Sailor Suits: Gender Garments

Figure 1.--This American brother and sister were photographed in the late 19th centuiry, we would guess in the 1880s. Note that the boy is wearing a classic sailor suit. The girl wears a dress with destinctive sailor elements.

Girls first wore sailor dresses with elements of sailor styling. Only gradually did those dresses begin to look more and more like middy blouses. Eventually girls not only wore sailor dresses, but middy bloses and skirts. Middy blouses became very popular for girls in the early 20th century. Of course when girls began wearing middy blouses, they became less opular with the boys. Little boys appear to have worn early sailor dresses. Girls dresses from a fairly early period appear with elements of sailor styling before they can be called actual sailor dresses. Conventions varied greatly over time and between cuntries. Girls may have worn sailor suits with bloomers. HBC has not noted sailor suits with trousers, either short or long trousers. Girls did wear sailor tunics like the ones worn by boys.


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Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web sailor pages:
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Created: 4:15 AM 6/20/2004
Last updated: 4:15 AM 6/20/2004