Great discussion guys. It's good to see folks that use these things pipe up and give us good tips of the trade.
On SgtMaj's. On behalf of soldiers and marines everywhere, I would just like to say "Chapeau" to all the SF dudes who spiked their BP's with their non-std kit. Well done lads.
On buttons. But they are so Ally. But yeah, exposed buttons look magnificent on garrison troopers, not so good in the field. I think 490 has it; covered Canadian buttons; big fat ones. Crossfire did this on their smock and it makes sense. On the gloves n mitts thing, yeah I should have said with just gloves on. I like mitts on dummy cords, with contact gloves underneath, so I can pull them off, get into whatever, and go forth smartly. I was thinking the Velcro would work well with the gloves still on.
On smock availability. You can still get pretty good deals on used surplus smocks from Old Blighty (and occasionally Canada) on ebay. The shipping isn't too bad either. They are giving away the old DPM ones, and a bit more for the MTP stuff. Most are later patterns with covered buttons, so there you are. I can't imagine your local "cleaners/alterations" shop not being able to handle these mods; everyone I've ever seen has a good industrial machine perfectly capable of handling the work. There are sizing charts out there to translate sizes. A 180/104 is roughly a Large Long with a shit-ton of room for layering. Make sure it's genuine surplus with MOD label.
SASS. OOB as far as I know.
DZ Gear. Same same, which is a shame. Really nice kit.
Arktis still makes nice stuff. Several different styles to choose from. Just love that jungle shirt too. Have to get that one of these days. Still reasonably priced as compared to Gucci brands.
Jay Jay's. Really nice kit. Light weight like the old classic smocks, but made with the newer material, like the L5 softshells (which IMHO, are the grandsons of this smock). Still might need some mods, like righthand zip, covered buttons, and shoulder pockets, but all n all, a great base to start from.
Crossfire. Coming soon. New material and innovative construction techniques. Round hood (!), covered buttons, shoulder pockets. These guys have worn smocks before too. In AusCam but OCP on next run (he said hopefully).
Footnote: AusCam is really growing on me.
Then there are the usual suspects: Beyond Clothing, Patagonia, Arctyrex, Wild Things, etc. who make L5 "softshells" which let's face it, are direct descendants of the windproof smock. Some of them have made Gucci smocks, in the classic pattern, but charge out the ass for them. Which is neither here nor there, but it is a lot easier to kit up at 150 a pop, versus 400+.
Then you have PCU/ECWS stuff from ORC, Propper, etc, which are L5 softshells at a more reasonable price point. Not exactly windproof smocks, in the classic sense, with all the pockets, but as far as layering goes, pretty damn close. You can find these from time to time on ebay too.