GIs Want More Form in Women’s Uniforms — Olive Drab Too Drab!

Feb. 18, 1942, Comics

Feb. 18, 1942, Olivia de Havilland in "mannish" uniform.

Feb. 18, 1942: Pvt. Fred A. Ranker of the 3rd Coast Artillery begins a campaign against what he considers women’s unflattering uniforms. On his first pass since Pearl Harbor, Ranker dashed to Hollywood Boulevard.

“Instead of the usual beauty parade, we saw hordes of mannish creatures in unpressed  ‘skibby’ khaki striding up and down the boulevard,” he said.

Feb. 18, 1942, Olivia de Havilland evening dress

The Ft. McArthur Alert — apparently the base newspaper — took up the cause and persuaded Olivia de Havilland to pose for pictures in a uniform and an evening dress.

“Even with the beauty that is hers, uniforms look mannish. They lack appeal. This should prove an eye-opener to less attractive damsels. The second picture shows the way John Soldier would like to see American women when he is given a short pass from the rigors of 24-hour duty.”

Got that gals? Put on your war paint and 86 the camouflage when you stroll Hollywood Boulevard!  [It’s a little difficult to determine what “skibby” khaki is. Any ideas among the Brain Trust?]

Feb. 18, 1942, War Ration Application Form

Feb. 18, 1942, Women's Uniforms

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About lmharnisch

I work at the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1942, Fashion, Hollywood, World War II and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to GIs Want More Form in Women’s Uniforms — Olive Drab Too Drab!

  1. sherry smith says:

    It’s war fellas, not a fashion show.

  2. Jasmijn says:

    Because women in uniform clearly joined the military because they want to look good to men. Thanks for the tip!
    Alas, today’s Army uniforms are even less flattering than their predecessors. And never mind the ACUs! — oh well, I suppose it just goes to show that they’re not being designed for attractiveness in the eyes of the male GIs after all, eh :)

  3. Angus says:

    Larry,

    The fellow who started this campaign was Fred Banker, not Ranker. Pre-war,Fred had been editor of the Screen Actors Guild newsletter, and leg-man for Hedda Hopper. I would guess this was a way of keeping his hand in the industry while serving in the Army.

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