Looking at Oswald Mosley's fascists "blackshirts", it struck me that the tailoring on their costumes was quite bad compared to their German counterparts.

Photos I've seen look like black boiler suits with a gold belt.

Now I know German engineering was supposed to be superior at that time. But was this also true for tailoring?

The Italians are known for good tailoring, so did the Nazis get their uniforms tailored by the Italian tailors who were governed by Mussolini at the time?

Was this simply a lack of funds on the part of the BUF? And if Oswald Mosely was friends with Hitler, why did the Nazis not help in providing better uniforms?

Or was there some other reason, for example trying to not look too ostentatious.

Was this a reason that the blackshirts were not taken very seriously because their uniforms looked so bad?

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    See Wikipedia British Union of Fascists: "the uniform chosen for members was a black fencing jacket, its colour in honour of the Italian Fascists' uniforms and its cut a nod to Mosley's proficiency at the sport." Dec 23 '19 at 5:51
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    What has your research revealed to you so far? The pictures you've seen we did not. Were the uniforms you compared really of the same time? Where have you looked so far? Dec 23 '19 at 8:31
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    A more basic problem is that this starts with your own opinion on fashion and may be read as 'asks for even more opinion others hold'. Please try to re-frame the question to a more fact-based outlook, as not to entice purely opinion based answers. Either details for the decision or process of adoption of one style or numbers from opinion polls about stylishness back then? Qualified analysis of contemporaries…? Dec 23 '19 at 8:36
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    Subjective opinion not supported by research.
    – MCW
    Dec 23 '19 at 10:41
  • @LangLangC Well I suppose one could replace "bad" with the phrase "simpler and baggier and less tailored". I think the question was answered below with the information that the Nazis found profeesionally made brown-uniforms and the Hugo Boss connections.
    – zooby
    Dec 23 '19 at 21:39

When you are roughed up by a bunch of hooligans you don't worry too much about their (lack of) sense of fashion. You have more urgent problems.

Hitler was somewhat lucky when his people found a load of tropical uniforms in a dump store for a bargain price. That's why the brown shirts wore brown shirts. Only much later was he able to afford to have Hugo Boss designing his uniforms.

Mussolini began much earlier than Hitler. By the time he was in power he could also afford pricey designers.

Oswald Mosley didn't have that luxury. His party was a fringe party, and remained a fringe party.

  • Alas, you perpetuate a myth. Roßbach was liquidating the beige-brown Schutztruppen stock of officer's Lettow shirts, yes. But for his Schill Youth making a bike tour through East Prussia. Edmund Heines then liked the cut and adopted this, newly made for the SA, with thicker cloth, now really brown, and darker brown with every batch newly made… Dec 23 '19 at 8:24
  • Please re-read the link you gave. Diebitsch and Heck were designing the SS uniforms. Boss then a contractor making them. One manufacturer of several. Dec 23 '19 at 8:27
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    Per your link, Boss didn't design the uniforms. It merely produced them. (Not that removes any of Boss' nazi affiliations, but the notion that it was Boss that designed them is not true.) Dec 23 '19 at 10:11
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    @DenisdeBernardy SA and party began as ragtag uniform (eg), necessitating the armbind. When brown became the shirt, the small tropical stock was all used up (in Austria, by Schills), Mussolini squadrista already had basic design in 1919, no pricey designer. Mosley had himself British WW1 officer tunic, only underlings were dressed like Disney's Galactic Empire officers in adapted fencing shirt… Boss had big deal, just because he was such a 'good' nazi. If the 1st sentence here read: "when you gather a bunch of hooligans…" one would be OK. Dec 23 '19 at 10:22
  • Interesting. It's fascinating how a chance encounter of a stock of uniforms may have had such a profound effect on history making a fringe party look legitimate.
    – zooby
    Dec 23 '19 at 15:21

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