The introduction of women into the armed services posed new problems for the office of the quartermaster general due to the assignment for clothing and equipping of these women. The Quartermaster Corps found itself in the women’s clothing business, a development it had not foreseen. It had little or no experience to draw from.
In the development of Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps clothing, three organizations played a part. These were initially the Office of the Quartermaster General, the Philadelphia Depot, and the WAAC. The OQMG was concerned primarily with the design of the uniforms and the Philadelphia Depot collected information on manufacturing procedures and made laboratory and wear tests of fabrics and items involved.
During conferences, textile decisions were made and unmade; the jacket was a prime example. It originally included a belt, then on March 25, 1942, a decision was made to eliminate the belt. Then on May 13, it was decided a detachable belt gave the jacket a more military look. The jacket issued to the first detachment of WAACs at Des Moines carried a belt 1 ¾ inches wide. Then it was promptly eliminated in the revision of the pattern in October 1942. The decision was made in favor of Army colors. The dark and light olive-drab, similar to Army shades was chosen for WAAC officer personnel. Olive-drab and light olive-drab, the standard shades for enlisted men, were selected for the enlisted WAAC. Khaki was chosen as the color of the summer uniform for all categories. At the same time, the official colors for the WAAC were chosen. Old gold and moss green were approved March 25, 1942. An item of the uniform which was adopted only after prolonged discussion and the fashioning of one to two hundred samples was the WAAC cap. Involved in this were companies such as the Knox Division, the Hat Corporation of America and the Stetson Hat Company. The visored cap was finally selected which later became known as the “Hobby Hat.”
─ Information compiled from the U.S. Army Women’s Museum Web site. Focus on the Fort is a bi-weekly feature highlighting some of Fort Lee and Quartermaster history.