Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bull’s wool n.1

[UK milit. bull’s wool, coarse woollen cloth or yarn]

1. second-hand, cheap or homemade clothes; also attrib.

[[US]Carroll Free Press (Carrolton, OH) 21 Dec. 1/5: Many young men, who would have otherwise spent their twenty-five years in the bull’s wool of a private, are now basking in the scarlet commissioned coats of British officers].
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win 86: I donned the cheap bullswool suit and threw my good one away.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice in Hamilton Men of the Und. 277: I stole [...] a bull’s wool and oakum shirt.
[US]J. Black ‘A Burglar Looks at Laws and Codes’ in Harper’s Mag. CLX 308: He steps out of prison in his suit of bull’s wool, and squeaky shoes.
[Ire] Mr. Tully in Dáil Éireann 17 May n.p.: I understand we are now the only civilised nation which has still held on to what is vulgarly known as the bull’s wool uniform.

2. (US black) stolen clothes; also attrib.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 22: bullswool, n. Stolen clothing [...] bullswool thief. One who specializes in robbing clothing stores.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 17: Now the skull was draped in bull’s wool and the banter knew the play.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 37: bull’s wool thief A clothing store burglar.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

3. (Aus.) a young man with a mop of bushy hair.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 Oct. 4/7: I wanted old Bull’s Wool to ’ave a go for this ’ere seat.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 152/1: Tasmania [...] C.20.