'Victory Suit' trousers: Mr John J Dedman, Minister of the Department of War Organisation of Industry

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number REL/00039.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton drill, Polished cotton, Rayon
Maker Louis & Charles Noble
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made July 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Dark grey wool twill suit trousers with a pattern of fine alternating white and red pinstripes. There is a slash pocket in each side seam, and an inset welt pocket over the rear hip. The five button fly has two additional inner buttons at the top to close the waist. The trousers, which are cut without front pleats, have a waist band on each side of the front. The back has a central notch of lower cut than normal trousers of the period, with a pair of self fabric straps beneath with a metal buckle for fit adjustment. All buttons are of black plastic; six are sewn around the outer waist for the attachment of braces. The cuffs are 19 inches in circumference.

The waist and fly are lined with dark grey rayon; pocket bags are of heavy cream cotton drill. There is no inset change/watch pocket set into the right front waist. Instead, a black polished cotton change/watch 'bag' is sewn inside the waist where an inset pocket would have been positioned.

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History / Summary

The 'Victory suit', sometimes known as the 'Dedman economy suit' was introduced by Mr John Dedman, Minister of for War Organisation of Industry, in 1942 as part of the 'rationalisation' and control of civilian clothing during the Second World War.

The suit was designed to reduce wastage by eliminating the waistcoat and the traditional double breasted fastening of the jacket, removing cuff buttons from the jacket and cuff turn-ups from the trousers, and reducing the width of the trousers, number of pockets and length of the jacket. The material saved would be enough to make a pair of boys' short trousers.

Such was the unpopularity of the new regulation that waistcoats were reintroduced in December 1942. Double breasted jackets (and overcoats), together with trouser cuffs, were again permitted from March 1943, allegedly because there was reduced demand for woollen fabric by the military.

This suit, the first of its type, was made especially for John Dedman, who wore it during press interviews promoting the new clothing regulations.

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