1930s Sailor Inspired Pants

It was during the 1930s that women became serious about wearing slacks.  Many had already taken to wearing knickers during the Twenties, and by the end of that decade the pyjama pant had become a popular beach option.  In the Thirties pants moved from the beach and into other casual venues.

This delightful pair was one of my flea market finds.  They aren’t perfect, but for an eighty-year-old garment that received rough wear, they aren’t bad.  I love the double button flap in the front, but check out this great detail in the back:

Just like a real pair of sailor pants, this pair has laces at the waist.  The stitching holds in place a sort of modesty panel.  We couldn’t be allowing a peek of our panties!

The label is great as well, with a horse and equestrienne theme. Marshall Field was the great Chicago department store, having been founded in 1881.

A second label gives a bit more information about the fabric.  It is “sanforized,” a process that helped keep cotton fabrics from shrinking.  It was developed and patented in 1930 by Sanford Cluett, one of the owners of Arrow shirts.  A sanforized tag can be useful in dating a garment, as one having that label cannot predate 1930.

Here’s a close-up of the front flap opening.  The buttons are the originals.  How about that little pocket?

Another nice detail that does not show in my other photos is the white piping down the side seam.

And I love that piping is also on the trim of the little pocket.

In the 1930s, the nautical look was hot, but it was not new.  Seaside outfits that took inspiration from the sailor’s suit dated back to Victorian times, and the inspiration continued through the Edwardian era and the 1920s  in exercise and swimwear.

This 1930s woman did not need to be on the shore in order to enjoy her nautical ensemble.



Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

16 responses to “1930s Sailor Inspired Pants

  1. Fabulous find! I love these style of pants but am yet to find a pair for myself. The detailing on your pair is wonderful.


  2. I love the sailor style pants…and wonderful that you have a picture to match.

    I often wonder just where you KEEP all these vintage garments you have collected…are they packed away…and do you plan a museum of your own down the road sometime? I am sure all your bloggers would love to come-see.


    • Marge, I’m very lucky because I have two rooms that I’m able to use for storage and sewing. Storage is a major problem, as textiles can’t be exposed to light for long periods, and there are issues with insects and mold. Most garments made of woven fabrics are on hangers, but knits have to be stored flat. Maybe I will do a post…

      As for a museum of my own, no. But in my will I have left my collection to a museum, and it has the option of using any of my items that may be needed for exhibitions.


  3. Oh I do love a pair of sailor pants! My father was a sailor in the U.S. Navy so I have a particular fondness for Navy uniforms. Your previous post about the lists made me laugh because I can’t help it, I love a list! I live by and for lists! And thanks for the heads up about the Rachel Zoe Project, maybe I shouldn’t bother at all with the final season! XO, Jill


  4. They are toooooooooo cute! Love the lil’ pocket. Thanks for sharing your wonderful find. 🙂 xx


  5. I love them! I have a wool pair with that lacing in the back. (I removed the lacing because they are tight on me.) Crossing my fingers that one day I’ll find a pair that fits!


  6. Gorgeous trousers! I also love all the little details, too. And they look like they would be flattering on all figure types.


  7. You are a fashion archeologist! I would also like to know where you keep all of your finds. Could you do a post on your storage and organizational system?


    • Well, I do like to dig!

      I did a post about storing shoes:


      And I’ve been meaning to do a follow-up about how I store clothing. I promise to do it soon.

      As for organization, I guess I could show that as well. I have a card for each item, on which I have recorded details about the item, where I bought it, provenance, other information. I also have a series of binders with photo sleeves where I keep photos of each item, organized by the era of the item. Each item has a number which is recorded on the card, in the binders and which is attached to the item itself.


  8. Wow! Those really are sailor inspired, right down to the lacing in the back! How nifty!


  9. Wouldn’t I love to find a pattern for these. There are modern versions but they lack the details.


  10. Pingback: 1930’s Beach Pajama Looks: Borrowed from Sailors and Farmers | witness2fashion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.