The sailor suit during the late 19th and early 20th century was widely worn to school by boys in many Europeam countries. It was especially common in France and Germany. Interestingly it was least common in England, the country where boys first wore sailor suits and which had the most poweful navy. It was also worn in America, but perhaps because of the British connection not as commonly as in Europe. A few schools, mostly military schools hadsailor suit uniforms, but for the most part boys simply wore it because it was a common boys' clothing style. Sailor suits becan to commonly appear in the schools during the 1970s and were commonly worn through the 1920. The began to decline in popularity during the 1930s, but trends varied from country to country.
The sailor suit during the late 19th and early 20th century was widely worn to school by boys in many Europeam countries. This was not as a school uniform, with only a few exceptions. Rather they were simply a popular outfit for children. The sailor suit as children's wear in the 1840s when the British royal family began dressing the princes in Royal Navy uniforms. Gradually this began to be afopted by the wider public. Sailor suits becan to commonly appear in the schools as sailor suits began to become a major style for boys during the 1870s and were commonly worn through the 1920s. The chronological variations followed the overall popularity of the sailor suit because for the most part it was not a school uniform, but the children's basic clothing. During this period we commonly see boys wearing sailor suits to school. This can be observed in school portraits which are readily available. Here there are substantial variations from ciuntry to country as well as regional and social class variations. The sailor suit began to decline in popularity during the 1930s, but chronological trends varied substantially from country to country as did age conventions.
It was especially common in France and Germany. It was perhaps even more common in Germany than France because so many French boys wore smocks to school. HBC know less about Italy, but believes that sailor suits were also popular there. Interestingly it was least common in England, the country where boys first wore sailor suits and which had the most poweful navy. This was perhaps school clothing styles in England were heavily influenced by the clothing wormn at the private preparatory and public schools and boys art these schools did not commonly wear sailor suits. The sailor suit was also worn in America, but perhaps because of the British connection not as commonly as in Europe. The fact that girls began to commonly wear middy blouses was probably another factor. A few schools, mostly military schools had sailor suit uniforms, but for the most part boys simply wore it because it was a common boys' clothing style. The age of the children wearing sailor suits as well as the chronplical popularity varied somewhat from country to country.
The styles worn to school were most commonly the classic sailor suits based on the uniforms of enlisted men. They commonly folowed the uniform styles of the national navies. The middy blouses tended to change little, but the caps and pants did change.
The sailor suit for the most part was not a school uniform item. We have noted a few private schools in various countries that had sailor suit uniforms, but they were a negligible proportion of the overall school population. We have also noted a few other instiutions (orphanages and boy choirs) which used the sailor suit as a uniform. The sailor suit was very widely worn to school by both boys and girls, but as their ordinary clothes and not as a school uniform.
The sailor suit began as a boys' outfit. It was introduced by the British royal family for the young princes. Slowly girls began to wear sailor-styled outfits. This began in the 1870s as far as we can tell. And was well establihed by the 1890s. Girls first began wearing sailor dresses and middy blouses worn with skirts also subsequently became very popular.
Sailor suit outfits uin the late 19th and early 20th century always included a cap or hat as part of the outfit. The ther important garments were the middy blouse or jacket. There wre both pullover and front buttoning styles. They were worn with with both matching and contrasting colors. Sailor suits were worn with a variety of pants. The classic suit had bell bottom trousers. They also came with regular long pants, kneepants, short pants, and kless commonly knickers. During the winter a sailor sit might be worn with a reefer jacket.
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