English Boys' Sailor Headwear: Chronology

Figure 1.--This uniidentified English boy was photographed with a toy boat, probably in the 1890s. The cabinet was taken at the Hakefiekd (the script is difficult to read) studion in Brentford.

The sailor hat first appeared as a boyswear style in the 1840s when the Royal Family began dressing the princes in sailor suits. A famous painting by Winterhalter is perhaps the first known image of a boy wearing a sailot hat abd suit. The fashion gradually became popular in England, in part because of the prestige of the Royal Navy. The fashion soon spread soon spread to other countries, both in Europe as well as America. We see large numbers of images of boys wearing sailor headwear by the late-19th century. We note severalstyles of both hats and caps. This continues after the turn-of-the 20th century into the 1900s and 1910s. For some reason, however, the sailor suit declined in popularityb after World War I in England. We are not sure why this was. The sailor suit continued to be a popular sdtyle on the Continent, especially in Germzny and to a lesser extent France. We see relatively few English boys wearing sailor headwear in the 1920s and 30s and virtually none in agter World war II in the 1940s.


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Created: 2:41 AM 7/19/2010
Last updated: 2:41 AM 7/19/2010