Red Cross Playsuit

The other day I went out with my friend Sarah, who is a stellar hot rod photographer, in addition to working at Antique Alley.  We both had some clothes to sell and we stopped in at Buffalo Exchange and Red Light, which have an abundant amount of Halloween costumes out. Most vintage gals know that Halloween is the best time. Many stores hoard loads of vintage as well as other “odd ball” garments to put out for Halloween…and it is on a Halloween rack that I found this…

Yes, it’s a romper, but it has an American Red Cross Military Welfare patch on the left sleeve, as well as ARC buttons.  The inside only has a small size label of a size 12.  That size, combined with the fact that the garment has shoulder pads as well as the construction leads me to believe that it is from WWII.

The thing is, I can’t seem to find a single darn thing about an ARC romper on the internet, even on the ever thorough Blitzkrieg Baby site!  I’ve tried “playsuit”, “gym uniform”, “exercise”, and “physical fitness uniform” as well, since participating in physical activity is the only time I can imagine this sort of outfit being worn, due to how casual it is.  I do know that the ARC Clubmobile branch wore trousers, however this bares a “Military Welfare Service” patch.

Mystery Solved!

Updated October 23, 2012.  I joined the forum at Blitzkrieg Baby where I posted images of the playsuit and Katy answered my question! “This is an ARC playsuit which was introduced during the summer of 1944 and issued to all domestic and oversea recreation workers clearing for tropic regions. Other recreation workers could purchase it at own expense (if considered necessary by the field director in charge of their activities).  The playsuit also included a skirt which was buttoned down the front.”

Image Courtesy of Katy of Blitzkrieg Baby, who received the image from authentic ARC material, compiled by Shirley Powers, ARC Volunteer-Historian.

As many of you speculated, it did come with a skirt!  So now I either have to either track down a skirt or make one! I’d still love to see a photograph of an ARC gal wearing one! That would be nifty!

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