Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best Dressed Sailor of 1945

The tradition-loving U.S. Navy was getting set to pitch a sea bag full of salt-rimed traditions overboard. Ready for the deep six were the square collar (origin: to protect blouses from tarred pigtails), the black neckerchief (to mourn the death of Lord Nelson), the bell-bottom trousers (to roll up easily for swabbing decks). For enlisted men, who had long envied the practical elegance of officers' uniforms while chafing at the lack of pockets and the tight fit of their own "monkey suits," it was good news. At shore stations and in the Fleet last week 2,500 bluejackets were putting a complete set of newfangled uniforms through a three months' test.

All hands would probably approve the neat working greys and baseball cap. Not so many would take to the new dress whites (see cut), which some sour old regulars thought would look fine on soda jerks. Best-looking of the lot were the dress blues with battle jacket and overseas cap—although they were still not up to the crisp splendor of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, wartime COMINCH and Chief of Naval Operations, who—looking like an embossed pillar of naval majesty surmounted by scrambled eggs—was named last week by Apparel Arts as the best-dressed Sailor of 1945.

January 14, 1946

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