In 1846 a pint size naval uniform was made for the five-year old Prince of Wales, the later king Edward VII. Enthusiasm for the imperial navy and a gift of a sailor suit by Queen Victoria to her grandson William, later cemented the nautical outfit as the typical article of clothing for boys in England, Germany and France.
Outfits for girls quickly followed suit, the pants replaced with a short full or pleated skirt. Large sailor style collars and contrast rows of braiding decorated both girls and boys clothing through the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.
When Europe exploded into War in 1914; military chevrons, braiding and belts with buckles were seen everywhere. The sailor dress, for both girls and women, became all the rage and would remain popular through the majority of the 20th century.
Sailor styles in various forms spread worldwide once the seaside visit became the norm. Influences of nautical style are still seen today; in Japanese school uniforms, Donald Ducks’ trousers and the interminable bell bottom.
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