Civilian Apparel

July 9, 1943

Report Outline
Outlook for Rationing of Wearing Apparel
Military Vs. Civilian Demand for Textiles
Civilian Purchases and the Threat of Rationing
Rationing of Clothing in Great Britain
Special Focus

Outlook for Rationing of Wearing Apparel

Uncertain Factors in Present Clothing Situation

Requirements of the armed forces for clothing, cloth and yarn have curbed production of these items for civilian use in the United States. Lend-lease requirements have added to the drain on American supplies, at a time when domestic demand has been largely expanded, due to increased purchasing power in the hands of civilians. The gap between current production and demand has raised the question whether direct consumer rationing of clothing will have to be introduced to obtain an equitable distribution of available supplies. If rationing becomes necessary, it is probable that the method employed will be on the order of the point system now in use for rationing wearing apparel in Great Britain.

Rationing may be unavoidable if lend-lease and rehabilitation demands are revised sharply upward, or if new consumer buying waves develop. The most recent scramble for clothing at retail shops occurred immediately after the unheralded announcement, February 7, of the immediate rationing of shoes. Fear that clothing rationing would follow led consumers to buy apparel in such unprecedented quantities that the Office of Price Administration asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether the run was being promoted by Axis agents.

A joint statement, February 9, by Chairman Nelson of the War Production Board and O. P. A. Administrator Brown said that W. P. B. had not ordered clothing rationing, and that O. P. A. had not set up rationing machinery.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cotton and Textiles
Oct. 11, 1985  Textiles Push for Protectionism
May 13, 1953  Troubles of the Textile Industry
Sep. 10, 1945  Plight of Cotton
Jul. 09, 1943  Civilian Apparel
Sep. 01, 1939  Cotton Exports and Export Subsidies
Mar. 22, 1937  World Stabilization of the Textile Industry
Oct. 12, 1934  Cotton Exports and Crop Reduction
Jul. 15, 1929  Labor in the South
Oct. 24, 1927  The Cotton Situation in the United States
General Defense and National Security