English Sailor Suit Garments: Trouser Types

Figure 1.--Here we see an English boy wearing a sailor suit. He seems to be wearing a sailor blouse with aeasted jacket over it. It klooks something like a pea jacketm but not heavy enough to be one. The cap tally is the HMS Rifleman. The boy's father may serve on the ship. It is an undatred CDV, but we would gues was taken in the 1890s. CDVs cintinued ti be common in Europe after the declined in popularity in America. The studio was Arthur Debenham on the Island of Wight (I.O.W.).

We note English boys wearing all the different types of trousers with sailor suits. This has included long trousers, including bell bottons, knee pants, bloomer knickers, and short pants. The popularity and cut of these different types varied over time, after the first sailor suits appeared affeted by general fashion trends. English boys originally wore bell-bottoms rather than long trousers or knee pants. This reflected the saolor suit chosen for Prince Bertie by the Royal Family 1946. The Royal Navy by this time were requiring enlisted men (ratings) to wear uniforms. And those Royal Navy uniforms included bell-bottom trousers. We have notice various accounts for why navies adopted bell-bottoms. Perhaps the mosr believeable is that bell-bottoms made it easy to roll their pant legs up when they swabbed the ships decks. As far as we can tell this was the first time that boys wore bell-botytoms and only with sailor suits, at leatvuntil the 1970s. Standard long pants were the first trousers we note being worn with sailor suits. As the fashion becomes increasingly fashionable and popular we begin to see other types of trousers. Bloomer knickers seem popular at mid century. The boy here waring bloomer knickers in 1879 is a good example (figure 1). Knee pants also appear, but initially they were not necesarily cut at knee length. Knee pants gradually got shorter, especially by the 1890s. We begin to see short trousers in the 20th century as knee pants gradually evolved into shorts. We do not yet have suffient English images to assess how popular the various types were. After World War I (1914-18) we only see long and short pants and no longer see knee pants and bloomer knickers that were popular in the 19th century.


Sailor Suit Country Related Pages:
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Created: 5:10 AM 7/6/2013
Last updated: 4:36 PM 10/29/2014