Life Archive | U.S. Military Uniforms c.1941

The Life archive continues to yield cool shit, like every U.S. military kit worn in 1941. This is the kind of stuff that I want to print out and put in a wooden box and save forever. Safe to say I love it. Since these photos were taken in the run-up to the U.S. involvement in the conflict, it would be interesting to see how the uniforms changed by the time they got to 1945, especially the cavalry uniforms. Wouldn’t think they saw much action in the the war, especially the Pacific theater.


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Comments on “Life Archive | U.S. Military Uniforms c.1941

    brandon sargenton May 14, 2009 @ 9:43 AM:

    wow, this is incredible- i could look at uniforms all day. thanks for posting.

    Tintinon May 14, 2009 @ 9:45 AM:

    Those are great images. And one of them solves a mystery should you ever be confused about the Army expression, “He doesn’t know shit from shinola.”

    Popular with my father, I asked him when I was a kid, “What’s shinola?” “Boot polish.” he replied. This made no sense to me since boots were black and who the hell had black poop. But in WWII , when this became a popular expression, boots were the brown in the photo. A beautiful shade of brown that looks like…Well, you get the picture.

    jubeion May 14, 2009 @ 9:52 AM:

    I love how narrow the lasts are on those boots and shoes… how come it’s so hard to find anything remotely resembling those shoes for a reasonable price these days?

    Yet another case of “they don’t make ’em like they used to…”

    JPon May 14, 2009 @ 9:54 AM:

    I remember that expression as well. And– “shit on a shingle”. As guys, I think part of it is that we just like an excuse to say the word shit.

    Hobo Kenon May 14, 2009 @ 10:07 AM:

    They look great. No wonder that in certain parts of the UK there are people in their mid 60’s whose real dads are guys just like these !

    mxyzptlkon May 14, 2009 @ 10:15 AM:

    Crazy… we still some of those items in the Army. The mess blue uniform with the cape is still worn exactly like that today, except we wear rank on the sleeves in place of the branch insignia.

    lanceunemodeon May 14, 2009 @ 10:51 AM:

    Have you ever been to Kaufman’s Army Navy on 42nd Street? The place is kind of a mess, but if you come in with a clear piece of research (i.e. every one of these beautiful photos), the guy there can track down just about anything in a couple of weeks.

    Thomason May 14, 2009 @ 12:22 PM:

    Calvary is where Christ was crucified, but cavalry are the men on horses.

    Beautiful uniforms, though. The army made a strategic victory but a sartorial loss when they replaced OD green with camouflage.

    Michael Williamson May 14, 2009 @ 12:25 PM:

    Thanks for the correction. That’s what I get for blogging while sober.


    indiansummervintageon May 14, 2009 @ 12:52 PM:

    Oooh, I love you for this. Also love thinking of the guy who laid the socks out just so for the perfect shot.

    Nemo Wolfeon May 14, 2009 @ 1:55 PM:

    Life seemed to harbor some grudge against the Navy. The sailor suit is a little trickier to wear with panache than some of the gaudier outfits, but there was no need to stuff the nerdiest seaman available into ill-fitting dress whites.

    Anna Allenon May 14, 2009 @ 1:56 PM:

    rad! LIFE archive is amazing.

    Siong Chinon May 14, 2009 @ 2:56 PM:

    The accessories are amazing! There’s always been a fascination with uniforms, the most obvious being epaulettes. Though it never occurred to me until now – did the belt-over-jacket trend in womenswear a few years ago come to fruition from uniforms?

    Suzi-Qon May 15, 2009 @ 1:27 PM:

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