Monday, May 25, 2009

Mainbocher and the WWII Navy WAVES Uniform

It's Memorial Day here in the US, a day when we remember our women and men who have died in military service.

Did you know that the uniforms for the Navy WAVES were designed by Mainbocher? The first uniforms for the armed services designed by a well-known designer, they received much media coverage. The dress blue and white uniforms consisted of a tailored jacket and a six-gore skirt.

Mainbocher's design was distinctive with it's use of a rounded collar layered over a pointed lapel.

The side-brimmed hat came with interchangeable white or navy covers.

A navy overcoat was also part of the uniform.

Mainbocher also designed the WAVES summer working uniform of a grey seersucker dress with matching jacket, which had the same distinctive collar design.

Ads featuring women in uniform were prominent during the war years. This ad for Celenese Fabrics features a Navy nurse in a uniform made from one of their new synthetic fabrics which was designed for war use, but could be purchased for home sewing.

This ad for Mary Sachs, a store in Harrisburg, PA, offers "Service for Women who Serve". The store offered custom fitting and tailoring of uniforms and also sold WAVES, WACS, and Army Nurse uniforms by mail order.