Page last updated 19th January 2014

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Class A uniform for a female officer
 

Tunic  


As with the male officer's Class A jacket, the female officer's equivalent was also made from olive drab wool elastique or gabardine. It had two flapped breast pockets and two slanted flapless internal hip pockets. The jacket was fastened with four embossed brass buttons and was unbelted. Officer rank was indicated in the usual manner by the same cuff braid as with the male officer's Class A jacket.

As we haven't purchased this item we are currently unable to make any recommendations regarding suppliers. However, the following online retailers do offer the WAC officer's Class A uniform on their websites: Warhorse and Reproductions of History; Top PotsMilitary Collectibles4U.
 

Skirt  


The female officer's equivalent to the male officer's 'Pinks' was their pink (tan) skirt which was worn either with the Class A jacket to create their own 'Pinks & Greens', or with a pink (tan) or chocolate brown shirt as Class B dress.

There are quite a few online retailers who can supply this item but our firm recommendation goes to Seal Military. Their version of the officer's pink skirt is extremely well-made, of authentic colour and accurately-sized.



 

Shirt  


Although several of the main militaria suppliers offer a chocolate brown WAC officer's shirt, there is absolutely no evidence that the ladies wore anything other than light khaki. If you feel you must have a chocolate shirt, even though it is not at all authentic, we would recommend that sold by Seal Military on the basis of quality and fit.

A khaki shirt is the only correct one to wear with the WAC Class A uniform. Most online militaria retailers carry their own version, but we have yet to find one that is of the correct pattern and colour, and that buttons right up to the neck to accommodate a tie. The best alternative discovered so far is actually a current-issue British Army woman officer's No.2 Dress shirt. These are available from several military surplus traders via ebay. At a fraction of the cost of the supposedly authentic replica uniform shirts from the specialist reproduction uniform retailers, they are at least the right colour, are available in a wide range of collar and bust size combinations, and are quite an acceptable compromise.

 

Cap  


Although the WAC did have their own direct equivalent to the male officer's Service Cap, this rather unflattering and uncomfortable item of headdress known as a 'Hobby Hat' (named after the first WAC Director, Oveta Hobby) was generally disliked (see left). By far the most popular hat was the Garrison Cap (see lower left). This was a distinctly American form of headdress that was universally worn throughout the US armed services by both men and women during WW2.

The WAC officer's version of the US Garrison Cap was usually of gabardine fabric, olive drab in colour with black and gold piping. The officer's badge of rank was affixed to the left side of the cap 1" in from the front edge.

Once again most online retailers carry one version or another of this classic hat but, predictably, our vote goes to Seal Military. Their example is very well made from a good quality fabric, is fully lined and just looks right.
 



Tie


This was the same pattern as worn by the men. What Price Glory stock a very nice light khaki wool worsted tie which is sufficiently lightweight to permit the tying of a nice narrow knot.



 

Belt


This was the same pattern as worn by the men. Again, my wife's example was purchased from Seal Military as part of one of their excellent uniform package deals.

 

Shoes


The WAC had their own equivalent to the Shoe, Low Quarter, Russet, as worn by the male officers.

As with the men's version, period originals are virtually unknown on the market. However, unlike the extreme scarcity of men's repro shoes, several of the leading militaria retailers do stock a good range of sizes of reproduction WAC footwear, as do Rocknroll Products. My wife bought her pair from Soldier Of Fortune and has been very pleased with them. They are an all-leather shoe that are comfortable, well-fitting and very well-made.
 

 Hosiery


It is appropriate for ladies to wear nylons with their WAC uniform. Unlike Britain's ATS and other wartime womens' services who had to suffer the discomfort of woollen stockings, the female GIs enjoyed the luxury of proper nylons. My wife assures me that hold-ups are the way to go for a modern girl, but that they can cost anything up to 20 per pair. However, she has discovered a brand called 'New Vintage Glamour Cuban Stiletto Heel Seamed 15 Denier Hosiery Sheer Hold Ups' from a company in Hampshire called So Diva. These are very inexpensive at around 4 per pair. But at most Forties events we have attended there has been at least one trader selling seamed stockings, hold-ups and tights, so they are easily obtainable.

If you really want that authentic 1940s look, there are still original unworn pairs of silk, rayon and lisle stockings to be had on ebay and Etsy at fairly reasonable prices. These will usually come marked with the CC41 Utility Clothing symbol which will clearly indicate they were manufactured between 1941 and 1949 (see left).

 




Shoulder Bag 


Yes, even soldiers need handbags! WACs were issued with a plain brown leather shoulder bag just large enough to accommodate their necessaries. The bag was closed by a heavy-duty press-stud and had an adjustable shoulder strap.

The only suppliers that we know of who carry an authentic copy of the WAC shoulder bag are Seal Military and Soldier Of Fortune. The only slightly negative thing about this item is that it's dark brown colour doesn't really match that of the standard russet-brown WAC shoes. Otherwise they are nicely-made bags.

A quick note about the wearing of the WAC-issue shoulder bag. Originally the bag was intended to be carried on the left hip with its strap worn across the body on the right shoulder. Then the regulation changed and WACs were instructed to carry the bag on the left hip with its strap worn on the left shoulder. This was a much more elegant solution, but WACs soon found that the strap had a tendency to constantly slip off the left shoulder (as my wife can testify!) It was then planned to produce a non-slip attachment for the bag strap but finally the regulation was changed yet again and decreed a return to the original practice of wearing the strap across the body.
 


Insignia


WAC uniform insignia was essentially the same as that of the male branches of the US Army, with the exception of the very distinctive WAC branch-of-service lapel badges. A WAC who was serving with the USAAF, Signal Corps, Engineers, or any other service corps usually wore the lapel insignia of that corps. But WACs who were assigned in administrative roles to Infantry, Artillery or Armoured units wore the Pallas Athene insignia shown at left.

Soldier Of Fortune is the only supplier that we currently know of who stocks the WAC lapel insignia.





Click on the thumbnail at left for a guide as to the correct placement of badges and insignia. Shoulder patches were sewn on the left arm only, centred on an imaginary line from the shoulder seam to the cuff, the top of the patch being 1/2 inch from the shoulder seam. The patch was usually that of the parent formation to which the WAC officer was seconded. A number of WACs were assigned to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF), from where General Eisenhower commanded allied forces from D-Day until the end of the war.

 

 




Accessories


The devil is in the detail, as they say! Why not add this detail, in the form of replica ID cards and other ephemera, to your carefully recreated period ensemble? Soldier Of Fortune carry a small range of such paraphernalia.