Where can I buy a good enough/costume-quality WWII Navy or Army officer's uniform?

Discussion in 'WWII' started by BigBrother, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. BigBrother

    BigBrother New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    Hey all! I know in the world of militaria some extreme attention can be paid to detail and authenticity. I've certainly dabbled in similar fields where accuracy was key.

    This is NOT one of those searches :). For an upcoming dance, I really wanted to go WWII aviator, be it Army Air Corps or Navy. I really, really wish someone made a costume that wasn't pure garbage so I could be in and out for $100 or less, excepting the jacket.

    Something like this would be perfect:

    https://www.amazon.com/Forum-Novelties-Private-Soldier-Standard/dp/B004C63PEQ/

    if it weren't for the piss-poor reviews. (Note that after a year or two of collecting authentic enlisted sailor crackerjacks, in a pinch I had to buy this costume version:

    https://www.amazon.com/California-Costumes-Black-X-Large-Costume/dp/B00BBB642U/

    and I swear it was so good I ended up wearing it for most events. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find something equivalent for the Army officer's uniform.)

    Any thoughts? Buying it piecemeal from militaria sites will run me at minimum $250 and that's just way beyond what I can afford, not to mention above the authenticity threshold I'd need for this event.

    Thanks so much for your help all, and I hope you don't mind me asking such a "low grade" question of you!

    Best.
     
  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,226
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    My wife and I were the head costumers for a local theatre company and we needed 3 uniforms, one a size 54 US. We live 3 hours north of Seattle/Tacoma/Bremerton where with luck there are a goodly number of Army/Navy surplus stores. We spend a day scouring the sites and found exactly what we needed for well under our small budget. When we explained to the store owner why we needed the items he even offered to buy them back after the production ended. The theatre company chose to keep them as they were such great buys in the first place. How far away are you from such outlets?
     
  3. BigBrother

    BigBrother New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    There are plenty of surplus stores around (LA area), but in my experience putting together a complete, well-fitting WW2 uniform from such places is near-impossible (have not had close to the luck you had.) Also, since it's for dancing, ironically the authenticity often works to my disadvantage- heavier, less flexible fabrics. Hence looking for something costume-quality. Not a deal breaker (if someone on here were selling my exact size, everything I needed, etc. in something authentic I certainly would be interested) but if given the choice between new, light polyester and the ratty, heavy, worn wool the likes of which you usually see at surplus stores, I'd go for the former.
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    20,979
    Location:
    London, UK
    I'd suggest something like What Peice Glory ( or Soldier of Fortune). Go for the shirt/tie/ trews, wear whatever brown shoes you have. Add tunic and hat in future.
     
  5. EngProf

    EngProf A-List Customer

    Messages:
    452
    Getting the outfit that you want in OD wool would be expensive and not likely to succeed in meeting the budget limit.
    I assisted a local college in putting on a presentation of Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues" and we used Dickey's khaki work shirts and pants for the WWII uniforms. They were/are cotton, as were the original Army khakis, so they were one step better on the authenticity scale than a cheap polyester outfit (much cooler also). I can't remember the exact price but they are not that expensive.
    A cheap pair of brown plain shoes will do fine. (Goodwill or Salvation Army)
    For headgear I would suggest an overseas cap instead of the dress garrison (flat top) hat. Those can get expensive since it's hard to find a good one in your size unless your head is tiny. The overseas caps are the easiest and cheapest headgear to find, especially in khaki.
    AT THE FRONT has WWII-style khaki neckties for $15 and officers belts for $10.
    If you do find a khaki tunic in your size at an Army surplus store it will be cheaper since most reenactors don't want them.

    Since you want to do Air Corps, just put a 20th Air Force patch on the sleeve and be a B-29 pilot flying out of Guam or Tinian. In the South Pacific they wore khaki all the time - HOT!
     
  6. BigBrother

    BigBrother New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    This was FANTASTIC!!!!! I'm about to go pursue all this. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    I own at least 5 Dickies khaki shirts and a good number of their khaki trousers. I used to wear them to work, but I wear them around town, I think they look sharp and at 24.99 a shirt, they can't be beat. I wear mine into the field sometimes but without a tie.

    I believe the Dickies I own are Poly/Cotton, but the difference isn't major and they're still cool to wear with better hold on the creases.


    C.
     

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