An original British military issue lightweight grey flannel suit dating from the mid 1950s.
The exact origin of these suits is still somewhat of a mystery. Clearly an issue item as both jacket and trousers feature standard War Department labels; who these were actually issued to is not known. Clearly it was for men who needed to travel in plain clothes when going abroad as made clear by the 'air travel' part of the label and the lightweight half lined construction of the jacket. Interestingly with this set, the dates vary and the latter part (jacket) has a simplified title.
The suit is made from a lightweight grey flannel material typical of the era. The cut of the jacket is very traditional and would certainly pass for 1940s if not slightly earlier. It features a three button front and a lapel which is typical of the 1930-40s. The interior of the jacket is half lined with rayon and features the War Department issue label inside the pocket. THe label bears the title 'Suit Air Travel Jacket' along with the size of 9. The maker's name of 'Ideal Clothiers Limited Wellingborough' is present as is the 1957 date and the War Department broad arrow marking.
The trousers are made from the same material and have a button fly, waist adjusters, slash pockets, a ticket pocket and belt loops. All these features are typical of those which one would expect to find on a suit of this period. Again the original issue label is present to the interior and bears the title Suits S.B. 2 Piece Air Travel Trousers'. The same maker's name as found in the jacket is present along with the date of 1955 and the War Department broad arrow. Someone has marked the waist size inside the waistband in blue ink which reads '30W'.
The sizes of the suit are clearly stated on the labels but when laid flat the suit measures -
Chest - 21 1/2"
Inside arm - 17 1/4"
Outside arm - 25"
Shoulders - 17"
Length at back - 29"
Waist - 15"
Inside Leg - 30 1/2" (4" extra including turn up)
Outside leg - 42 1/2"
Rise - 14 1/2"
Rear Rise - 20"
Cuff width - 9#10""
The condition of the suit is good for its age with no serious signs of wear and use. It is completely wearable and has no serious flaws or signs of undue wear. Please take time to study the pictures and bear in mind that this is a vintage, pre-owned item which may have small issues commensurate with age.
Overall this is a very nice period suit which displays very well. The military labelling makes it a collectible in its own right and certainly this would make an interesting addition to any collection!
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