Australian Convict Uniforms

Here’s a curious thing. Above is what the Australian government used to make their convicts wear. The broad arrow you see on the pants originate from the UK, which used to be put on government owned property (such as their convict uniforms and military items). Today, it’s been used by designers such as Nigel Cabourn for decorative effect. Dare I say, the UK version of broad arrow convict pants look much more stylish, and I can can see them being recreated today and sold at fashion boutiques for a crazy price. 

To be fair, the Australian ones were made to look silly on purpose. These were used in the mid-19th century to distinguish repeat convicts from others. The loud, bi-color design was made so that their wearers would feel humiliated and stand out in a crowd (thus preventing any escape attempts). The long trousers had broad arrows stamped on them, and the jacket was unusually short and had a high, stand-up collar. The cloth used was also a very itchy woolen, apparently so that the wearer would be extra uncomfortable (I mean, what’s up with that hat?). Prisoners who wore these were nicknamed “canary men.” 

(Photo via New South Wales Government page on “A Convict Story”)

Patrick Johnson seems like a sensible guy. A lot of really reasonable guidance here.

What I like most is Johnson’s emphasis on not taking yourself too seriously - it’s easy to get caught up in rules and regulations, but you will look your best if you’re happy and comfortable and enjoying your clothes.


Some very VALID POINTERS from Patrick Johnson

  • Start with navy
  • Take your time
  • Don’t copy, be yourself.. Don’t go into a tailor with your “web clippings” & you know what I mean
  • Stay away from tight.. Something I keep on saying
  • Nothing is perfect, the amount of emails I get asking about “definitive” measurements etc. make me want to eat “moth balls”
  • Canvas not fussing
  • Don’t take yourself to serious
Instead of online window shopping your $200+ dollar ties, please donate to every day hero, and support the fight against prostate cancer here

(Source: modernartillery)

Australian Mugshots from the 1920s from the book City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1947, via Awesome Robo and Patton Oswalt.

(Thanks, Kurt.)

"MistahWong" is always on the road for business, and lives out of a suitcase as he travels from his home in Australia to Oceania and Southeast Asia.  That makes his difficult achievement - perfectly elegant warm-weather casual clothes - all the more remarkable.

This is a very simple outfit, but the quality and fit are absolutely impeccable.  It’s also perfectly accessorized, with a beautiful pair of suede Alden chukka boots, what look like Randolph Engineering aviator sunglasses, some charming beads and a lovely rucksack.