English Boys' Headwear: Sailor Types


Figure 1.--This unidentified English boy, probably in the 1860s wore this sailor hat with a cut-away jacket suit. This was not one of the most popular boys' styles, but it was a style worn by the Royal Navy. A ship name appears on the tally, but we can't make it out.

Engish boys have worn a wide range of headwear. Sailor headwear has been on of the most popular styles and extremly varied. It was the broad-brimmed sailor hat that was first worn. The Prince of Wales first wore a white sailor suit with a dark broad-briimed sailor hat. For some reason the broad-brimmed sailor hat became an emensely popular style, but not the dark ones. We see these wide-brimmed hats in various styles. Variations appeared in both the crown and brim. We notice flat and rounded crowns. There were also brims of different widths and configuration. After the turn of the 20th century, some of these hats had turned-down brims. We also note in the 19th century a sailor had with a narrow brim. It was dark and shiny. It seems to have been a Royal Navy style that was not very popular for boyswear. Gradually boys began wearing sailor caps as well. The initial inspiration was Royal Navy uniforms. There were many popular styles of sailor caps. The large number of sailor styles were in part due to the long period in which sailor fashions were popular for boys, about 100 years. We notice sailor hats with various size brims. There were sailor caps with flat tops, soft crowns, tams, stocking caps, and other styles. The styles usually followed the standard uniform styles of the Royal Navy, but some like tams were specifically for children.

Hats

It was the broad-brimmed sailor hat that was first worn. The Prince of Wales first wore a white sailor suit with a dark broad-briimed sailor hat. Thus we see the broad-brimmed hat from the very beginning of the era in which sailor fashions were worn by boys. For some reason the broad-brimmed sailor hat became an emensely popular style, but not the dark ones. We see these wide-brimmed hats in various styles. Variations appeared in both the crown and brim. We notice flat and rounded crowns. There were also brims of different widths and configuration. After the turn of the 20th century, some of these hats had turned-down brims. We also note in the 19th century a sailor hat with a narrow brim. It was dark and shiny. It seems to have been a Royal Navy style that was not very popular for boyswear. We have found very few images of boys wearung this hat in the photographic record. Sailor hats were worn by both boys and girls.

Caps

Gradually boys began wearing sailor caps as well. The initial inspiration was Royal Navy uniforms. The caps seem more diverse than the hats. I'm not sure hen boys begn wearing sailor caps. I think in the 1880s. There were many popular styles of sailor caps. The large number of sailor styles were in part due to the long period in which sailor fashions were popular for boys, about 100 years. There were sailor caps with flat tops, soft crowns, tams, stocking caps, and other styles. The styles usually followed the standard uniform styles of the Royal Navy, but some like tams were specifically for children. We note sailor cps almost always being orn with sailor suits. This sounds obvious, but in Europe we note sailor cps sometimes being wirn with non-sailor caps. Thid probably did not occur becaude the peaked school cap was so commonly worn during much of the erain which sailor caps were worn. Sailor caps were mostly worn by boys.






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Created: 7:12 PM 9/16/2007
Last updated: 12:42 AM 12/16/2007