** Italian sailor suits: chronology

Italian Sailor Suits: Chronology

Figure 1.--Here we have two Italian unidentified Italian siblings. It is a porstcard-back print. Thechildreb look to be about 10-15 years old. The girl weas a basic, but fashionable dress. Her little broyjrt wears a traditional sailor suit with short pants, white knee socks and white strap shoes. The sailor suit has a lanyard. His sailor blouse has stripe detailong, but not the classic three stripes. This is common with Italian sailor suits. The portrait is undated, but we suspect was taken in the late-1920s or eraly-30s. The studio was M. Mario in Rome which was emossed on the poprtrait. .

We do not yet have a lot of information on Italian sailor suits, especially during the 19th century. Our 19th century Italian archive is very limited. Italy only became unified (1860s). Austria controlled areas of northern Italy. We assume that the sailor suit was popular in the Austrian controlled areas, generally following trends in Austria itself. We just do not know about the rest of Italy. We suspect sailor suits they began to appear (1860s). The boy here is a rare image we have found of an Italian boys wearing sailor suits in the 19th centuty (figure 2). We haed no reason to believe that the sailor suit was not just as popular oiy in Itgaly as in other coninntsl counties. Thert my have been regional differences. We just do not yet have photographic evidence to substantiate 19th century trends. The style grew in popularity during the 1870s. The style by the 1880s had become a major fashion for boys. Italy like other major European powers began to build a navy, which at the time was seen as a symbol of a great nations power and status. Sailor suits were popular in both contriues with and wuthout navies. Italy began to build a substantial navy in the 20th century. As such the sailor suit be came one of the most popular styles for boys. We know much more about the 20th century we see many bits wearing sailor suits in the first half of the 20th century. As we see so many sailors suits in the 1900s decade, it suggests that thery were common in the 1890s. The styles we see are similar to the styles we see in other European countries. We note age variations over time. Italian boys wore sailor suits into their early teens, but we do not yet have a good fix on chrnological age trends. After World War II they seem to have rapidly gone out of style.


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Created: November 27, 1998
Last updated: 9:22 PM 9/23/2021