This sweater was standard issue to all aircrew personnel in the Royal Air Force during WWII, forever associated with Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters. Classically worn under the sheepskin flying jacket or tunic, RAF aircrew favored the roll-neck sweater as one of the better items of issue clothing that could be worn as extra insulation under the sheepskin flying suit. So practical and comfortable was this garment for combat flying, even some USAAF personnel traded with RAF aircrew to obtain one for wear under their flying kit.
We have copied this highly desirable garment to our usual high degree of authenticity. Like the original examples, our sweater is made in England from 100% pure English wool in Ecru (unbleached white). It is knitted to exactly the correct spec: there are no shoulder or side seams (the body, front and back are knitted in one piece), two diamond-shaped cotton reinforcements are sewn inside where the collar joins the shoulder (just as on the original), a proper Air Ministry spec. label with king’s crown is woven in red thread on a white backing, and the rear portion of the knitted bottom skirt band contains a series of individual knots, with the number of knots designating the size of the sweater - a detail found only on an original sweater and ours!
This is the perfect companion to any of our RAF jacket styles or, as many RAF veterans will attest, just a good-looking classic sweater that can be worn with one’s gentleman’s attire or on its own.
Available in sizes 36 - 48. Please see our SIZING TIPS for advice on how to get the correct fit.
Imported from England
WWII RAF Aircrew Sweater
About this Style: This sweater is manufactured from wool knit woven to be somewhat loose and porous, thus it will readily stretch and drape nicely with the body shape; most body types can be accommodated in this style without difficulty.
Tip 1: Follow the instructions entitled “How to Use Product Measures to Obtain a Good Fit” listed under the PRODUCT MEASUREMENTS tab for this product. After finding no substantive conflicts with your body measures obtained from the tab entitled BODY MEASURING, order this garment with no less than 3” of room in excess of your chest measure if you prefer a trim fit throughout, thus if you have a 40” chest circumference measure, order size 40. If a roomier or longer fit is desired, then order the next available size after reviewing all relative measures that pertain to that size. Those whose chest measure falls on an odd number, such as 41” or 43”, will have to determine if they want less room or more room when selecting a sweater size.
Tip 2: The vast majority of our customers are pleased with the fit if they order a size with a numerical value equal to their chest measure, thus an individual with 40” chest circumference measure should order size 40 unless that individual is so tall as to require going up one or more sizes to obtain the sleeve and back length they require for satisfaction.
Tip 3: Please note that your chest circumference measure is not necessarily the labeled size you wear in another jacket or sweater you may own from a different maker or even the same maker, so please take the time to obtain your true chest circumference measure so as to compare to our chart of sweater measures; this will enable us to perform a better job getting you the right size and minimize your chances in having to deal with the hassle and cost of exchanges.
Please ask us for fitting advice if in doubt.
Tip 4: Individuals who prefer looser fits and/or those with a waist measure that is nearly equal to or greater than their chest circumference measure may jump up one size in this sweater for comfort and desired fit (when we refer to waist measure we do not mean your trouser size; we mean the actual circumference measure of your waistline at its widest point). If you are unsure of the size to order we will assist you; please contact us with the following information: Height, waist circumference measure, chest circumference measure and body weight, as well as the type of fit you prefer: Trim, roomy or oversized.
WWII RAF Aircrew Sweater
The following table provides actual product measures. These measures are provided as an aid because, in conjunction with the information found under the SIZING TIPS tab for each product, they can sometimes be very useful when comparing the measurements from this garment to the measures of your body; however, acting as an armchair tailor should be done with caution, as well as with knowledge of other important areas of fit that are not displayed here. Armchair tailors frequently fail to take into account other significant elements that impact fit; following the information found under the SIZING TIPS tab for each garment on this web site is strongly suggested, which can be very useful in supplanting or supplementing the listed measures below.
Our measures were derived from averaging measurements taken from many garments of the same size from each specific size in the range of any given product, thus the measures provided are representative for each size but they may not be exactly what you will receive. Some fluctuation in size is normal and to be expected, especially in these garments that have been manufactured on the bench by hand. Size fluctuations are rarely encountered in the width measures and more typically encountered in length measures, and particularly with respect to leather jackets and jackets with knit cuffs and waistbands. Fluctuations in width measures are very rare, and when they are encountered, are typically insignificant: 1/8” – ¼”. Normal fluctuations of measure in sleeve and/or body length + /- a ½” are more common but still rare, and such fluctuations in that increment range are within spec. for jackets of the same size and style.
How to Use Product Measures to Obtain a Good Fit:
1) Using the measurements listed for this product and information found under the tab entitled MEASURING GARMENTS to understand our measuring technique, please double the chest measure to obtain the total external chest circumference of this garment. For example: If the chest measure listed for size 40 is 21.5”, doubling this measure yields a 43” external chest circumference.
2) Measure your chest circumference as per the tab on this web site specifically addressing BODY MEASURING, then compare your chest measure to the chest measure of this product.
3) Many sweaters are cut in such a way that the wearer requires no less than 2” of room in the sweater for a sleek fit that is also comfortable, while other sweater styles require the wearer to have more than 6” of room. If your chest circumference is 40”, a product with a 21.5” chest width has a 43” external chest circumference and would provide 3” of external room in this scenario (chest measures 40”, external chest measure of jacket is 43”, thus 3” of external room would be realized).
4) Again, using the measurements listed for this product and information under the MEASURING GARMENTS tab to understand our measuring technique, add half of the shoulder width to the arm length. For example: If the shoulder width is 18.5” and the arm length is 22.5”, adding 9.25” (half the shoulder width) to 22.5” (the arm length) will yield an overall sleeve length of 31.75” in this product.
5) Measure your overall sleeve length following the instructions on this web site under the tab specifically addressing BODY MEASURING, then compare your overall sleeve length to this product.
6) If desired, repeat the measuring comparisons for back length.
7) Compare your body measures to the listed garment measures and follow the advice found under the SIZING TIPS tab to obtain a good fit.
IMPORTANT: Because you need room in a garment for comfort, garments with a 44” chest circumference are NOT a size 44, nor are they intended for anyone with a 44” chest circumference. Tee shirts and thermal shirts tend to have the most body-hugging fits of our product offerings because these were originally intended to be undergarments, thus these can be ordered to stretch to fit if that is how you wish to wear such garments. Other shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. will all have some amount of room incorporated in their designs, thus these will all measure larger than your actual chest measure by varying degrees.
Sometimes-Problematic Way to Determine a Good Fit:
Due to differences in how even near-identical garments are cut by different manufacturers, it is not necessarily a good idea to compare the listed measures of this product to the measures of an existing, similar product in your wardrobe to determine the correct size to order in this product. Though such comparisons can indeed work some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, vast experience with and knowledge of the products we market has proven such practices will sometimes fail. This inaccurate measuring methodology doesn't factor in other key variables of fit relative to you and the garment that includes: Armhole opening, shoulder slope, high-point shoulder, high chest, width of sleeves at all points including the all-important elbow, waist measure, and the thickness, plumpness, and rigidity of the material the garment is made from, naming just some variables influencing fit that do not appear on any list of measurements for a garment or that a customer is likely to account for.
A Good Fit:
This is highly subjective - what one person may think is too big, another may think fits perfectly. Some garments are cut quite generously and others are cut quite trimly. If comparing measurements of one of our products to another you may own, some individuals will surely find that none or maybe only one area of measure is commonly shared or remotely close to being the same. Ultimately, chest measure is the most important area to properly fit, then all other areas of measure will have to fall into place. And some individuals who are extremely tall may find that body and/or sleeve length are more important to accommodate than even chest measure.
It is best to compare your actual body measures to the listed measures of this product AND follow our advice listed under the SIZING TIPS tab specific to this product to obtain a good fit in this style.
We strive to create a crisp fit between our products and the customer, and not a loose, sloppy look. If you prefer your clothing to fit more loosely, then we will do our best to work with you to that end, though, by the very nature of our product designs and fits it may not be possible to duplicate the slack looks found in many mainstream clothing brands even if you go up one or two sizes in our products.