Nautical fashion is among the most enduring styles of summer clothes for women and also transitions to winter.
From cotton striped tee-shirts to heavy peacoats for winter, sailor clothing influences summer fashion as well as winter style for women and men.
This sea-inspired look has two basic ingredients:
- Horizontal stripes.
- Dark blue and white color theme.
Red and Yellow Accents Brighten Sailor Look
Nautical fashion has a long history in the annals of style, and these colors emerged for sailors as early as the 1850s.
The source of the horizontal stripes as a feature of this enduring look is the Breton sailors of France.
The yellow slicker resulted from treating the canvas with linseed oil to make it waterproof.
Queen Victoria and Coco Channel Popularized Nautical Fashion
Queen Victoria decked her boys in sailor suits, creating instant success for nautical fashion for civilian wear.
Women going for a dip in the ocean, in their bloomer skirts, often wore the middy-sailor collar, with its long square back.
Coco Chanel was the next to use nautical fashion as an iconic style statement. This, of course, brought sailor-wear squarely into contemporary fashion, where it has remained ever since.
Sailors Dress Whites Made Look Sexy
World War II was the next landmark in the emergence of nautical fashion as a perennial summer favorite.
Enlisted men in their dress whites on shore leave caught the eye of many a fair maiden. “Hello, Sailor,” has become a flirtatious opening gambit to this day.
Bell-bottom pants, which offer ease of movement for completing shipboard tasks, made a huge comeback in the 1970s. They are cyclic favorites.
The middy blouse was strong throughout the 1950s, and it interpreted the sailor’s tunic with its large square shawl collar trimmed with braiding. Many a Catholic girl remembers her mother pinning a handkerchief into the deep V.
Yachting Costumes Add Class to Nautical Fashion
The passion for sailing as a leisure pursuit — especially among the wealthy at first — added another page to the history of this ever-popular look.
Well-heeled yacht owners, even when they left piloting the cruiser to a licensed captain, favored navy blue jackets with brass buttons like that on naval officers.
White slacks or cotton flannels are worn by men to achieve this version of nautical fashion. Women may wear a knife-pleated white skirt or white slacks.
The color, navy blue, has its origin, of course, in color chosen by the U.S. and British Armed Forces for officers’ uniforms.
How You Can Be Nautical
Today’s interpretations of the sailor’s striped shirt come in an array of blues and many other colors. You can find out why stripes were once called the devil’s cloth here.
They are especially sharp as summer clothes for women when teamed with sparkling white slacks.
Make sure the fabric has some Dacron or Spandex to ensure the fully-pressed look that characterizes sailors’ uniforms.
Add some fun to nautical fashion with red accessories — sandals, handbag, nail polish, and lipstick — for drama.
Appropriate jewelry includes an anchor pin or dolphin earrings.
Do Not Add Phoney Medals to This Look
What to avoid: Do not decorate yourself with medals. These are earned for bravery and service by those who serve in the Armed Forces; they are not fashion statements.
Investing in nautical fashion for your summer clothes for women wardrobe offers several benefits:
- Striped tees and white pants are familiar items easily purchased as separates.
- Slacks and tees are relatively inexpensive and often may be purchased on sale.
- The solid slacks and striped tee are versatile to mix with other outfits.
- Blue, white, and red are colors that look good with almost every skin tone.
- The nautical style is a perennial favorite, so your clothing investment will remain summer clothes for women with staying power.
- Your blue-and-whites go from work to weekend with ease.
The nautical style is one of four classic styles for women’s summer clothing. Others include tropical print dresses and cooling cotton seersucker garments.
White suits are a perennial favorite, as is nautical style.
When you invest in classic summer styles, your purchases will be pleasing for years to come if you take care of your summer fashion.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.