Mid 1960s Nautical Ensemble

It’s no secret that I love a nautical look, and I especially love a vintage nautical outfit.  The shirt and pants above are from the mid 1960s, and though they were not made together, the original wearer paired them for what I think is a perfect 1966 ensemble.

It’s certain that she could have not worn these to school because in North Carolina school dress codes did not generally allow the wearing of pants by girls until the early 1970s.  Instead, this was a fun time outfit, for a casual date or a picnic or just hanging out with friends.

The top is made of cotton poplin, white with blue sailboats and red directional abbreviations.  It has a band collar, a feature that was popular during the mid and late 1960s.

The shirt’s label is Shirt Tree, Designed by Lynn Stuart.  Lynn Stuart is little remembered today, but during the 1960s and 70s she was quite busy, designing and manufacturing both the Shirt Tree and Mister Pants labels.  Some of her designs can be found in McCall Patterns’ New York Designers series.  Present day designer Jill Stuart is her daughter.

I love the inverted pleat on the back.  It gives mobility without looking like a man’s shirt.

The pants were made to look like classic sailor’s pants with a double-button opening and drop front.  I somehow can’t see guys (other than sailors, of course)  going for this style, but it is possible these pants were made for young men.

McGregor primarily made sportswear for men, but for a very brief period, 1963 through 1968, they did have a line for women.  All the labels I’ve seen for that line read “Her McGregor”, but that really does not prove the point either way. Truth is, in the mid 1960s and into the 70s girls were appropriating their brothers and boyfriends clothing like mad.  Chances are the original wearer either stole them from her brother’s closet, or was shopping in the young men’s department.

It’s hard to tell from my photos, but the legs are very slightly belled.  Bell-bottoms were not quite the must-have pants that they would be just a few years later, but they were already being worn by the fashionable set.  Lynn at AmericanAgeFashion posted a great page showing the pants of 1964, and in it bell-bottoms were classified as a novelty look.

Nautical, right down to the anchor buttons!


Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

14 responses to “Mid 1960s Nautical Ensemble

  1. Perfect outfit for you to wear. Thanks for sharing. Missed you at Metrolina this past week end. I will not be there for the extravaganza…have an Easter reunion .


  2. Thanks for the link, Lizzie! I loved to wear real navy (and scratchy) sailor pants in the 70s that I bought at Goodwill.


  3. And then there were the Mr. Skirts! I too have a pair of sailor pants, they are so beautifully made!


  4. What a great outfit. I, too, love the nautical look. I am going to remember that inverted pleat on the shirt – nice detail to reproduce, don’t you think?


  5. i love nautical as well Ms. Lizzie…for men as well…great outfit -love the buttons – THANK YOU ! are there still Army / Navy / Military surplus stores ? i remember the one in Washington DC…used to buy peacoats , jumper pants a nd lots of Navy merchandise there?


  6. Ruth

    I remember my brother and I going to the only surplus store in town (Oklahoma City) in the 70’s to buy Navy denim pants. The belled pants were wildly in fashion amongst the school kids then, and the surplus store had perfect ones, plus they were cheap! I still had a lot of my dad’s stuff from when he was in the Navy during the Korean war and I could pair them with a scarf or peacoat and a sleeveless blouse for a nice look. Those were some of the most comfortable jeans I ever wore and lead to me buying men’s pants and they just fit better. I’m short with a short waist, and what hit men slightly below the waist were at the right height for me.


  7. Love the print and inverted pleat on that top!


  8. What a fab outfit! Wouldn’t have thought such a busy print would look so sharp. Was remembering lately that all girls in our school band had to buy boys pants for marching back then, and they didn’t fit so many of us! Thanks again for hitting another one “out of the ball park,” Lizzie!


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