinged
with humour and intended to undercut
their seriousness, especially when used
by conscripts in wartime. This impressive
tank suit was typically known as a pixie
or zoot suit the latter perhaps because
its bagginess resembled that of the 1920s
and 1930s US tailoring style of the same
name. It was designed for tank crews and,
while most such overalls came in plain
drab, this one comes in a brushstroke
camouflage (as used on the standard-
issue Denison smock; see pages 13637)
The overalls were designed to provide a
comfortably cool outer layer (typically
worn with minimal uniform beneath)
for the often unbearably hot conditions
within the enclosed tank, while pockets,
such as those near the ankles, were
ideally positioned for sitting positions
within the tanks tight confines.
The camo version was issued
towards the end of World War II, and again
for the Korean War, in order to provide
additional cover for tank crews during
rest stops or while awaiting orders, while
great efforts were made using netting
and brush to hide tanks from artillery
or airstrike reconnaissance. As Roland
Penrose, artist and camouflage pioneer
(first as senior lecturer at the wartime
Eastern Command Camouflage School
in Norwich, then at the Farnham Castle
Camouflage Development and Training
Centre), noted: To an old soldier, the idea
of hiding from your enemy and the use
of deception may possibly be repulsive.
He may feel that it is not cricket. But that
matters very little to our enemies, who
are ruthlessly exploiting every means of

British Army Not all British military equipment during be because it was made for no ordinary military force. This example
World War II was issued from the War was made for a member of the Chindits, a special forces division of the
Chindits Office and shipped by the quartermaster
around the world; some items had more
British Army formed and lead by General Orde Wingate to complete
operations deep behind enemy lines, typically against the Japanese in
sweater local origin. Such was the case with this northern Burma during 194344. As well as the sweater, for night-time
sweater, made in 1944, probably in India, chills, the Chindit uniform was characterized by the wearing of a slouch
1944 with a mixture of comfort, durability hat and the carrying of a machete a Chindit take on the Ghurka kukris.
and dress regulations in mind. The deep The Chindits named after the Chinthay, a mythical half-lion,
V-neck, buttoned up with two small horn buttons, gave the wearer some half-griffin beast that guards Buddhist temples in Burma was multi-
versatility; the elbow patches akin to those on sweaters issued to national, comprising volunteer soldiers from Britain, Burma, Hong
British commandos covered the areas of greatest stress; and the slits Kong and West Africa, as well as Ghurkas. Like Ghurkas, Chindits were
at the shoulders allowed rank to be displayed through the wearing of regularly expected to haul 32-kilograms-plus of equipment more than
epaulettes, even on such a seemingly casual garment. the mules they used through tortuous landscape for hundreds of
But if this is no ordinary sweater, in military dress terms, that may miles. Self-sufficiency and mobility were key to their success.

KING KARD This jacket has the look of a military The jackets pattern, designed in 1934, was heavily inspired by
OVERALL CO piece but actually dates from the inter- hunting clothes created by US rugged outdoors clothing manufacturer
war period, specifically the late 1930s, C.C. Filson particularly in the use of tincloth, a heavy cotton canvas
M1934 when it was made for the CCC, or Civilian
Conservation Corps. The CCC programme
(also known as duck) as durable as denim but also slightly waterproof
due to its light wax covering. The piece featured here also has
WATER- had been established by President F. D. double-layered shoulders, back and sleeves for extra protection; the top

REPELLENT Roosevelt as part of the New Deal a

rescue package aimed at countering the
section is made from one piece of cloth, the lack of seams making it
all the more waterproof. It was manufactured by the King Kard Overall
JACKET effects of the Great Depression and
comprised the organisation of huge
Company, which would go on to make several garments for the US
Army. Prefiguring this, the specification label is very similar to those
1934 numbers of the unemployed (and others) used in strictly military pieces of the period, with details including the
to take part in massive labour schemes, contractor that made it, the date of manufacturer, and sizing.
including the building of new interstate highways, as well as impressive
engineering projects like the Boulder Dam.

A. WHYMAN LTD FOR US ARMY The mackinaw or jeep
jacket is typically associated
Mackinaw JEEP coat with the US Army, for which
it was designed; the first
1943 version appeared towards
the end of World War I. It
was probably based on a pattern not unfamiliar during the frontier days
of the late nineteenth century, when a plaid or blanket cloth was typical.
This, in turn, was possibly based on a garment first commissioned in
1811 by trader John Askin (on behalf of one Captain Charles Roberts)
for the militia of Fort St. Joseph, the contract being fulfilled by the Metis
aboriginal people of Canada. The style was named after the Straits of
Machinac, Michigan, and was quickly taken up by loggers and hunters.
Indeed, the readiness with which the short, double-breasted pattern has
moved between civilian and military use is perhaps a recommendation
of its functionality and style.
The World War I pattern was adapted in 1938 as part of the US
Armys winter uniform, now made in green canvas and blanket-lined
(actually a floating lining, not being sewn to the lining at the hem),
with a wool facing on the signature shawl collar. A thinner version was
introduced in 1941, one of 1942 coming without the wool facing, and
one of April 1943, the last, also dispensing with the belt (possibly for
reasons of wartime economy).
Not all mackinaws were produced in the US. Some, such as
this example, were made under licence in the UK. Dating to 1943, it
retains the belt, suggesting that it was made in spring of that year, or
perhaps made as a special order. This version was made in a darker
shade cotton twill, with its plastic buttons also a tell-tale sign of its
British manufacture.

moss bros & co ltd The trench coat is arguably one of right: The cuff straps are belted
toallow maximum protection
the most suggestive of menswear
agains the elements. The steel
garments, in large part because buckle retains some of its original
film noir made it part of detective leather covering.
TRENCH COAT iconography the essential coat
of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe
1930s1940s and Dick Tracey, an association
parodied by Peter Sellers role as
Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies. The coat itself is of
civilian origins Burberrys so-called officer coat even if its success
lay in its being adapted for military use to meet a War Office contract
during World War I. This version with its distinctive D rings (from which
equipment was hung) is from the British outfitter Moss Bros, founded
by the unusually-named Moses Moses in 1851. Although the company
would later come to be better known in the UK for its menswear hire
business (created to outfit musicians who needed formal attire for
performances at private dinner parties), in 1910 it established its military
department to outfit officers. Moss Bros had decided that there was
good business in this market after the successful sale of a storeroom full
of military clothing left over from the Boer War.

albert gill Ltd Despatch riders provided an
invaluable, if not crucial form
DESPATCH of communication during both
world wars. With telegraph
RIDERS COAT and radio communications
lines often broken by enemy
1943 activity, or the messages
relayed on them uncertain
of interception, the despatch rider provided an almost
assured means of delivery the likelihood of a single
rider being physically arrested by the enemy was slight.
He would be able to use his motorcycle to circumvent
blocked roads and bomb damage, to move at speed
and to deliver in person. He had to operate at all times
and in all weathers; hence the need for considerable
protection. This despatch riders coat, made by Albert
Gill Ltd in 1944 and marked, in quartermaster fashion,
coat, rubberproofed, motor cyclists, is made from
bonded, rubberized cotton canvas fabric by Macintosh.
Even after softening and with its perspiration eyelets
under the armpits, it would have been an uncomfortably
heavy and hot garment to wear. But it afforded almost
complete water- and wind-proofing. The bottom of the
coat even snapped together to cover the tops of the legs
of the rider, with the front rear edge press-stud-fastened
(using brass Newey studs typical of the 1930s and 1940s
UK) onto the rear hem, creating a kind of military-grade
romper suit. Straps on the interior that would have been
used to secure the coat to the riders legs, preventing it
from flapping about. A double-breasted cut provided an
additional layer of protection to the chest, with a storm
flap designed to keep water away from the body. The
most distinctive feature of the coat, however, remains the
slanted chest map pocket that would have carried the
message a design detail copied for later cotton civilian
biker jackets.

B3 flying suit
and boots

If the RAF has its iconic, short, sheepskin-

collared Irving flight jacket, the Army Air
Corp the forerunner of the United States
Air Force had its not dissimilar B3,
adopted by the AAC in 1934 as its standard
issue jacket, to be worn with sheepskin
trousers and a pair of these A6 boots. It
was favoured chiefly for the warmth it gave
in the open gun bays before the advent
of Perspex provided some shielding from
the elements, the air temperature could
drop to 70 degrees below zero. The jacket
has several considered design elements:
the zip, for example, is backed with a flap
that provided a kind of window sealant
from the cold. It had an oversized collar
ideal for turning up to protect the face
and with double straps to hold it there,
when turned down, it had press-studs on
the underside to keep it neatly in place
during windy conditions. The jacket was
made of horsehide which accounts for
the two-tone effect of the leather both
for warmth and strength, since the jacket
was prone to catching on edges in the
cramped conditions of an aircraft interior.
Perhaps less successfully, certainly from
the wearers point of view, the B3 had
a single pocket just about enough for
gloves or a packet of cigarettes but no
others, after someone in senior ranks
decided that this would only encourage
flyers to indecorously keep their hands
in them.

bespoke Military clothing from the early twentieth
century was often passed between allied
military troops of different armies, providing the
immediate need of warmth and protection,
greatcoat rather than that of identification and in
the heat of battle certainly not that of
reflecting military dress regulations or
discipline. This is one such item, making
its origins hard to pinpoint. It has no hardware or labelling indicative of a
particular nationality, making identification harder still. However, given
its dipping double-cuff design and the fact that it is single-breasted, it is
likely to be French. The quality of the jacket, with its hand-sewn button-
holes, suggests that it was probably tailor-made for an officer rather
than an enlisted soldier. It has since been customized rather crudely,
with a coarse fur lining and a goatskin collar, perhaps suggesting that it
made its way into the hands of a rank-and-file soldier (or perhaps dire
circumstances necessitated its basic improvement for warmth).

left: The choice of lining under

the fly front shows the quality
of the coat.

above: Detail of the dipping

double cuff.


lthough today specialist workwear is increas- that is almost universal to workwear the durability of

A ingly only worn for specialist tasks by those

working in dangerous environments, or by the
emergency services and so on in the first
half of the twentieth century to wear such kit was
the norm rather than the exception. One piece of
the fabric and construction, which has meant much of
it is still going strong today. Not that some of it hasnt
taken a battering: arguably a large part of the appeal
of vintage clothing is best suggested by workwear: the
lives of the clothing as expressed in the darns and
what was originally workwear five-pocket Western patches, the alterations and home repairs. The idea of
jeans, devised by Levi Strauss & Co for miners and Sunday best, of keeping back a pristine outfit for more
gold panners in the American West has become formal or public occasions, is surprisingly global, and
the default for all sorts of manual workers, but also with less need for work clothing to be presentable in
as an almost universal piece of leisurewear. Once a any conventional sense it was worn until it fell apart.
profession as humble as a street-sweeper or dock- And was fixed and fixed again until it could take no
worker could be identified by the clothing the man put more fixing. Perhaps more so than sports and leisure,
on for work and he would wear it only for work. In or military clothing then, the workwear selected by The
the US train drivers wore locomotive jackets; in France Vintage Showroom has, down the decades, become
a road-builder would wear the distinctive short, blue more art works than workwear: each piece originally
canvas jacket with the Peter Pan collar; in the UK a mass manufactured, and over time becoming more
factory worker would wear similar, only his would be and more hand-made, albeit by hands more concerned
of a darker blue and have revers (turned-back edges) with the practicality than the prettiness of the effect.
smart even amid the smut. It serves as a reminder that the rarity of a piece of
The Vintage Showrooms collection of workwear is vintage clothing is not always simply a question of it
as much an expression of the diversity of work or, at being one of a few remaining survivors. Sometimes it
least, of manual work as it is of the clothes that were can become a true one-off only through the long use
created to make that work safer and easier; be that it has endured.
through the level of protection it afforded or something
bespoke Dating to the period around 1900, this
British tweed jacket and waistcoat
Tweed jacket possibly of Irish rather than Scots
origin, judging by the unusual
and waistcoat multi-coloured flecks in the bottle-
green fabric must have had a
longlife of hard use, as its many
repairs confirm.
The fabric makes it an unusual and expensive choice for labourers
clothing; labourers of the period simply wore hard-wearing but non-
specialist attire. However, the leather patching on stress points (a home-
made addition by the owner) is typical of attire worn for manual labour
at that time (and is seen on dedicated workwear as late as the 1960s).
The lining, being a basic ticking stripe, is characteristic of the Victorian
era; silken and boldly coloured linings became fashionable later, by
the 1920s.

bEsPOKE On Tuesday 14 November
1939, a London tailor
THREE-PiECE fi nished this three-piece
Harris tweed suit. It was
suiT never worn perhaps the
owner failed to collect
1939 it because World War
II had broken out two
months previously and he had been drafted. Certainly
the country life, for which this suit would have been
made, was about to change forever. It is cut in a classic
style for the period: the jacket with a broad peak lapel,
the waistcoat cut with a central vertical buttonhole for
a watch chain, the trousers wide with turn-ups, high-
waisted and with braces buttons.
The fabric is also a sign of the times, tweed
being exceptionally heavy and hard-wearing. tweed
derives from tweel, Scots for twill; the word was
purportedly coined when a nineteenth-century London
merchant misread a fabric order and took tweed to be
a new brand name taken from the River Tweed on the
Scots borders.
Harris tweed has been hand-woven on the
Scottish islands of the Outer Hebrides for centuries. It
fi rst found favour among the well-to-do in 1846 through
the patronage of Lady Dunmore, widow of the Earl of
Dunmore, who had Harris weavers copy the family tartan
in tweed for wear by her groundsmen. The fabric was so
admired in her social circl e that the idea of gentlemen
wearing tweeds in the country (as opposed to when in
town) began to take root in British culture.

unKnOWn bRAnd


While the nineteenth-century frontiersmen

and pioneers of the American West took a
hard-wearing fabric of French origin and
made it their own (denim derives from
de Nmes, a heavy eighteenth-century
cloth woven in the French city), French
workers of the same period wore corduroy
themselves. In its heavier weights, this is
just as tough as denim, while the tonal
variation of cord itself and the colours it
was worn in at the time from seal grey
and tan through to dark brown somehow
seem a better fit with working European
earth. The bigger French workwear
brands, such as Adolphe Lafont, often
started out in business making just such
traditional garments.
Corduroy was also the choice
of farm labourers in Germany, who
referred to the fabric as Manchester,
and a pair of cord trousers consequently
as Manchesterhosen. This points to
the origin of the fabric. Corduroy does
not come from France, as is popularly
believed the connection between
corduroy and corde du roi, the fabric of
kings, in French is tenuous at best, even
if members of the French court did wear
the fabric, along with its smooth cousin
velvet. Rather, cord was fi rst produced in
the seventeenth-century textile-making
regions of northern England.

unknown brand

19 th century

It was not until the 1920s that lower-

waisted trousers entered mens fashion,
and with it the need for a belt until then
a largely decorative item. The norm prior
to this was for trousers to be high-waisted
(which in part accounts for the long rise
on many pre-1920s trousers) and worn
with braces, as would this pair.
Braces also allowed a greater
ease of movement at the waist, so they
appeared even on work trousers as here.
These were originally made in a dark navy
herringbone cotton and are probably of
French or German origin (such fabric
was favoured by manufacturers in both
countries in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries). The buttons nearly
all odd, some rusted, some zinc military
style and the fabric with its numerous
repairs and colour variation speak of
the life these trousers have led, but also
of more straitened times when repair and
reinforcement rather than replacement
was typical and a garment was expected
to offer long service.

opposite: These buckle-back below: The amount of repairs to
trousers would have been worn the pocket suggest that these were
with braces fixed to buttons perhaps the owners only pair of
shown here. work trousers.

hand-made The popular conception of
the kimono is as a ceremonial
peasants boro garment, but it actually has a
tradition as workwear, which is
jacket the case with this peasant boro
jacket. Hand-spun, hand-made
19 century
and hand-repaired in a cotton
fabric, this late nineteenth-
century Japanese jacket follows the basic, traditionally Eastern, style
of a flat-cut garment: unlike the standard tailoring of the West, cut to fit
closely around the body, it closes only with a tie fastening.
The jackets simplicity of style, however, is in stark contrast to
the effect of decades of repair; the many different but complementary
fabrics used to bridge rips and holes create a visually arresting variation
and turn the jacket into something approaching an art or craft piece.
The many repairs also speak of the value of the garment to its owner
during its lifetime, and of an era when ones clothes were few and rarely
regarded as disposable. The same richness of life and apparent usage
is occasionally found in later vintage garments, notably pre-World War
II French industrial and agricultural workwear.
The jacket also points to the early use of indigo in workwear
most famously with denim jeans as a readily available, easily applied
dye that hides dirt well and, over time, has even entered the language:
blue collar denotes manual labour. Indigo had become central to the
textile culture of Japan by the time this jacket was made, following the
banning of the use of silk for over two centuries until the late 1860s. This
encouraged the importation and planting of cotton, which in turn was
found to be difficult to dye, with the exception of indigo.

RIGHT: The buttons of this jacket
and that oveleaf show the insignia
uNKown brand Might the French fireman
have been the best-dressed
of the sapeurs-pompiers, the
civilian version of the firefighting
units first established as
sapeurs-pompiers emergency service in all
Europe during the early
paramilitary organizations and in
1810 as a bona fide part of the
uniforms twentieth century? These
French Armys engineering branch. garments (see also overleaf)
Its members were Frances first 1900s suggest as much. Although
professional firefighters. the patina of time (and
possibly some waterproofing or fire-retardancy treatment) has turned
the black-velvet-collared, single-breasted tunic (overleaf) into a dark
brown shade, the cut is almost Elizabethan in its snug fit and intricately
panelled back. The later double-breasted, indigo-dyed linen jacket
(opposite and below) is more theatrical still, with its gilt buttons,
epaulettes, and extensive piping and braiding. The high-waisted
herringbone linen trousers (overleaf) that complete the uniform
similarly carry a gold trim and, although these would have been worn
with braces, the look is finished by the broad black and red belt.
Sapeur means soldier while pompier references the manual water
pumps used by the firemen. This in part explains the uniforms military
bearing. Indeed, the fire brigades of Paris and Marseille the Brigade
des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris and the Bataillon de Marins-Pompiers de
Marseille remain part of the French armed services (army and navy
respectively), with todays uniform still incorporating the same black
and red belt.

RIGHT: Buckle-back trousers
madeof a heavy cotton
herringbone twill.These would
havebeen wornwith braces.

RIGHT: The heavy, cotton
herringbone twill fabric has been
treated with some kind of waxed
or resin finish for waterproofing or
fire resistance. The collar is edged
with velvet.

unknown brand

work jacket
French workwear during the first half of
the twentieth century displayed a love of
stripes, though typically black and charcoal
ones, lending an air of respectability
to a garment while also allowing the
fabric to better hide dirt. This French
jackets black-and-white hickory stripe
makes it unusual in using a pattern and
colour scheme more usually associated
with American workwear, though the
almost Edwardian high-breaking revers
and four-button closure maintains the
customary French smartness.


workers TUNIC

This Spanish postal workers jacket is

made of a heavy indigo-dyed cotton, like
much workwear, although its decoration,
including epaulettes, cuffs and brass
buttons, suggests that it may have been
worn more for ceremonial or clerical
duties than in the fields or on the roads.
Multiple pockets on the inside and outside
of the jacket include one positioned over
the expandable side vent, possibly for the
easy storage of some kind of night stick.

BELOW: The same jacket inside
out, showing its interesting grey
linen lining.

US Navy Military garments often The embroidery reveals its use at some time
have a second, civilian by sailors of the Dollar Steamship Company. This
Denim life, particularly after vast
production runs to meet
was established in the early decades of the twentieth
century by Scotsman and lumber baron Robert Dollar
sailors smock wartime demands leave to move lumber from the Pacific Northwest to markets
considerable surplus once further down the coast, and it became a major player
Early 20 century
hostilities cease. Indeed, in the industry during the inter-war years. Based in San
governments have proven Francisco, the company not only bought its uniforms
themselves keen to find dealers ready to buy up this excess from the government, but seven of its ships, allowing
at a cheap rate. So it may have been with this denim, Dollar to also establish a round-the-world passenger
selvedge-edge sailors smock characteristic of the first service in 1923. Robert Dollar died in 1932 and the line
pattern devised for work duties of ratings in the US Navy. went bankrupt five years later.

Japanese merchant Navy

Sailors smock
and jacket

Both of these Japanese pieces date to the

1940s and are made from heavy cotton
twill of the same khaki shade. The smock
was designed for sailing the pattern is
familiar to seafaring communities and
organizations around the world while
the jacket was for dockworkers. The
jacket is half-lined with a fabric in a white
and navy stripe, similarly a traditionally
seafaring motif.

tHis pAGe: Jacket shown inside
out. Only the shoulders are
lined, perhaps to save on costs.

tHis pAGe: The front of the jacket
has distinct, narrow-topped, pleated
pockets, common in Japanese
workwear and military wear.

Royal Navy

fearnought smock
and jacket

Although the sailors of the Royal Navy

during World War II prided themselves
on keeping their uniforms neat and tidy,
the workers who stocked and repaired
the ships while they were in dock had no
such concerns warmth and protection
were their priority. Consequently, jackets
were issued to them made of undyed
felt or fearnought, produced by pressing
and compacting together woollen fibres
rather than weaving, a more expensive
and time-consuming process. Felt had
the advantage of being fire-retardant
too (such that it was also used in the
construction industry).
The simple construction of these
jackets, one an overhead smock with the
opening fastened with cord and toggle,
the other with its patch pockets, zinc
buttons and one-piece stand-up collar,
belies their sheer utility.

Arthur Miller The donkey jacket retains its The donkey jacket was said to have been created canvas of the kind that Partridge could supply. Later,
reputation as a garment of by tarpaulin manufacturer John Partridge for use by more luxurious, models as far as the donkey jacket
donkey British working-class roots,
having become an icon of
workers in the steel and pottery works of Staffordshire,
England, on the request of a foreman responding to
was ever luxurious came with leather patches,
covering not just the shoulders but also the tops of the
jacket the 1980s miners strike, of complaints from workers that constantly dripping water arms, with leather reinforcement strips on the cuffs. The
street sweepers, and even from heavy machinery meant they were soaked more jacket shown here was made for the London Borough
1950s of radical politicians of the often than not. Named after the steam-powered donkey of Lambeth (L.B.L.A.M. on the collar) by manufacturer
left. Small wonder then that engine of the early twentieth century, the jacket offered Arthur Miller of Sheerness, Kent.
it also came to be adopted by radical subcultures, from warmth in its unlined, woollen shell and, thanks to
punks to, more typically, skinheads. Its utility was widely its strategically placed patches, both durability and
recognized inexpensive to make, typically of black felt, protection from above.
with, in more recent times, plastic protective patches, it The pattern of the donkey jacket was based on
also became the coat issued to British prison inmates a simple nineteenth-century sack coat. Early donkey
until the 1970s. But its origins were more industrial. jackets had their patches made of waterproof waxed

Selfridges The customer is always Not that events always agreed the Wall Street
right was one maxim of Crash of 1929, global depression, and the outbreak of
WORK JACKET Harry Gordon Selfridge,
American founder in 1909
World War II slowly brought the retail institution to its
knees. Selfridge was forced to sell his business; the
1930 s of the now internationally provincial outposts went to John Lewis Partnership soon
known London department after the war, while the Oxford Street flagship store went
store Selfridges. And what the customer once wanted, to the Liverpool-based Lewiss department store chain in
from what is now regarded as an upmarket retailer, 1951. By that time, Selfridges pioneering founder and
was work jackets such as this one, produced during the one-time lavish entertainer and castle-owner had died
1930s under Selfridges own label. Made of wool, double- in straitened circumstances.
breasted, and with leather reinforcement around the
pockets, on the cuffs, at the elbows and along the back
length of the forearms, this was a jacket built to offer the
value for money that Selfridge espoused.

John Hammond & Co. What job might entail
constantly reaching into
Railway ones pockets, so that their
openings would need to
conductors be so extensively leather-
jacket lined as they are on this
coat? The answer: a train
1950 s conductor, who would
have kept change, ticket
punch, schedules and ticket books in them (indeed, such
multiple pockets are characteristic of train conductor
uniforms internationally).
This British coat, made for a railway conductor
during the 1950s, although never worn on the job, was
made by John Hammond & Co. a company better
known for the military clothing it made under contract
throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Its
piping and generally formal appearance were important
in representing both the railway and in giving the
conductor the necessary air of authority.

RIGHT above: Leather

reinforcement patches
on the coats pockets.

right: The makers and cutters

ticket on the interior of the coat.

far right: The embroidered griffin

on the lapels with their contrasting
piping indicate that the coat was
made for the Railway Service of
London Transport.


Leather work vest

1940 s

Almost medieval in appearance, this

simple leather jerkin is workwear at
its most minimalistic; basically, it is
a leather carapace to be worn over a
less hardy uniform to protect both it
and its wearer. The idea was initially
pursued for servicemen during World
War I, particularly for motorcycle riders,
although both British and American
troops it adopted them too. Trevor
Howard, who plays Major Calloway, the
investigating British military officer in
Carol Reeds 1949 movie The Third Man,
wears one throughout the film.
The example shown dates to the
1940s; it is wool-lined, with reinforced
buttonholes and Bakelite buttons, and
made from a patchwork of leather
off-cuts, in keeping with the need to ration
and make the most of all raw materials.
It would have seen most of its working
life after the war; it was then that surplus
supplies made the jerkin better known
as part of the characteristic appearance
of dustmen and coalmen (for whom the
protection was ideally suited), and also
for road workers.

Goodyear rubber Although less attractive to modern eyes,
Company this 1930s work jacket was advertised
by the Goodyear Rubber Company
HORSEHIDE as being made from premium-grade,
front-quarter horsehide. It may have
WORK JACKET been made specifically for members
of their workforce, though the quality
1930 s of the coat makes this unlikely.
Alternatively it may have been a small
diversion into clothing that was soon dropped. With its sheepskin
lining the coat was undoubtedly made for cold weather, and the
labels boast of front-quarter, guaranteed horsehide leather suggests
that it was made to last. Shearling-lined, it has knitted internal cuffs
lined with corduroy, hand-warmer pockets, a high collar with
a high fastening and a belt to pull the garment close to the body.
Horsehide was commonly used in the US from the 1930s to the
1950s. Rather than being a product of deliberate slaughter, the leather was
very much a by-product of the abundance of horses used in agriculture
and farming. As horses were used less and less in farming their skins
became more scarce and the cost of horsehide increased, making it an
uncompetitive choice of leather. It was dropped in the 1950s in favour
of steerhide.

gLObE The basic template of this US The 1950s saw the development of a three- and the fast-release aluminium clasps (also used on US
mAnufACTuRing fi remans jacket from the 1950s component system to fi refi ghters jackets in the US. This Navy garments from World War II, as alluded to by the
remains largely unchanged comprised an outer shell, a moisture barrier, and a anchor motif) allow the jacket to be both fastened and
fiREmAns today, with the exception that
modern equivalents tend to be
thermal barrier, between which were pockets of air
referred to as dead zones that further insulated their
unfastened with gloved hands and, more importantly,
removed at speed should it catch alight. In addition, the
jACKET made from hi-vis, highly fi re- wearer from extreme heat. Throughout the twentieth pockets are deep to allow for the carrying tools, and the
retardant technical fabrics century, standards of heat protection in such clothing hi-vis strips would allow a fi refi ghter to be seen under
1950 s such as Kevlar or Nomex. have increased, through the use of synthetics, from some even weak torchlight in dense smoke.
Indeed, as the label inside this 260C (500F) to 650C (1,200F). Part of what fi refi ghters sometimes referred to as
cotton duck canvas jacket stresses, it is not an approach Much about this older jacket (made by Globe bunker or turnout gear, the jacket would have been
garment, meaning that it is not designed to be worn by Manufacturing of Pittsfi eld, New Hampshire, established worn with bib trousers on suspenders, boots and, of
fi refi ghters working in close proximity to the heart of a in 1887 and still running) is still highly functional. The course, the distinctive fi remans helmet.
blaze, for which additional liners are required. double front enclosure gives some protection from fi re,

left: The back of the jacket below: Top to bottom: Inside
features a long reflective strip. pocket with button right on the
edge for easy fastening; Globe
manufacturers label; steel, quick-
release clasp fastening on thefront
of the jacket, a feature commonly
found in both civilian and military
firefighters clothing.

Arctic Insulated Clothing Inc. This parka may remind direct from nature. It is filled with duck or goose down, which has the BELOW: The original patent for
movie fans of the 1968 advantage of being light and soft relative to its density, while the hood this parka says that the use of

wolverine fur was chosen because
Rock Hudson Cold War is trimmed with wolfs fur. Unlike synthetic trim, fur does not act as of its superior frost-shedding or
thriller Ice Station Zebra a repository for ice crystals condensed from the wearers breath a de-icing properties.
for USARP although the bright fact that the clothing of Inuit and Saami peoples has demonstrated for
orange colour of its outer centuries. The leather trim on the knitted cuffs was added later by the
1960s facing marks it as being for coats owner a DIY design detail that would have made these stress
civilian rather than military points harder-wearing.
use. (Around this time, military garments adopted so-called Rescue or The maker of this garment, New Yorks Arctic Insulated Clothing
International Orange as a lining for jackets for air crew in particular, Inc., hell is made from a windproof and water-resistant tightly woven
allowing the jacket to be turned inside out to give the wearer a better cotton akin to Ventile, a fabric developed for the British military during
chance of being spotted from the air by search aircraft.) In this instance, the previous decade (see page 167). In addition, the large pouch
the orange has faded from years of use, the thin atmosphere and bright pockets are fastened using Velcro; although invented in 1941 by Swiss
skies of the poles possibly contributing to this effect. engineer George de Mestral, the zipper-less zipper was not patented
This garment was made for the US Antarctic/Arctic Research until 1955 and did not see commercial application until around 1958, not
Program (USARP). Prior to the development of specialist technical long before this parka was made.
fabrics, this would have been superbly warm, taking its effectiveness

ROyAL CAnAdiAn These high, cap-toe boots, with functional
mOunTEd POLiCE front lacing and decorative side lacing,
were part of the traditional distinctive dress
Riding bOOTs uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, Canadas national police force. It
1930s features midnight blue and yellow trimmed
breeches, brown, broad-brimmed Stetson-
style campaign hat (with the front-on, so-called Montana crease), Sam
Browne belt (of leather with a diagonal support going over the shoulder)
and red serge jacket with blue epaulettes these replaced gold-trimmed
scarlet straps when King Edward VII granted the mounties Royal status
for service in the Second Boer War (18991902).
All together, this striking kit was known as Review Order and
was only commonly worn for ceremonial duties. Much of the uniform
pre-dates the formation of the RCMP in 1920, being part of that worn
by the North-West Mounted Police, founded in 1873. This force kitted
itself out from a mix of British military surplus and US Cavalry uniforms.
The RCMP itself was formed out of the combination of the North-West
Mounted Police and the Dominion Police.


1950 s

Less common in British workwear than the

more usual heavy cotton drill, denim was
often the fabric of choice for machinists
and metal workers. The durability of the
fabric suited it to more physical tasks. The
jacket is of a basic cut with three large
patch pockets, a metal, button-fastening
front with a one-button working cuff. The
extra length of the jacket has clearly been
useful as protection in the past.

unknown brand In times when the soles
of work boots were often
Ammunition hob-nailed, worn boots
could have exposed
workers nail heads used in their
canvas construction. Even the
smartest of shoes were worn
overshoes with a blakey a small
metal horseshoe-type strip
1953 across the front of a leather
sole to minimize wear
and the contact of metal with the ground could
literally make sparks fly. Obviously, sparks had to
be avoided in an ammunitions factory, hence the
wearing of these British canvas overshoes. They were
made in 1953 using wooden rather than metal pins
(see opposite).

unknown brand Made of rubberized cotton, in hi-vis all-
over yellow essential for those lost
FOUL overboard this jacket and matching hat
would have been standard wear among
WEATHER fishermen until the 1960s, when technical
smock fabrics offering a better combination of
warmth, breathability and waterproofing
1950s began to replace more traditional garb.
This jacket is an update of previous
types that would have been made out of
oil- or tar-coated canvas. Both jacket and hat were colloquially known
since the 1830s as a souwester (or, in some regions, as a norwester)
an abbreviated form of southwester, in reference to the wind known
to bring rain and turbulent seas. The short brim, upturned lip and low
profile of the hat ensured that it stayed on the head even in the roughest
of such winds, with the lip acting as a gutter that channelled water to the
back and away from the body.

handknitted This fishermans sweater, opposite: The front panel of the
sweater is knitted in a different
dating to the 1940s, is akin
stitch to that lower down. Fishing
Fishermans to the British guernsey or
gansey sweater, knitted
communities would sometimes
develop patterns that were specific
sweater with heavily oiled wool to a particular port or coastal region,
with the mans initials knitted into
flat and tubular so that it the pattern. The body of a fisherman
1940 s can be put on in a hurry who drowned could then be
either way round (and so returned to his home port, identifed
by the pattern of the sweater that
that areas of wear can be repaired and turned away from he wore on his back.
further friction). It has a distinctive pattern traditional to
the fishermans home port or village.
This sweater differs from the original guernsey in
having a rollneck (rather than a short stand-up collar) and
standard-length sleeves (a guernsey typically has sleeves
slightly short for the arm), suggesting that it is likely to
have been home-made to the makers own design.

Rotherex While most British work right: The process of Sanforization,
jackets of the 1930s to used here on the brown denim,

brown denim
pre-shrinks or pre-stretches fabric
1950s were made of dark before it is cut, thus ensuring that
navy Bolton twill, a hard- the garment does not lose its
work jacket wearing Sanforized cotton shape through further washing
or wear.
fabric, this jacket from the
1940 s 1940s is unusual in being
made of a brown denim.
This is akin to the green denim used to make the first
pattern British Army battledress during the late 1930s
(later replaced with a wool serge).
The jacket, produced by Rotherex, a workwear
company operating out of Rotherham in northern
England, is reinforced using cotton tape at all points
of stress, including the tops of the pockets and from
the underside both distinguishing characteristics of
British, as opposed to French or German, workwear
of the same period.
The jacket also comes with split-pin removable
buttons, which allowed the garment to be industrially
laundered without damage to the machinery. The jackets
would have most of the water in them squeezed out by
being fed through the two rollers of a mangle. Even the
cut of this and other British work jackets of the time
designed to lie flat aided their passage through this
unforgiving process.

unKnOWn bRAnd


This French work jacket features

a number of unusual characteristics that
differ from the more standard bright
blue jackets of the period. It is white,
an unexpectedly impractical choice for
heavy work, suggesting that this may have
been worn more in a service role. White
is, of course, a better option in the heat,
as is the choice of fabric; it is a heavy
linen rather than sateen or twill cotton,
making the jacket ideal for more tropical
locales. Although it buttons to the neck,
its only collar is a small stand-up one,
a look that again fits with service. The
randomly inked stamp suggests that
the jacket perhaps saw a second life after
being decommissioned.

unknown brand These trousers, worn by
sailors of the Japanese
merchant Merchant Marine, share
characteristics with their
navy military equivalents, and
trousers with those of different
nations navies. They are
1940s cut for a specific function
albeit a largely defunct
one by this time the wider, flared legs allow them to
be more easily rolled up, an idea dating from times when
deck hands would scrub the deck as a daily ritual. The
silhouette is exaggerated by the trousers being nipped in
at the waist, thanks to a lacing arrangement rather like
womens stays at their rear. And, atypically for naval
trousers, they have a prominent bellows patch pocket on
the rear.
big smith Heavily worn and with multiple BELOW left: The hand-stitched
button holes seem strange on
repairs and patches, this denim chore
patched denim
a workwear piece of this era,
jacket looks as though at some stage it more at home on a bespoke suit.
underwent a sulphur wash to remove
chore jacket both dirt and a deep layer of colour, BELOW right: A close-up of the
bottom of the jacket.
leaving the denim with a striated,
watercolour effect. Just how far wear
and this process has faded the denim
is apparent in the area above the right breast pocket, which at one time
had a flap fastening that protected the much darker fabric beneath.
All denim fades, of course, because indigo dye is insoluble in
water, and fills the spaces between denim fibres (and the spaces in
them) rather than being more permanently absorbed by the fibres
themselves. Washing or friction encourages the indigo to fall away
one useful means of judging the age of a vintage garment.

adapted In the history of menswear the But the denim waistcoat proper has a long history, stitched button-holes, which seem a more tailored finish
second half of the twentieth dating to the early twentieth century as a more functional than one would expect from a piece of workwear. The
denim century may have pigeon-
holed the denim waistcoat as
garment, as this high-buttoning, lightweight example from
the 1930s shows. It appears to have started its working
piece, suitably, manages to be simultaneously practical
and elegant.
waistcoat being the stuff of outlaw biker life as a jacket and was later adapted by the sleeves being
gangs and heavy rock removed. Distinctive are its metal buttons and the skirt
1930s ostensibly denim jackets with of pockets, suggesting that it may have been worn with
the sleeves cut off (biker lore a denim apron by the employee of a grocery or hardware
suggesting that this is all the better to display tattoos store. The typical buckle-back fastening belt at the rear
identifying allegiance to a certain clan). contrasts with the distinctive glass buttons and the hand-


work jacket

This British work jacket from the 1950s

is, in many ways, characteristic of similar
jackets of the time. It is made from navy
Bolton twill tough enough to withstand
frequent heavy laundering with minimal
shrinkage and maximum colourfastness
and has removable buttons, allowing
the jacket to be passed through a mangle
for cleaning. Stress points, such as at
pocket corners, are reinforced with
heavy stitching on this example in
a contrast pale blue colour (red being
more commonly used). And the labelling
carries the kind of manufacturers name
characteristic of the period, typically
implying the place of manufacture: Lybro,
for example, was made in Liverpool,
north-west England, while Rotherex (see
page 262), a competing company, was
based farther east in Rotherham.
What makes the jacket unusual is
the fastening to the neck more a signature
of French work jackets and that the collar
has a trompe loeil effect, being created as
though one has been stitched down onto
the body of the jacket. This would have
preserved the look while providing an
added safety feature the lack of a true
collar meant one less part of the jacket that
could be caught in heavy machinery.


denim work jacket


The very crude stitching on this early-

twentieth century denim work jacket
seems to imply that it was a home-made
piece rather than factory made. This gives
it its own unique character and charm.
Single stitched throughout with hardly a
straight seam, it does not look to be the
work of a professional machinist. Apart
from its distinctively American donut
buttons the jacket has the look and feel of
a European piece. The patch pockets, set
to the side away from the work area and,
again, quite crudely cut, are reminiscent
of British and French work jackets of the
time, as is the double-faced denim front
and scalloped edge.

Headlight Headlight was one of the more known as the coverall or Union-All (in reference to the
established workwear brands in all-in-one union suit underwear garment). The Union-All
railroad the US during the first half of the
twentieth century. It was part of
was commissioned by the US Army to be the official
fatigues for its troops during World War I. Similarly, in 1921,
jacket Crown-Headlight of Cincinnati, Lee introduced the first railroad jacket too, called the Loco
Ohio, and specialized in overalls jacket and designed specifically for railroad workers. Its
1920 s and jackets, such as this mid- roomy shape and pocket type and position were produced
1920s railroad jacket. Headlight after the company interviewed railroad workers on their
worked in the shadow of the mighty H.D. Lee Mercantile requirements; the workers also later tested the jackets.
Co., established in 1889, with the Lee brand growing While Lee would go on, Crown-Headlight would
quickly to become the main rival to market leader not; it was acquired by the Carhartt company in 1960
Levi Strauss & Co. (along with Detroit overalls makers W.M. Finck & Co.),
It was Lee that, in 1913, combined the jacket with bib which for a while sold workwear under the label of
overalls to create the all-in-one garment that came to be Carhartt Headlight & Finck.

lee While Lees 101 Western and
Storm Rider jackets are among
blanket-lined its most famous contributions
to workwear, the companys
chore jacket 91B was an unsung, underrated
design. A basic work jacket
1950s albeit one with distinctive
pockets, borrowed from designs
for biker jackets it sold chiefly to industrial workers and dockworkers
during the 1950s, despite sometimes being known colloquially as
a tractor jacket.
This example, the 191LB, is the same model with the addition
of a blanket lining (here striped but sometimes also found in red
flannel) crucial for any work outdoors during winter months. This piece
pre-dates 1965, when Lee first began to circle the trademark registration
on its labels.

Buckaroo by Big Smith

Denim ranch jacket

1950 s

The iconography of the Wild West

remained an effective marketing tool even
during the postwar urbanization of the US
during the 1950s especially to those
workers still employed in ranchwork and
agriculture. This dark, raw denim pleated
work jacket by workwear company Big
Smith was produced under the spin-
off label Buckaroo named after the
traditional vaquero horse wranglers of
California. Along with popular canvas
hunting line Duxback, Big Smith was
one of the brands launched by Walls
Industries, Texas, established by George
Walls in 1930.

right: Although the pleated-

stitch front is a common feature
of denim jackets of the era, the
positioning of the chest pockets
so low on the chest, along with
the unusual placement of the
snap fastening at the very edge
ofthe pocket, gives the jacket
a unique look.


french work jacket


Worn and repaired, worn and repaired,

this early twentieth-century French work
jacket, with its distinctive high-fastening,
small collar, is characteristic of the eras
general commitment to a make do and
mend philosophy. Indeed, in large part
the character of this piece is found more
in the repairs than the jacket itself, with
close darning akin to a kind of blue-collar
embroidery in its abstract detail and,
more importantly, its strength.

hand-made/ Before the US Postal
pony express Service came the Pony
Express, horseback riders
riders carrying saddlebags of
mail over a relay covering
LETTER some 2,000 miles between
wallet Missouri and California,
covering the full distance
1859 in an impressive 11 days
or fewer. The service
was launched in 1860
and by its heyday had 100 stations, 80 riders and 400
horses. But this once essential, and legendary, means of
communication was to last just 18 months: the advent of
the Pacific Telegraph line made it redundant, leaving this
Pony Express pouch, with its interwoven strap wrapping
tightly around its letters, as much a relic of Wild West
history as a vintage accessory.

buhrke industries

Miners work belt


The metal badge on this thick, wide

leather belt states mine safety devices
of Chicago so it may well have been
used as much in construction work as
mining. Like the nineteenth-century work
belt featured opposite, it is wide enough
to suggest that it was made more with
back support in mind. The strength of the
belt around the loop that holds the chain
riveted as well as stitched suggests
that it would have been used to hold
heavy tools, with the chains closed loops
perhaps indicating that it had a role as
a kind of harness attachment, and was
expected to take the weight of the man
wearing the belt should he fall.
The belts maker, Buhrke Industries,
was established in 1949 by Fred Buhrke,
a German immigrant to the US. Originally
a toolmaker, he later developed the
ring-pull for the canned drinks industry
and the metal trays used for the popular
TV dinners of the 1950s.


Workers belt

While the belt only became a staple of

menswear with the advent of a lower rise
on trousers (a higher rise typically being
worn with braces), manual labourers from
the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth
centuries would often wear a belt as
well as braces. The belt was fastened
around the upper waist, regardless of
the presence of belt loops, and was done
as much to support the lower back as to
support ones trousers. Hence the belt,
like this one, was usually wide, somewhat
akin to a weightlifters belt. The look may
have given rise to the expression belt
and braces, meaning doubly secure.

unknown brand After footwear, it is arguably work
trousers that have to be built to take
Buckle-back the most punishment from manual
labour especially since, unlike a
work trousers jacket, they were rarely removed
for work, and, unlike a shirt, were
1930 s typically worn day after day. This
buckle-back pair in heavy cotton,
dating from the 1930s and probably French or Japanese in origin, is
especially well made, having seat, waistband and side-pocket openings
reinforced at point of manufacture. The knees have been reinforced or
repaired by the addition of patches by the owner at a later date.

vetra Workwear items made of
so-called salt and pepper
salt and fabric marked by a fine
mixture of black and white
pepper threads to give an overall
overalls charcoal effect were
a popular alternative to
1930s workwear blues from the
early twentieth century,
in part for being able to hide dirt and stains especially
well, as well as for offering a smarter look. The fabric
was especially popular with US manufacturers such
as DubbleWare, Big Mac, Madewell and Sweet-Orr up
until the late 1950s, who used it in various weights for
trousers, shirts, shop coats and jackets although these
unworn overalls are French in origin. Less common, and
less popular, was a blue salt and pepper cloth akin to
faded or stonewashed denim.

unknown brand
loggers boots
While certain brands dominated the
US work boot market for much of the
twentieth century Red Wing, Whites,
Danner, Chippewa and Justin were just
a few among the many it was more
distinctive styles, often designed with
specific working conditions in mind, that
became important. For the pioneering
Red Wing, for example, it was the moc-
fronted boot; for Justin, the stacked heel.
This loggers boot, of unknown brand,
makes its mark through its heavy tread
and unusual monkey-boot-style lacing to
the toecap. The deeper opening of the
boot actually made its removal easier,
especially in an emergency.

unknown brand Part of the appeal of BELOW: Donut-button fly with
a locomotive embossed on the
vintage workwear is the
denim Work
top button. The bottom of the leg
signs of work that they has been reinforced and patched
reveal. These 1930s work with a second layer of denim.
trousers trousers, for example, are
made of denim with a
1930 s donut button fly so called
for the characteristic
centre hole, later replaced by the solid-top style, which
also presented a new branding opportunity for an
increasingly competitive market. They also feature a
locomotive-stamped waist button and a brightly coloured
thread for the chain-stitched seams. They have clearly
been worn around clay, which has become ingrained in
the fabric of the trousers and dulled the brightness of
the thread a characteristic of this pairs history that is
integral to the appeal of the piece.

osh kosh bgosh and Although still worn in industry and RIGHT: Square back of Osh Kosh
bibs with elasticated braces.
unknown brand agriculture in the US, denim bib or
dungaree overalls are now inextricably
denim work linked in the public imagination with the
Great Depression era of the 1930s. This
bibs is largely because of the documentary
photographic work of the likes of
1930s Dorothea Lange and Mike Disfarmer, but
also through cinematic representations
of the time, such as John Fords movie of John Steinbecks 1939 novel
The Grapes of Wrath. The decade saw large-scale migration of those
in search of work; bib overalls, widely worn by people in those areas
worst hit by the economic and social catastrophe, in particular those
dependent on mining, logging and crop farming (which suffered a 60
per cent drop in prices), came to symbolize the unemployment crisis.
The two styles shown here both date from the late 1930s. One
unidentified model has, over the years, undergone multiple repairs,
including the use of starburst and wreath pattern buttons more
commonly associated with military clothing as late as the Vietnam War.
The other pair distinctive for its contrast green reinforcement stitching
and the red and white elasticated section of its braces has a much
better understood story.
These overalls were made by Osh Kosh BGosh, one of the oldest
workwear companies, launching in 1895 as the Grove Manufacturing
Company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and specializing in hickory stripe
(thin blue and white stripe) bib overalls. It adopted the characterful
name of Osh Kosh in 1897, but started to label its clothing Osh Kosh
BGosh from 1911. Legend has it that one of the companys then owners,
William Pollock, had heard the phrase used in a vaudeville skit.
The company found new life in the late 1960s, when it discovered
a new demand for the small-scale bib overalls it produced for children,
although more as novelty items than as a serious business concern.
When a mail-order company selling Osh Kosh BGosh decided to
include a pair, it was inundated with orders for 10,000. A new business
in childrenswear was launched, one that by the 1980s had eclipsed the
companys workwear heritage.

below lEFT: Front of Osh
Kosh bibs.

opposite: Victory wreath

buttoneddenim bibs.


INDEX A bamboo
for braces
61, 213, 219
brass 71, 78, 179, 228
Page numbers in bold indicate illustrations Abbey Leather 36 collar fastenings 30, 59
accessories see bags; belts; packs; wallets compressed fibre 168
Aero Leather Company 156, 159 covered 15
aiguillettes 114 cuff fastenings 50, 57, 228, 255
air force clothes 1001, 13867, 2023 donut 273, 294
Aircraft Appliance Corporation 138 fish-eye 50
Alaska Sleeping Bag Company 85 four-button closures 24, 71, 226
Albert Gill Ltd 200 gilt 223
alpaca 143, 159 glass 270
ammunition workers overshoes 2567 hunt 71
anoraks 645, 1223 see also parkas leather 57
Arctic Insulated Clothing Inc. 251 metal 75, 77, 255, 270
armpit breathing holes 52, 200 neck fastenings 168, 170, 194, 265, 272
army clothes 1089, 111, 1223, 128, 1307, 16875, 17887, outsize 75, 78, 162, 179
1904, 196201, 2045 patterned 75, 78, 223, 294, 296, 298
Arthur Miller company 238 plastic 196, 242
aviators kit bag (USAAF) 1401 pocket fastenings 64, 77, 88, 173, 249
removable 262, 272

B split-pin
118, 217, 237
B-7 flight jacket (USAAF) 1567
B-15 flight jacket (USAAF)
B3 flying suit and boots (USAAF)
823, 1401, 173
Bakelite 242 camouflage 132, 136, 156, 168, 186, 190, 193
barathea 109 canvas 63, 78, 80, 92, 118, 134, 140, 200, 256
J. Barbour & Sons 41, 42, 69, 124, 128 see also duck fabric
Baxter, Woodhouse & Taylor 147 caps 245
beaver tail flaps 162, 167 car club jacket (Champion) 501
Belstaff 41, 45, 46, 120 Castell & Son 15
belts 57, 61, 114, 162, 196, 217, 223, 244, 270, CC41 clothes 1617, 22
2845 see also buckles Champion 48, 50
bib overalls 275, 2969 Channel jacket (Luftwaffe) 1601
Big Smith company 269, 279 Chindits sweater (British Army) 194
blazers 1417, 201, 245 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 195
boat cloth 159 coats
Bolenium 26 deck 119
Bolton twill 262, 272 double-breasted 119, 196, 200
Bonedry 291 driving 30
boots 134, 150, 176, 177, 202, 203, 2523, 2901 duffel 11617
boro jacket 2201 greatcoats 2045
braces 61, 147, 213, 217, 219, 223, 296 hunting 701, 869
braiding 109, 113, 223 jeep 1845, 1967
British Army 111, 128, 136, 176, 185, 186, 190, 193, 194 sailing 523
British Special Forces 190 trench 72, 1989
broad arrow symbol 176, 177 walking 689, 723
broadcloth 17 cold-weather clothes 845, 1627, 1745, 178, 244, 2501
Buckaroo ranch jacket (Big Smith) 2789 see also mountain clothes; skiing clothes
buckles 38, 145, 153, 168, 185, 199 collars
Buhrke Industries 284 buttoned 30, 59
Burberry 72, 199 caf racer-style 38
buttonholes 31, 57, 213, 242, 269 eagle 42, 128
fur 143, 145

lined 42, 52 asymmetric 120, 131, 145, 170 hoods 64, 66, 85, 117, 120, 159, 173, 183, 251
oversize 203 buckle-back 21617, 224, 270 horn 31, 131, 194
round 38, 208 clips/clasps 131, 247, 249 horsehide 99, 156, 203, 244
shawl 196 drawstrings 83, 120, 186 hunting clothes 13, 57, 701, 749, 8495
stand-up 179, 237, 265 laces 59, 118, 131, 134, 170, 253, 267, 291 Hussars tunic 1089
stitching 185 latches 52, 63
college clothes see university clothes
124, 223, 225
press-studs 30, 127, 128, 134, 136, 143, 159, 200, 203, 279
42, 122, 127, 147, 159, 167
117, 120, 131, 154, 162, 167, 237
cord 83, 93, 159, 237 see also buckles; buttons; straps; zips Indian Army 132
corduroy 42, 52, 75, 214, 244 Fearnought smock and jacket (Royal Navy) 2367 indigo dye 221, 223, 269
cotton felt 237, 238 International motorcycle jacket (Barbour) 41, 423, 124, 1289
dyed 178, 221, 223, 228 Field Master jacket 92, 935 Irvin 1512

lining 31, 46 fire-resistance 118, 147, 223, 225, 237, 247

41, 69, 122
52, 119, 259
firemens clothes
fishing/fishermens clothes
2225, 2469
801, 25861 J
waxed 41, 45, 46, 69, 124, 127, 128 crotch 136, 145, 162, 167 jackets
see also canvas; duck fabric; kapok; sateen; twill; Ventile pockets 31, 59, 61, 134 biker 31, 38, 124, 131, 276
coveralls 267, 275 storm 52, 120, 127, 143, 170, 200 bomber 967, 1001
cuffs fleece 31, 153, 161 CCC 195
belted 75, 199 flocking 48 cropped 31, 80
buckled 168 flying clothes and accessories 367, 13857, 1601, Denison 128, 1323, 1367
buttoned 50, 57, 228, 255 2023 see also paratrooper clothes donkey 238
cord-lined 93 foul-weather clothes 119, 1201, 124, 2589 double-breasted 31, 223, 239
double 205 P. Frankenstein & Sons 154 driving 30
internal 168, 244 fur 85, 143, 145, 174, 205, 251 fishing 801
knitted 132, 137, 143, 159, 244, 251 flying 367, 1423
zipped 161
G high-buttoning
24, 57, 75, 244, 280
13, 57, 701, 749, 925

D gabardine
61, 72, 136
303, 3543, 99, 1003, 143
313, 35, 38, 124, 12831, 276
D-2 mechanics parka (USAAF) 1589 Gebirgsjger (German Army) 168 mountain 667, 1723
D-rings 199 Gieves Ltd 113, 114 sailors 15, 233, 2347
denim 214, 231, 255, 262, 269, 270, 273, 279, 294, 296 Globe Manufacturing 247, 249 tweed 567, 21011
Denison smocks 128, 1323, 1367 gloves 289 see also gauntlets work 2267, 239, 2445, 2545, 2625, 2689, 27281
despatch riders clothes 1301, 2001 goatskin 131, 156, 205 see also blazers; tunics
driving clothes 2630, 66 see also motorcycle clothes goggles 151, 153 James Grose Ltd 32, 34
duck fabric 87, 91, 195, 247 gold trimmings 113, 114, 223 Japanese Army 180
dungarees 2969 Goodyear Rubber Company 244 Japanese Merchant Navy 233
Dura Craft 48 goose down 85, 251 jeans 208
Duxbak 87 Grenfell cloth 66 jerkins see vests
dyes and dyeing 66, 136, 153, 168, 178, 221, 223, 228, 269 grosgrain 17 John Hammond & Co. 117, 241
gussets, arm 78 John White company 176

embroidery 15, 21, 22, 50, 103, 231, 241
epaulettes 114, 185, 194, 223, 228 Harrods 23, 66 kapok 145, 147, 185
hats 2589 keepsakes 11011

F HBT see herringbone twill

heated clothes
145, 147
King Kard Overall Co.
kit bags
111, 145, 179, 180, 233
facings 57, 196, 251, 273 helmets 151, 153 Knickerbocker Knitting Company see Champion
factory workers clothes 26, 208, 256 Hercules 99 knitted garments 23, 2601
farm labourers clothes 21415, 296 herringbone twill 178, 223, 224, 225 Kriegsmarine foul-weather deck coat 119
fastenings hi-vis clothes 52, 95, 138, 147, 154, 247, 249, 251, 259

Merchant Navy 233, 267 envelope 55

L metal workers clothes

military clothing
2545, 2645
42, 57, 72, 91, 1067, 231
31, 59, 61, 134, 269
mineworkers accessories 284 game 57, 75, 77, 87, 88
labourers clothes 136, 21011, 214 mohair 145 hand-warmer 85, 93, 174, 244
laces/lacing 59, 118, 131, 134, 170, 253, 267, 291 moleskin 42, 128 map 64, 145, 156, 161, 162, 167, 200
lapels 17, 21, 213, 241 Moss Bros and Co. Ltd 1989 patch 41, 85, 93, 156, 179, 237, 255, 267, 273
Lawrence Nedas and Co. 124 motor racing clothes 267, 42, 66 pen 143, 162
leather motorcycle clothes 315, 3847, 124, 127, 12831, 2423 pleated 235
belts 2845 The Motorist 78 poachers 57, 77, 88
buttons 57 mountain clothes and accessories 12, 545, 627, 72, 16873 pouch 93, 147, 251
clips 143 mouton fur 143 side 88, 145, 228, 273, 286
gauntlets 151 muslin 145 slash 113, 143
helmets 151, 153 ticket 24
303, 3543, 99, 1003, 143
131, 253, 291
85, 241
N zipped
Pony Express riders letter wallet
postal workers jackets (Spanish)
64, 122, 173
patches 91, 92, 159, 210, 238 naval clothes 11227, 128, 2307 pressure jerkin (RAF) 1545
reinforcements 63, 91, 127, 156, 167, 238, 239, 241 neck and neck fastenings prisoner of war clothes 1768
straps 83, 153 buttoned 168, 170, 194, 265, 272
see also sheepskin
91, 156, 251
120, 122, 159
120, 131, 167, 237
Lee 275, 276 V-neck 23, 194 quilting 32, 34
leisurewear 1213, 208 Newey press-studs 127, 128, 136, 200
Levi Strauss & Co.
Lewis Leathers
208, 275
223, 229, 265 see also Duck fabric
Norfolk jackets
120, 138 R
143, 159
131, 196, 276
O RAF Mountain Rescue Service
railway workers clothes
162, 186
208, 2401, 2745
48, 168
corduroy 42, 52, 128 191LB work jacket (Lee) 276 Reed Products Inc. 143
cotton 31, 46 Osh Kosh BGosh 296 reinforcements 34, 41, 66, 92, 242, 262, 272, 286, 294,
fleece 31, 161 overalls 267, 136, 1445, 1923, 275, 2889, 2969 296 see also under leather
floating 196 repairs 92, 209, 210, 217, 219, 221, 269, 280, 286, 296
145, 185
85, 241
P revers
reversible clothes
riding boots
208, 226
168, 174
linen 229 packs 623, 173 Rotherex 262, 272
mohair 145 padding 34, 147 Royal Air Force (RAF) 138, 145, 147, 1501, 153, 154, 167
moleskin 42, 128 paratrooper clothes 1327 Royal Canadian Air Force 100
sheepskin 150, 151, 153, 244 parkas 55, 845, 156, 1589, 16271, 180, 18182, 2501 Royal Canadian Mounted Police 253
tartan 42, 69, 73 patches 57, 91, 92, 111, 159, 194, 210, 238, 269, 286 Royal Navy clothes 113, 117, 118, 120, 124, 128, 237
Tattersall 71 Perfecto biker jacket (Schott) 38, 131 rubberized fabrics 52, 119, 145, 154, 168, 200, 259
ticking 210 Phantom racing jacket (Lewis Leathers) 389 rucksacks 173
velvet 113, 114, 124 piping 21, 223, 241 rugby shirts 22
wool 32, 127, 131, 167, 242 pique (coutil) 75
Long-Range Desert Group (LRDG)
196, 238, 242
57, 235, 279
168, 170, 171, 193
bellows 57, 134, 267 sailing clothes 523

M buttoned
for cartridges
64, 77, 88, 173, 249
173, 178
88, 93
salt and pepper fabric
223 see also firemens clothes
138, 190
M1942 paratrooper jump jacket (US Army) 1345 chest 122, 128, 131, 145, 170, 173, 174, 178, 200, 279 sateen 91, 143
M1934 water-repellent jacket (Civilian Conservation Corps) 195 concealed 88, 134 school clothes 201
mackinaw coats 1967 for documents 131 Schott 38, 131
C.H. Masland & Co. 91 drunk 41, 124, 128 sealskin 29

seams 72, 120, 195 trousers wallets 2823
Selfridges 139 buckle-back 21617, 224, 2867 waterproofing 64, 69, 72, 80, 120, 122, 167, 195, 200, 225
sheepskin 92, 143, 150, 151, 153, 156, 161, 244 cropped 32 waxing 41, 64, 69, 80, 195
shirts 22, 489, 178 flared 118, 267 A. Whyman Ltd 196
shoes 2567 see also boots high-waisted 213, 217, 223 windproofing 87, 120, 136, 137, 143, 145, 167, 190, 200, 251
shoulder tabs 156, 185 see also epaulettes hunting 901 wolverine fur 85, 174, 251
Sidcot flight suit (RAF) 1445 laced 59, 118, 267 wool 23
side adjustors 36, 131 military 118, 176, 178, 1867, 1901 coats 117
skiing clothes 5961 motorcycle 445 collars 196
sleeve inners 52, 161 naval 118, 2667 cuffs 132, 137
smocks prisoner of war 176, 178 jackets 201, 97, 99, 238, 239
foul-weather 2589 skiing 601 lining 32, 127, 131, 167, 242
military 128, 1323, 1867, 190 turn-ups 213 patches 80
mountaineering 545 wide-leg 118, 267 sweaters 23, 2601
sailors 23023, 2301, 2367 work 21419, 2867, 2945 trousers 61
walking 645 tunics 1089, 180, 183, 223, 225, 2289 see also barathea; felt; gabardine
see also parkas tweed 57, 210, 213 workwear 26, 87, 99, 159, 2089
Solway Zipper walking jacket 689 twill 136, 145, 178, 196, 233, 262, 272
Special Boat Service
Sport Chief
97 U Y
sportswear 12, 10103 Yarmouth 52
Stohwasser & Co. 109 uniforms
F.A. Stone and Sons
submariners clothes
38, 66, 83, 127, 153, 183, 199, 200, 203, 282
42, 119, 124, 128
111, 179
suede 153 naval 15, 11215 zips
suits prisoners 179 asymmetric 31
buoyancy 1469 RAF 162 cuff fastenings 161
flight suits 1445 summer 179 flapped 203
foul-weather 1201, 124 tropical 1803 half-length 136, 137
motorcycle 325 Union-alls 275 lightning 42, 127
siren suits 26 university clothes 1417, 989, 1023 off-set 143
tank suits 1923 Ursula suits 42, 1247, 128 pocket fastenings 64, 122, 173
three-piece 21213 US Army 134, 138, 173, 174, 1789, 196
tweed 21213 US Army Air Force (USAAF) 138, 140, 147, 151, 156, 159
walking 589 US Navy 231
see also Ursula suits USAAF C-1 survival vest 1389
survival vests 1389, 154 USARP (US Antarctic/Arctic Research Program) 251
sweaters 23, 61, 194, 2601 utility clothes 1617, 22
sweatshirts 23, 48
Swedish Army 131
T varsity clothes see university clothes
Velcro 120, 251
tabs 147, 156 velvet 113, 114, 124, 223, 225
tartan 42, 69, 73 Ventile 64, 167, 251
Taylor suits 1469 vests 1389, 154, 2423
Teddy Boys fashion style 24 Vetra 288
10th Mountain Division (US Army) 173, 174 The Vintage Showroom 79, 13, 107, 209
Thor 64
Trialmaster motorcycle jacket (Belstaff)
401, 467, 124 W
fur 85, 174, 251 waistcoats 24, 21011, 213, 2701
gold 113, 114, 223 waists/waistbands 64, 143, 213, 267
leather 91, 156, 251 walking clothes 589, 649, 723

the authors
Josh Sims is a freelance style writer who contributes
to The Financial Times, The Independent, The Indepen-
dent on Sunday, Mail on Sunday, Channel 4, the BBC,
Esquire, GQ, Wallpaper* and i-D. He is the author
of Rock/Fashion, A Dictionary of Fashion Designers,
Mary, Queen of Shops, and for Laurence King Icons of
Mens Style and Cult Streetwear
Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett are co-founders
of The Vintage Showroom, a definitive collection of
20th-century menswear. With over 35 years knowl -
edge and experience of vintage clothing between them
their collection has become a must-see destination for
fashion designers from around the world.

hanks to all our team at the Vintage Showroom,

T especially Simon McLean for his help with the

book. The business is like a second family for
us and without the hard work of Simon, James,
Paul, Bhavesh, Caleb, Snaily, Moon and Nic we would
not have been able to develop it in the way we have.
Special thanks to Nic Shonfeld for doing such a great
job in photographing our treasured pieces!
We also need to thank those whose advice, help
and knowledge has been of immense value to us
over the years: Jessie Girard, Richard Lambert, Chris
Russell, Darren Smith, Lee Barber, Peter Hawkins, Toby
Bowhill, Ian Paley, Jason Sharp, Simon Andrews, John
Hamilton, Adam and Mark, and Paul Robinson.
Last, but by no means least, thanks to our wives
and families for putting up with us and our obsession!