Suit, Utility Scheme

Suit, Utility Scheme

Single-breasted suit
Utility Scheme
1945
London
Woven wool with vertical pin-stripe
Museum no. T.304&A-1982

This is a good example of a Utility suit. During the Second World War both hand-crafted and mass-produced tailoring was as important as it is today. But, despite the best efforts of fashion designers to be inventive without wasting precious fabric, there was a very limited choice.

The Utility Scheme was introduced by the Board of Trade in 1941 to ensure that low and medium quality consumer goods were produced to the highest possible standards at 'reasonable' prices. These standards complied with restrictions and the rationing of raw materials. The word 'Utility' was applied to garments made from Utility cloth, which was defined in terms of minimum weight and fibre content per yard. Utility clothes were usually identified by a distinctive double crescent CC41 (Civilian Clothing) label.