Nautical fashion

brooch, bird, navy, sailor, nautical, blue, white, detail outfitThe standardized Navy uniforms were introduced at the beginning of the 19th century. Soon they became popular among common people too, children to be more precise. This fashion for children was launched by Queen Victoria who dressed her son, future King Edward VII (*1841 †1910, reigned 1901-1910), in nautical styled clothes. In the second half of the 19th century nautical motives were introduced to ladies´ clothes that was designated for free time activities at seaside (remember Mrs. Lovett´s red-white striped dress in Sweney Todd?). The nautical trend did also logically manifest itself in bathing suits. During the Edwardian era (circa 1901-1910, the era is named after Edward VII) nautical features got to everyday dresses that were not worn only at the seaside. Soon nautical fashion became a recognised style that was even considered very stylish. In 1915 a loosely fitted blouse with sailor collar called Midshipman, or shortly Middy, came into fashion. They were considered as a right choice for sports or casual leisure time, because they were comfortable. They were made of various materials and colours.
During the WWI and WWII the fashion for common people was inspired by military uniforms, because it was considered patriotic to wear something similar to the clothes of the fighting soldiers. During the warfare more traditional nautical colours, white, blue, red, were worn. Then this clothes inspired with uniforms started to be made also in other colours. Soon also patterns such as anchor, star etc. appeared.
File:Edward VII UK and successors.jpg
King Edward VII /on the right/, source Wikimedia

In the 1930s Breton or French stripes were introduced in the nautical fashion. The striped shirts are typical clothes for sailors, but have you ever thought of the reason why? The dark and white stripes are easier to be spotted in the water in case there was a man overboard.  The original number of stripes was 21, as was the number of Napoleon´s victories. Stripes were also Coco Chanel´s favourite, in 1917 she introduced them to fashion through her nautical collection.
Around 1943 the nautical fashion started disappearing, probably the fabric rationing is to be blamed, until it vanished during the 1940s, only to be re-established during again in 1950s. The popularity of the naval style was nourished through popular movies too.
During the 1960s the nautical style was adapted to Mods fashion style and during the 1970s, the Hippie decade, bell bottom trousers that were part of the sailors´ uniforms became very popular. In the 1970s Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano introduced their collections that were influenced by nautical style. A very noteworthy is the fact that nautical features made it to the haute couture too! Jean Paul Gaultier used stripes in 1997 haute couture collection. We can also see that Karl Lagerfeld is loyal to the Coco Chanel´s heritage, because he was inspires by sea in his resort collections. For more inspiration you can also check Kenzo S/S 2006 collection that is all about nautical style.

nautical, sailor, navy, blue, white, retro

SFGate. Nautical wear history sails away, 7. 2. 2014.
Tuppence Ha´penny Vintage. Sailor Style Evolution: Part 1-4 , 7. 2. 2014.
Vintage Fashionistas, The. Nautical Not New. The History of Nautical Style in Fashion, 7. 2. 2014.
Wikifashion. Breton stripes, 7. 2. 2014.