Sailor Suit Dickey: National Trends

Figure 1.--Eagles were one of many popular motifs used on the dickies of American sailor suits. This boy's suit has a clasical eagle design, probably in the 1890s. Note the long curl on top the boy's head.

The designs on the middy blouse dickies or shields of sailor suits varies somewhat from country to country. Not all dickies had designs. Some were solid colors or stripes, but many did have designs. Some were quite elaborate embroideries with many embelishments. The photographic record makes it easy to determine the designs popular in different countries, but the type of dickey is often not apparent.





Anchors were popular on French dickies.


We see various designs on German sailor dickies. A poular design was an anchor. A good example is an Austrian/German boy in 1911.



Many of the Russian sailor suits we have noted had stripped dickies. We believe many of these were actually t-shirt like garments.

United States

American boys commonly had plain dickies and ones with embroidered desigsns. We do not see many boys with stripped dickies as were popular in Europe. Designs varied widely. Popular American designs included nautical images like anchors and ship wheels as well as military imagery like eagles, stars, and laurel reefs. We also see patriotic images like eagles and stars. We see some of the same images used in both American and Europe. Some of the American images seem bilder than ones we see in Europe. A good example is an American boy in the early 20th century with a bold star on his dickey. Unfortunately it is usually not possible from portraits and other photographs to detenire the type of dickey.


Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main sailor dickie page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web chronological pages:
[The 1840s] [The 1850s] [The 1860s] [The 1870s] [The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web saiolor pages:
[Return to the Main sailor suit page]
[Reefer jackets] [Sailor dresses] [Sailor dickies] [Other sailor styles] [Sailor hats]
[The Royals] [Ring bearer/page costumes]

Created: September 4, 1998
Last updated: 12:32 AM 3/6/2008